Tagged:  video games

fatherhood in video games

Video games have had fatherhood themes running through them for years – in earlier times, more simple storylines and relations were popular, such as Donkey Kong passing the torch to Donkey Kong Jr*. Fatherhood was, for a long time, a trope for a sequel.

Jorge Albor of PopMatters, however, recently discussed the more modern and complex storylines that have created some of this generation’s great games. Games like The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, and The Walking Dead Season 1 provide good examples for Albor of modern games tackling fatherhood issues.


that dragon cancer

In times of troubles, artists usually get to work. One father is taking his troubled time and creating a game as he deals with his son’s cancer.

In video games, very generally speaking, there’s a hero, a villain, and you get from Point A to Point B. But in Ryan Green’s That Dragon: Cancer, the equation changes.

Green, a video game developer by trade and a father of four, created That Dragon: Cancer as a way to not only focus his own emotion about his son’s illness, but to help others walk in the shoes of a family dealing with cancer.



Back in January, 2011, we put up a video of podcaster djWHEAT teaching his then-five year old son how to play StarCraft II.

Just yesterday, djWHEAT put up the “full episode” of his son (aptly named miniWHEAT) playing CS:GO, the latest in the Counter-Strike series. And if it doesn’t make you want to get your lil’un on an FPS, I don’t know what will.

But more than just make me think “man I can’t wait to do that with my son,” it made me mentally retread the ‘ol video games and violence conversation.


Old Games for New Kids: Katamari Damacy

katamari damacy

In our series Old Games for New Kids, we suggest a great past-generation game to play with your new-generation children.

Katamari Damacy (2003)
by Namco – PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Vita, Xbox 360

(Okay, I realize this series is about “old” games and I’m talking about a series that’s available on all of the current systems. But since this franchise reaches back to the PlayStation 2, it’s fair to say that you’d be “old school” enough to yank the ol’ PS2 out of your closet and set it up in your kid’s room.)

If you yourself have never played the Katamari Damacy series, you’re missing out on a real treat. In every game in the series, you play the Prince, whose father is the King of All Cosmos – a foppishly dressed dude in charge of making stars. So, he has you, a little green prince, roll a ball around, picking stuff up (which you use to make stars…don’t ask). Literally, that’s the whole game! But whereas you start in small areas like a bedroom, picking up paperclips and candy, you later find yourself outside, rolling up whole buildings and oil tankers. As your ball gets bigger in a given level, you’re able to access more areas. The bigger your ball of stuff when the timer hits zero, the more pleased your dad-king is. And if you roll up hidden items in the level, you get extra royal rainbows!


simpsons hit and run

In our series Old Games for New Kids, we suggest a great past-generation game to play with your new-generation children.

The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003)
by Vivendi Universal – GameCube, PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox

I love sharing video games with my daughter, but I’ll admit that, lately, I’ve been a little concerned about HOW she plays video games. My kid is six, so the majority of games she plays are either touch-based games on the iPad or motion controller games on the Nintendo Wii. And, as a guy who grew up in the Nintendo generation, I wanted my daughter to spend some quality time with a more old school controller – i.e. a rectangular thing you hold with some kind of directional pad and/or stick and some kind of A/B button configuration. So I set out looking for older controller-centric games that might catch her interest and be simple enough in their design to help her get comfortable using an iconic action-button gamepad design. And the game I landed on was 2003’s The Simpsons Hit & Run.


Sorry Son Nerd Hoard

I’m nerdy. And I’m a hoarder. This was bad enough news for my wife, who made the mistake of telling me when we met that she had a box of old Nintendo and Super Nintendo games in her parents’ garage. Most of them corroded beyond repair, I still kept them. She may not know this fact.

But my nerd hoarding is worse news for my son. Now, most nerds love to share their wares with their children; true, no one’s teaching their kids to read with collectible comics, nor are they donning their potty-training toddlers in “rare” shirts they picked up at Comic-Con. But many nerdy dads are more than happy to peel off a page of video game themed stickers they got somewhere, or make their kid the envy of his class by passing along a Super Mario Bros. rubber bracelet to them or a Nintendo hat. Not this guy.


Old Games for New Kids: Rampage


In our series Old Games for New Kids, we suggest a great past-generation game to play with your new-generation children.

Rampage (1988)
by Data East – NES (and more, see below)

The beauty of old Nintendo games is that the two-button limitation kept games simple. In Rampage, you play as either Lizzie the giant lizard, George, the King Kong clone, or Ralph, a giant warewolf. You’re presented with a couple of blocks-worth of cityscape per level, and in the simplest of terms, you destroy it. You climb buildings and punch holes in them, often discovering food and traps inside. You can also smash the cars, tanks and helicopters that chase you as you move city to city.


Donkey Kong Pauline Hack

There’s a great article up on Wired by-and-about the dad who hacked Donkey Kong so that his daughter could play as Pauline, relegating Mario to the position of captured love interest.

Mike Mika wasn’t thinking about feminist agendas or affronts to the patriarchy when he made Pauline a playable character for his 3 year old daughter. They had just come off of a Super Mario Bros. 2 binge and Mika’s daughter loved using Princess Toadstool. The duo also had watched the gamer classic The King of Kong, so Donkey Kong was on the playlist. But Mika’s daughter wanted to know why she couldn’t play as a female character in Donkey Kong.