It’s plain to see I’m at an odd stage in life. Degree finished, travelling done, no ties what-so-ever, and I’m back at home living the comfortable life. Job searching is the bane of any unemployed existence, and it is for mine, but I have a job!
I don’t think many sons are able to work in a family business. Not having the same fearful respect employees often have of bosses, it’s easy to see how conflict can occur. But I very rarely have problems with that. You wana know why that is? It’s because my Dad is my friend, and one I still enjoy playing video games with.
Since before I ever got a PS1, my Dad and I have been playing video games together. From racing games like Grand Prix and E-Racer, to platformers like Jazz Jackrabbit and Spyro; from co-operative games like TimeSplitters, to splitscreen multiplayer games like Star Wars The Clone Wars — we’ve played them all. To this day we play Worms on a daily basis, a game we originally owned on the PC back in the 90’s!
During secondary school I branched out and played a lot of multiplayer titles with school friends, something I still do to this day. But since my attention span often suffers, I’m liable to moving on to new titles. We got into a habit during school, of driving back via Gamestation to pick up a couple of old used xbox games; it’s the reason I found Gears of War in the first place! We bonded over the fact I wasn’t quite old enough to play 15 or 18 rated games. We used to smuggle them past Mum, and play them with the sound turned low.
Going to University I wasn’t able to play much until the end of 2nd year. I got my trusty Xbox One then, along with a few luke-warm titles, among which were gems like Titanfall and Rayman Legends. Dad wasn’t particularly interested in my new games, so it’s been a challenge to get him engaged again! If my Dad was a games critic, the industry would be on tender-hooks at all times I can tell you! He has a point though with a lot of games: the ‘samey’ critique is a big flaw for a lot of titles, and his comments have opened my eyes, especially where Fallout 4 was concerned.
So the other day I bought Gears of War 4. Not one of my must buys, but something I’ve had on the radar since E3. I got Dad sat down and we played the first ‘Act’, which was OK, nothing special and the gameplay was a little clunky after playing Battlefield 1. However we continued to play for something like 3 hours, and although it’s nothing revolutionary, the story is really quite entertaining.
The fact we had to wait for Mum to go off on a conference brought that bond back. So like 2 naughty kids stealing biscuits out the cupboard, we began to play with the sound booming around the house.
Having Dad play Xbox co-operatively with me is a bit like being at work, however our places have been switched — meaning Dad’s now the one making messy mistakes. However I was impressed and more than a little put out when Dad got dramatically better, and suddenly it was me needing to be revived!
Although playing at the same time is fun, I equally enjoy watching him play, and having him sit on a beanbag commenting on my gameplay. Spectator gaming is something I do a lot on Youtube, but actually having someone to talk things through, especially on more intelligent stealth-like games or RPGs makes gaming much more entertaining. It’s a little bit of “look what I can do Dad”, even though it’s a video game, no one cares Tom. But on the other hand it’s just nice knowing you’re being a source of entertainment whilst gaming. It’s why I keep attempting to do live-streams, and why I blog about games — I want my hobby to mean something, I’d like the excessive amount of time I invest to have an ulterior purpose.
I am incredibly lucky to have such a strong relationship with my Dad, and to have such a steady job. My intentions are to find a job as a writer, maybe for a magazine, but I know that if I stop gardening with Dad, we’ll always be close, and we’ll always have some kind of game to play.