Is it just a game though? I thought it was and I really didn’t like the thought of him holed up in his room playing games. I admit, I preferred the thought of him playing out all the time with his friends and on his bike. But once he had a taste for gaming, nothing else seemed to matter. He started gaming when he was about 9 years old and slowly but surely it took over. My husband started him off with a Nintendo ds, then he bought him his first console and we’ve barely seen him since. He’s 21 now. We’ve had many a disagreement over the years regarding his time on his consoles. He started with Playstation 2, 3 and 4 then Xbox one, then he bought himself a gaming computer. Following his last purchase, a high spec (so I’m told) gaming computer, he hasn’t looked back.
Came out of his shell
My argument was always that he found it difficult socializing with peers and the time on his games wouldn’t help. Whereas my husband found that our son came out of his shell in the gaming world. He managed to find a few good friends from school, then college then University, with common interests on there. As time progressed, I had to admit that he did have a point. So began the gaming era. Turns out all that’s needed for this era is copious amounts of diet Pepsi, snacks and a decent gaming headset. A nearby toilet is always useful to pop to quickly in between challenges. Also, if they tell you that once a person starts an online game, they can’t just quit, they can. Mine tried this excuse whenever I asked him to do something that involved trying to release himself from his pit. I got wise, you can too!
The Minecraft era
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the famous MineCraft game was introduced into our home. My Son who had gone from a quiet, shy boy, was literally belly laughing with his friends on a nightly basis. The reason for such laughter? They were constantly blowing up each other’s camps up on Minecraft. Even my husband got so into it that he built our son and his friends a MineCraft server. All the kids that played online with him were really engrossed in what is effectively online Lego. The main aim of the game is to stay alive until the next day on whatever resources you have been able to find. The resources should enable you to build some shelter, and forage for food while avoiding the zombies.
The Call of Duty era
From there, he progressed into the Call of Duty phase. And what a challenging time this was. So,we went from shooting things on his computer to drawing figures dying a tragic bloody death in his schoolbooks. We were called into school very often during this phase, mainly to discuss his mental health! His artistic talents and pure joy for the game, landed him in a lot of lunchtime detentions!
Get into da choppa nowwww
Evenings and weekends were filled with laughter and conversations with his online friends. They would shout an impression of Arnie’s “Get into da Choppa nowww” from his blockbuster movie The Predator, every so often. For his next birthday, we organized a LAN party for him and his friends and some of ours too. This was such a hit, that we decided to make it a regular occurrence. It was fun as it always stretched out to a 24-hour event. Anyone who dared to sleep during this event would be “marked for life” with a permanent marker on their face.
Learning the trade
He decided to do 3d Art and Design at college. He was now able to draw his bloody victims in 3d if he wanted to! Luckily, he had outgrown that phase. Having completed that course, we moved down to Cornwall. When asked what course he would like to do, it was a no-brainer for him – Games Design and Development!
He now has his Level 3 and BA in Games Design and Development. This year he has been accepted to study for his masters at Falmouth University!
Certain family members disagreed with his course choices, but he is winning and living his best life along the way. He’s the logo designer for hngmedia Ltd and has successfully designed quite a few logos for various companies, including ours.
Although I was worried he was just “playing games”, he was in fact, preparing himself for his future career.