Look, we all love our kids. But sometimes, something deep inside of you becomes a petty monster and you give your kid such a side eye that it actually hurts your own reproductive organs.
That was me last week — three times — over video games.
1. My son said Super Mario Bros. 1 is “too hard”
My son had just come off a rousing game of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, which we can agree, even set to “Very Easy,” is a technically tough game. There are combos, hitboxes, character synergy, all sorts of stuff. Earlier in the day, my son was playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III. And although his kill/death ratio still needs massive work, he’s got a good technical prowess and a willingness to commit to the melee kills that I can’t even effectively position myself into.
So my dad was over for lunch on Saturday and I thought I’d take him down memory lane by putting on Super Mario Bros. 1. I played a couple of levels and at one point, my son walked into the room just in time to witness me getting a hot fire bar enema in the 3-4 castle. “See, that’s why I don’t like that game,” my son says. “It’s too hard.”
THE GAME’S GOT TWO BUTTONS, MY MAN. TWO. YOU PLAY CALL OF DUTY, WHICH UTILIZES ALL FOUR FACE BUTTONS, ALL FOUR D-PAD DIRECTIONS, TWO SHOULDERS, TWO BUMPERS, AND TWO CLICKABLE STICKS. WHAT’S REALLY GOOD HERE WITH THIS MARIO BEEF?
2. My son said he doesn’t “like” Bubble Bobble
What?! I can’t promise you I’m not about to go back to all- caps. Bubble Bobble has to be, number one, the most adorable game on the Nintendo. They literally got two pastel dinosaurs shooting bubbles at evil toys. Bubble Bobble is the most likable game on the Nintendo, easily in the top five most likable games ever.
In addition, my son dropped this diss on my wife, whose favorite game is Bubble Bobble. My wife, whose excitement for Bubble Bobble is palpable, invited our son to play with her. This gesture takes a lot since when my wife was a kid, she used to make her own sister stand outside in the hallway and hold her breath so she wouldn’t sabotage my wife’s turn. If my wife is inviting you to play Bubble Bobble, you step into her world and do it. Plus, I already covered this, but Bubble Bobble is one of the most likable games in history. Who doesn’t like Bubble Bobble?
True story, I swung around and immediately told my son that Bubble Bobble called me earlier and said that it doesn’t like him either.
3. Hours into playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, my son asked who Ganon was
It’s like my son doesn’t want a place to sleep. I can be a little bit of a Zelda nerd about non-core references here and there (*cough* around the dinner table), but it’s not like Ganon is some accessory character from the wildly unpopular Philips CD-i bomb Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon. Ganon is in every core Zelda franchise game. He’s even in Super Smash Bros., which my son has played the hell out of on the Wii U and the 3DS.
Look, I get it: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch is very much a modern Zelda game, which is to say that it’s got lengthy soliloquies by enthusiastic characters, and if you’re not into that style of game, it’s easy to miss the details. Plus, characters are calling Ganon “Calamity Ganon” like he’s some wild west villain looking to rob Zelda’s stagecoach. But still, there’s like 5 characters early on in the game eager to tell you the entire story of the game. Plus, it’s just old school video game logic: you see Link? Ganon’s got to be there somewhere. Maybe he’s shaped like a pig, maybe he’s a dude, maybe he’s a dragon, but he’s somewhere.
And for crying, literally, out loud, my son and I have wept together like men over the Legend of Zelda theme. Yet, 3-4 hours into playing Breath of the Wild, my son asks me “who’s Ganon?” And even my wife, a longtime Zelda denier, snaps back with “WHAT?” My man, serious.
Okay fine, so I never really wanted to disown my son. But if there’s some kind of old school video game summer camp that wants to take him in and get him solid on the classics, I’ll write you a check.