Back when I was a kid we didn’t have any video game consoles. My parents thought they rot your brain and were expensive, so we didn’t have a Nintendo.
My brother and I had a home daycare woman who had four kids and I swear bought every video game system ever. Every time a new system came out within a few weeks one would magically appear at their house. I was never allowed to play with it because it was “their” system, but I was allowed to watch them play from the couch.
One day that we had off from school the older kids went out and bought a bunch of junk food to eat in the basement. They had a bunch of friends over to play games and eat junk. They actually let the younger kids hang out with them and shared junk food. This was the only time in my childhood where I felt like I was part of a group of people doing normal things having fun. I told myself that when I was in high school I was going to have a gang of friends who would come to my house and play video games and eat junk food. I didn’t process that I lived in a rural town where I already knew all my future high school classmates and that I didn’t get along with any of them and that this would never come to pass.
It’s been a thing I revisit sometimes. My ex-husband decided he was over video games by the time we got together and wouldn’t play with me. I bought a few systems after the divorce and really got into the Persona series, but I didn’t have people to play games with. Luckily, my new boyfriend likes video games and I finally have someone to play games with.
So we decided to institute “Pizza and Video Games” days. The first Saturday of every month, we are ordering a pizza and playing a video game. We’re limiting the amount of junk food we do in a day because, frankly, my digestive system can’t handle it as well as it used to. We want to try all the various pizza places around us so we’re not just ordering from the same place every month.
We have a few parameters we’re looking for when considering a game for Pizza and Video Games day:
- Console Game: Primarily looking for a game that would be played on the TV through either a PS3/PS4/Xbox 1/Steam. I have a vast multitude of 3DS/Vita games that I play in the bath or while I am traveling and these are not candidates for Pizza and Video Game days. Not sure about Switch games yet as they’re in a gray area.
- Short: I’m looking for games that can mostly be played in a day. I’m sure the Assassin’s Creed games are awesome, but I wanted to focus on trying to find a game that could mostly be completed within a day.
- Relatively Easy: I didn’t grow up playing video games, so I am not looking for the most brutally hard games I can find. So no Super Meat Boy or Celeste. These are probably awesome games, but I would die like two seconds in and that would not be fun.
- Variety of Genres: I have mostly played adventure games in my time as a gamer. These are games that don’t really require a lot of coordination or motor skills. They just involve walking around solving puzzles. These are great games, but I am trying to expand outside my comfort zone and try different things I am less familiar with. We are not going to just do first person shooters, but I would like some experience with these as they’re a large chunk of the video game landscape.
- Important Historically: There’s like 40 years of video game history that I need to work through to become familiar with current game design patterns. I’m basically trying to find someone’s top ten list of the most important video games and focus on those as a jumping off point so I can see how these games influenced the landscape.
We may not be able to satisfy all of these requirements. These are more like suggestions or guidance questions as opposed to set in stone rules. We’re also going to try to do more games together after work on a regular basis. There are longer games like Mass Effect that I would very much like to work through that I will be writing about in the future, but not as part of this series of articles.
These do not need to be new/recent games. I would like to go back and play through the Super Mario Brothers games on the original NES. Since I have an NES emulator, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Games were designed to be a social thing to bring people together. You can play on your own, but having a community of people to share your experiences with is a vital part of the gaming experience. I didn’t get to have fun game days in high school, but it’s never too late to find a community of people to have fun with. I’m glad I finally found one.