Memoirs of a Geek: Gaming with Dad

My dad does not care about video games at all. It’s not something he enjoys. He’s not interested in any of my nerd hobbies. Which is okay. Anime, video games, cartoons, sci-fi/fantasy movies/tv, Dungeons & Dragons, and things like these aren’t for everyone. 

That’s why I always remember the first and last time Dad ever played video games with me. I was a lot younger, probably around 5th grade or so, when I was playing The Emperor’s New Groove, the video game on PC. The Emperor’s New Groove game is the video game version of the movie. It was one of my favorite games as a kid. The humor is top-notch, just like the movie. 

Unfortunately, there was one super hard level. *Spoilers for a scene in a movie everyone should have seen by now* In The Emperor’s New Groove, there is a scene of Kuzco running for his life from a group of panthers eager to eat him. The video game version of this scene was stupid hard. To beat the level you had to constantly mash the spacebar to continually sprint while jumping and navigating around obstacles. For whatever reason, I could not manage furiously button mashing while controlling where I was going. I had tried to beat it so many times! I even tried changing the keyboard controls but nothing worked. 

After several rage quits and a couple of frustration cries, I had all but given up entirely. Until I realized that nowhere in the rules did it say that I had to do it alone. I couldn’t ask Mom for help, she pretty much hated all non-educational video games. My only option was Dad. He might not like video games, but at least he didn’t hate them. Still, I was a bit nervous to ask for help. I didn’t think he would actually do it. 

Dad proved me wrong. He listened while I explained the situation. Not that my explanation helped much, I’m pretty sure he was befuddled the entire time. Despite his lack of interest, he was willing to be the person to button mash while I did the harder part of navigating. It took us four or five tries to get it right, but we did it! With his help, I beat the level. After all that time, I spent trying to get past this to continue with the game I finally won! Dad didn’t understand why I was so excited but he told me he was glad he could help out. 

This was such a long time ago. Yet I still remember everything very clearly. I remember how frustrated I was trying and failing time and time again. I remember how awkward it was to ask Dad for help. Then finally I remember how happy I was to beat the level. Playing with him had been fun. For one moment I could finally participate in a hobby I loved with him. It was the only time we ever played video games together. He may not have cared about video games, but he helped me because I had asked. Most likely, Dad has forgotten all about this. To him, it was just one of many instances when his daughter asked for help with something, but to me, it was more than that. 

One thought on “Memoirs of a Geek: Gaming with Dad

  1. I have some memories of video games with both my parents, but far less with my dad. But there is one that stands out. There were a couple weeks back when I was probably 12 or 13 or so, where we found this truck hill climbing game that came on our TV. It was really bad and hardly worked, but every night he came home from work, rather than watching a show by himself or something, we would sit down and play this game together. He thought it was great, but it was obviously poorly and quickly made. Still, I also think it’s great now, just for another reason.

    Liked by 1 person

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