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.
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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