Originally posted in GameSpot on June 2, 2005
If I’m going to talk about video games, then I have to start off by dedicating this post to my grandma. When I think about it, she was the first one to really get me interested in video games. Well, she didn’t start my interest – but she was the one to get my brother and I an NES so we could actually play.
Ah, our own system! No more would I be forced to sit on the sidelines at my friends’ houses while they played. No more would the phrase, “You can play the next game” bring a sting of resentment into my heart. My grandma bought us a system, and it was all ours.
You know how grandmas are. She had always spoiled my brothers and I, and the Nintendo was just another step in that process – a precious, precious step. God bless her! She had it all – cable, late bedtimes, and now a real NES for her grandkids to play.
But she didn’t stop there. What was different with my grandma was that she actually played the games with me. I remember countless times when we would play Super Mario Brothers. She would be Mario, I was Luigi (I always liked him better, I don’t know why), and we would go through the stages. Of course, as anyone who has played the game knows, the “2-player” mode on Super Mario Brothers only let the other person play when the other died.
Needless to say, my lives lasted a lot longer than grandma’s. I would play through many of the levels (especially the level-ending Bowser fights) while she would sit and watch, just happy that I was happy. What a gal, huh?! When I think of some in the previous generations today who think video games are a waste of time or refuse to even try to use new technology, she was a breath a fresh air.
One last thing: I know there are some people out there who play their games in this way, and if so, I completely understand. I still do it myself from time to time, if the pressure is high enough. What I’m talking about is the ability to mimic on-screen moments with your controller, or even your entire body in order to help yourself through the game. Come on, I know you know what I’m talking about – Mario jumps, so you move the control pad up when you hit “A.” Master Chief peeks around a corner, and you find yourself moving your head to the same side.
It’s an interesting (and sometimes unnerving) gaming phenomenon – and my grandma was the best at it. You could actually measure the height of Mario’s jump in real time by how high her controller went up!
So I raise my controller to you grandma – and thank you with every save, every stomped Koopa, and every 3-hit-combo.
Post tenebras lux