This week marked 20 years since the release of the Sony PlayStation. Gaming’s come a long way, but I have too – I’m now married and I have a five year old son. I’ve lived during the lifespans of four Sony PlayStation consoles and a handheld. But somehow, this isn’t the only gaming birthday that shows my age.
When I heard that the PlayStation turned 20, I thought about what I was doing back then. I was sitting in my friend’s living room, playing the “PlayStation Picks” demo disc – featuring games like Jumping Flash, ESPN Xtreme Games and Wipeout. I was playing a CD-based system for only the second time – the first, of course, was the SEGA CD, which next October will be 23 years old.
If you sit and think about all of the video game birthdays that pass by every year, it’ll break your brain.
The best part about the holiday season is that everyone you know has some sort of time off of work or school. When you were younger, time off always meant video game marathons with friends.
I’m a grown-up, human, father-type and it still means the same thing for me. And now that I’ve got a son who is as equally jazzed about playing games as I am, time off of school and work means that we are going to turn off all the lights, sit on the floor in our boxers, and play games until our eyes bleed.
Or until dinner. I mean, whatever’s cool.
Since I’m all grown-up and semi-responsible, I’m more interested these days in finding deals on video games. Sometimes, I won’t buy a video game right away because I’m deterred by the price. And especially now, with developers piecemealing games through DLC schemes a couple dollars at a time, discounts help the burn your wallet feels when you shell out cash on games.
I can’t think of old style video game arcades without getting a little misty. Those loud, dark rooms, packed with upright arcade machines, all singing to themselves, ready to explode when someone dropped a quarter into them…it was magic.
A magic that, frankly, kids these days don’t get.
If you’ve got a daughter, you’ve no doubt thought about the representation of women in video games. Maybe some of your daughters have explicitly asked to play a game “as a girl.” Maybe you just want to teach your daughter that women aren’t relegated to the sidekick or the “princess in distress.” Maybe you just want more characters at your disposal.
Whatever the reason, you’ll be pleased with the Disney Infinity franchise. The Disney Infinity 2.0 launch has added a new handful of female characters, bringing the current tally of playable female characters to 14. It’s quite possibly the most female-inclusive video game ever.
I don’t remember when my son started eating solid foods. I’m not entirely sure when it was that my son took his first steps. And sure, I guess I remember his first day at preschool. But by far, the most memorable milestone he’s had so far was throwing his first Hadoken.
Look. Every kid eats food. Every kid walks. And my son’s got at least 12 more years of school. A lot of the milestones we track and obsess over as parents…well, they don’t mean much, and all they do is stress us out. But this last weekend, my 5 year old son started his journey toward total Street Fighter domination, and I will remember Saturday, July 12, 2014 – the day he threw his first Hadoken…
As a parent, I rarely have to shrug and say “I don’t know.” I’m the dad. I have answers! How is this like that? I know about it. Where does so-and-so come from? I’ll tell you. As many “whys” as my son can throw at me, I’ve got answers. But I didn’t really have an answer for the seemingly most insignificant question: “where did all of our guys go?“
I still have no real answer. Not one that would satisfy a five year old.