A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

My Gaming Issues – Dad and Me

I find it strange that, while I enjoy sharing my gaming experiences, I have issues with my Dad sharing his.

My Dad was the one who introduced me to gaming and he’s responsible for teaching me how to play X-COM: UFO Defense, Civilization, Master of Orion, and many more. To this day I still use many of the strategies he taught me (I’m one of those gamers that saves and loads a lot if given the opportunity). That said, when he tells me about an event in his games, I feel almost put upon. As if I’m being burdened with information that has no relevance to me. Also, when he asks me to help critique his strategy in a game of Civilization IV or review his base design in X-COM or something similar, I feel compelled to point out that since I wasn’t there at the beginning of the game watching, I’d have no idea what’s going on and it’s no place of mine to attempt to inform his approach. Context is important, sure, but I feel like I’m letting him down. Oftentimes I just wind up repeating some strategy of mine that I’ve told him several times before, always being sure to say that “it worked for me” or similar qualifier. He seems satisfied with that and then leaves me alone and I’m filled with guilty relief.

I fear that most of his stories sound the same to me. He almost always builds ships with Plasma Beams in Master of Orion II and is quick to extoll their virtues. I sometimes listen with half an ear to most of his gaming stories and it makes me feel terrible. How do I say I’m just not interested and then expect him to hear of my own stories when he likewise has no context? I despise double standards, yet am I internally expecting one?

My Dad is the primary target of my indiscretions here, but I feel like I occasionally do the same thing to my friends. Less so though, courtesy of us all being from the same school of gaming (as it were). Maybe it’s easier because all my friends play essentially the same games I do, so we’re all on the same page. With my Dad, he’s using an older machine and I’ve moved on (for the most part) from playing those older games.

Is this an elitist streak of the kind I loathe? Am I looking down on him for not having the breadth of gaming under his belt that I possess? Why do I appear to place my own experiences and stories above his?

I don’t know and it’s an awkward feeling. I cope, but I fear I’m not as diplomatic as I should be towards my Dad. I may be a more experienced gamer (my catalog is at least more comprehensive), but I wouldn’t be a gamer at all if it wasn’t for him and I should forever strive to be appreciative and not speak down to him just because I’ve moved on to a different game or whatever. Maybe the next time he asks me to look at his game, I’ll take him up on it. I just hope I haven’t burned that bridge yet.

Until next time.

– Elorfin

P.S. “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” – George Herbert


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