The games we play


The running back slid one way and then cut back another, gaining huge chunks of ground with every carry. He was so quick and even if a defender started to tackle him, if you tapped on the “b” button at the right moment, he’d spin out of the tackle and go onto score. He looked unbeatable.

Likewise, the quarterback threw bullets for passes and when the wide receiver caught the winning touchdown he danced in the end zone just like in real life.

In the early 90s, I bought my first gaming system a Sega Genesis. I came home from work one Friday, exhausted from a long week and went out and bought my first system. I figured that I had a job now. I wasn’t in college anymore. I could afford to blow off a little steam. Why not?

Of course, I fell in love with John Madden Football. Since those early days, however, gaming has come a long way. We gave my son NBA 2K17 for his Xbox One for Christmas and over the holiday I played a few games with him. His brother and him have other Xbox games and I’ve played many times with them, but it had been a while since we played head-to-head.

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Game playing . . . just like riding a bicycle

I still had the moves . . . or so I thought. I won the first NBA 2K17 game I played with him in overtime and then went onto get crushed the next five that we played the following week.

Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry might be a three-point king in real life. He broke the NBA single-game record with 13 three pointers earlier this season, but when I had him on my team he couldn’t hit a three if his life depended on it. He threw up nothing but bricks.  

My game playing might have been lacking, but the game graphics and detail were out of this world. I could have been watching a real game. When Curry shoots foul shots in real life, he tends to chew on his mouth guard. In our make-believe game when Curry finally got to the line, he gnawed on his mouth guard. What the game lacked in result (i.e., me losing), the game made up in technology and fun.

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Great graphics, but still missing something 

I loved video games as a kid, whether at the arcade or via a game console. In particular, I was a big fan of Galaga, a shoot’em up arcade game that put you in a Starfighter against insect-like aliens that came after you in formation and got increasingly more difficult. You played until your last fighter got hit by a missile, collided with the enemy, or was captured. If you were on, your Galaga game could seemingly go on forever.

Video games have changed drastically since my childhood, but I still love to play them. I learned something though playing with my son. As much as I loved his new game, I’m a bigger fan now of the board games and card games that my wife likes to play.

I’m partial to seeing my daughter’s laugh or either of my two sons pointing a finger at me and calling me a bold-faced liar for trying to bluff my way through poker. I’m partial to seeing my youngest son fight for the last spoon when we play the card game Spoons (also called Pig by some people) and finally coming out on top of the rest of the family.

I sound old, I know, but I’m partial to the family time.

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Old-fashioned or trendsetter

Our family games lack the out-of-this-world visuals and make-believe nature of Xbox or even my own Sega gaming system. Our family games pale by comparison, but what they lacks, they make up in fun and unforgettable memories.

Now of course, if Stephen Curry could just hit a couple threes and Kevin Durant could drive to the basket without losing control of the ball and yes, if I didn’t suffer from fat-thumb syndrome, I might sing a different tune.

For the time being, I’ll stick with the family games.

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