My God. Were videogames always this hard? If so, how much time did I actually spend playing these things in my youth. If not, when did I become a totally incompetent Dad as opposed to a Princess-saving, Toadstool-Cup winning, Gannon-destroying badass?These are the questions that my latest foray into the world of gaming has raised. Hello, I'm Joel. And I'm not very good at videogames anymore. Maybe I never was.
Let me first point you to this post detailing my long history with the Nintendo family of video game systems at least. If you have no time for that extra reading, let me just say that I connect it with my daddy issues and my masculinity and that my desire to game lies pretty deep in my...nonsense.
But since parenthood, really, I haven't had the time or the inclination to game seriously. Whatever urge I had to game has been fed for the last 4 and a half years or so by the App Store and my iPhone or iPad. But as the boys have gotten older, I wanted to introduce them to the brilliance that is Super Mario. So the Wii is back in its place of honor in the entertainment center and we add a session or two of Mario into our nightly routine when I have the boys.
And of course, I've been sneaking in a few solo sessions too, when the boys aren't around. I even had designs on playing grownup games like Resident Evil 4, Call of Duty, or the Goldeneye remake. But frankly, I stink. No twitch reflexes, very little hand-eye coordination and zero patience for the endless repetition of levels necessary (for me at least) to advance in these games.
Even the classics frustrate and embarrass me more often than not. When's the last time you played the original Super Mario Bros.? It's no Angry Birds, I promise you. Perfection is what it asks of you.
Kid Joel had it to offer, along with the hundreds of hours of practice necessary to achieve that perfection. Son #1 loves to play the Mario games, but even he ends up harrumphing on the couch,
Mario is too hard, Daddy!
I try to tell him that everything worth doing is, and that the difficulty will make it all the sweeter when he's racing through levels unscathed and trying to best his times or top scores rather than just completing the levels, but honestly I agree with the kid. Back in my day, videogames were easier, controllers didn't need to recharge and there was no such thing as an in-app purchase.