Gaming: Not Just For The Gamer

“Let’s go back to mine! We can play some games and drink some more!” It was going so well. Just because the bar had closed didn’t mean that our night had to end. The convoy followed me back to my room, a little slower than expected (of course we had to take several diversions on the way, making the five minute walk a half hour quest), and all ten of us settled in to my teeny-tiny bedroom. After a long quarrel over what we should play, all looked to me as I turned on the Xbox. And that’s when it happened. Right there in front of my new friends. The red ring of total embarrassment.

No one wants to sit and watch a girl they’ve just met pathetically attempt to coax life into a dead machine. I tried all the tricks, maniacally smiling and ensuring them like a good housewife that I would be “just a moment”. Before I knew it, I was drunk and alone, attacking my Xbox with a towel and my hairdryer. It just wasn’t supposed to be. Luckily for me, I still had a month left on Microsoft’s 3 year guarantee and before I knew it, my baby was winging its way to the magical Microsoft elves.

Since I was living in halls at the time, I decided it would be safer to have my Xbox delivered to my parent’s house and, when it had finally returned, I made my way back home (along with around a month’s worth of laundry). I wanted to play as soon as it arrived; I had gone far too long without Modern Warfare and couldn’t wait any longer. There was, however, one small problem. My TV was still at university, and my parents aren’t exactly of the gaming persuasion. It took a long time to convince them that I needed to check that it worked, and I finally managed to get myself a decent gaming set up within walking distance of the fridge.

It’s what happened next that took me by total surprise.

Dad had gone to work, and Mum was pottering around the house (as mums tend to do), so I snuggled onto the sofa with a ready supply of Ribena and started Modern Warfare. I had a lot of ranking up to do! A couple of matches later, I noticed something slightly odd: my mum was sat watching me play. Assuming she was just passing the time while drinking her cup of tea, I carried on.

“How do you know which ones to kill?” I nearly jumped out of my skin. I turned and saw her watching the screen expectantly. I explained the basics (I mean basics) of the game and started another round of team deathmatch. As the games continued, I noticed her getting into it. After every death she’d look more and more determined, spurring me on with comments like “Oh you’ve got to get him back” and “TAKE ‘EM DOWN!” Eventually I had to request that she stop with the commentary. While I’m all good for people talking while I’m playing, shouting “THERE THERE” and waving frantically at the screen isn’t exactly helpful, especially when the enemy she was “totally sure” she saw move is a bush.

Watch out for those bushes, they're lethal...

Having played for a couple of hours, I called it quits and decided to make a sandwich. Off I went, pulling together a make-shift dinner, when I heard “are you coming back? I want to watch more war films!”  Okay. You’ve got to admit, it’s kind of cute. My Mum, the woman who can’t watch Pocahontas because she finds it too depressing, wanted to watch her little girl shooting the hell out of things. Of course I went back and played for hours!

The Xbox didn’t leave the living room for the next six months. I was called back home every weekend, and Saturday nights were spent on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn, a face pack and a controller. She was hooked. When my gold account ran out she bought me a new one instantly, not as an early birthday present, but with the understanding that I play ‘war films’ on request. Hey! Who am I to turn down an offer like that?

In the past few years many things have changed. My Xbox has once again been banished to the confines of my bedroom, much to the protest of myself and my mum, and games like Borderlands and RDR have diverted my attention away from ‘war films’. Although gaming is once again confined to the darkness of my bedroom, you can occasionally see my mum hovering in the doorway, catching a game or two. It just goes to show, no one is too old, too boring, too anything to enjoy gaming. Whether they take part or just watch, gaming is open to all who are willing to enjoy it.




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16 Comments

  1. Edward says:

    Excellent job Jo!

    I thought it was a bit of odd brilliance that your mum would refer to them as war films, but it’s also pretty awesome she managed to find backseat gaming fun as well, even if you did have to get her to stop. I wouldn’t be able to get my mum to do this if my life depended on it, she’d just fall asleep like she does at everything.

  2. LVL54Spacemonkey says:

    Nice story. My mum used to do the back seat gaming thing when I had my PS2 in the living room. I think all mums crave violence. That’s what happens when you get dolls to play with as a child.

  3. FC360 says:

    My dad sucks at gaming, when he asks for the controls I tell him only for him to respond, what colour is that? He would not be able to play using that silly new Xbox 360 controller. I wish my dad was more into gaming so we could do a bit of co-op or team up in multiplayer.

  4. Directing Chaos says:

    Loved this, really funny and sweet at the same time, I kinda had a similar thing happen with my mum but she went one step further and bought herself a DS and Wii (including games like New super Mario, Who want to be a millionaire, Lego harry potter and Mario kart) which almost floored me when I heard the news (this coming from the woman that once referred to my Gamegear as that annoying noise maker in the corner, wither that or she was talking about me).

    One of the best stories I’ve heard about how gaming can bring a family together…

  5. Directing Chaos says:

    @FC360 try space invaders extreme, my dad loves playing that coop with me cos we can have a game together and at the same time it brings him back to his younger days… he also likes playing verses on risk factions.

  6. Adam says:

    My Xbox died when I was at halls too :( It was the saddest of sadtimes and a harsh two weeks without Brian (named after Brian Blessed). Sadly my mum has never quite taken to watching me or any of my family game. It’s all just noise and moving pictures to her (I feel the same about Coronation street so it’s fine).

    A really pleasant read and hope we’ll see more from you :)

  7. Ste says:

    Nice article Jo, I enjoyed it. My parents came to visit our new house last weekend. On the Sunday the girlfriend and my Mum went out shopping and left me and my Dad at home for about 3 hours. Nearly the whole time I was playing Uncharted 2 on my PS3 with Dad watching. Fortunately he didn’t commentate but he did think it was good, especially the bits where I fell and died. Haha

  8. MarkuzR says:

    My mum was a bit of a gamer for quite a lengthy period of time actually. She got the Game Boy when it first came out… back when it needed a forklift to turn it over for battery replacement… and ended up playing Tetris every minute of every night until she could no longer hold her eyes open. She even bought one of those clip on magnifiers with the built in lights so, between the unit itself and the Game Boy, she was going through more Duracells per week than your average vibronymph. In the end I got her an AC adapter for the Game Boy to cut down her battery budget. She also ended up with a Mega Drive and played Sonic to death but I still never played it even though it was ALWAYS on whenever I went to visit (I moved out of the house at a young age) because I just wasn’t into consoles and stuck to computers.

    Her partner, who was 60 at the time and 15 years older than she, was addicted to Tomb Raider on the original Playstation and would always ask when the soaps finished so he could “play with Laura”. Yes, Laura. Laura Croft. If he wasn’t trundling through caves shooting at wild dogs he was tearing up the streets in Gran Turismo with the obligatory “lean in” for the corners.

    He’s now 76 and seems to have outgrown his fascination with Laura but mum, on the other hand, can always be found sitting at her PC playing all sorts of weird and wonderful online games. Can’t imagine I’ll ever see her on XBL though. I can’t imagine getting a message notification mid-game that reads “Have you remembered to wash behind your ears?”.

    Welcome Jo :)

  9. Kat says:

    Good job JoJo! A rather interseting read i must say.

    P.s. Hearing about more of your mums antics make me smile. Just like the old days!!!! xxxxx

  10. Lee says:

    ah haha that’s awesome. My mum is much like Adam’s she hated the sight of us playing games when we were kids and the consoles were banished to the bedroom. Then she left so we moved them back downstairs again – everyone’s a winner :D

  11. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joco182, GamingLives. GamingLives said: This will speak to many of you out there (and your mums) Gaming: Not Just For The Gamer http://gliv.es/hGOpRv [...]

  12. FC360 says:

    Directing Chaos My dad hates Space invaders, he finds it pointless :( Funnily enough he likes active games or fitness games which require lots of space so we can’t play together as we don’t have enough space lol

  13. Kat says:

    *girly squealy jumping and hugs*

    Loved it Jo <3

  14. Lorna says:

    My mum was never one for gaming, it was my dad that got me into it, but sadly, he seems to have moved away from it and has only recently been tempted back. He watched me playing Assassin’s Creed last year and became interested enough to buy a new PC just to be able to play it, which didn’t work out so well – hopefully he will go ahead and get his Xbox though!

    I also really feel for you – of all the shitty times to get a RROD!

  15. Adam says:

    @Lee

    My mum is your mum stupid

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