Ryan Thomason

Geek Dad Report: Daddys Lil Gamer

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Well, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Every night now for the past couple of weeks, Lincoln is very excited to do one thing before bedtime. That is the 30 or so minutes we spend on the ‘puter as he puts it, playing games. Yes, my son makes me very proud because he is a PC gamer and not a console. Suck it consoles. It all started out innocently enough for us, first I’ll let you in on the current bedtime routine at my house. It starts off with me taking our baby daughter into the bed room and doing the whole one last little bottle feeding, walking around holding her until she starts to nod off. After she’s in the crib, I get to make my exit and glide on over to the computer that is nearby.

My wife is supposed to be doing the same with our 3 year old son, except his is a little more involving with teeth brushing, calming down, and getting to watch one show before bed. One night he somehow caught me playing Torchlight by Runic Studios and asked if he could play. Of course I just let him sit on my lap and watch me for a little bit until my wife pointed out that this probably wasn’t the best thing for him before bed. So, I did something I’ve never done before. I looked at the crappy Dell Games that came with the system.

The first game we really sat down and played together was Polar Bowler, basically its bowling, but you got to slingshot a polar bear sitting on an inner tube down a icy bowling alley to some pins. After a couple of high scores we unlocked a Walrus on a ski contraption and another background to play on. He absolutely loved this game, but there in comes the problem. It was only a 20 bowling sets. Through tough regulation of time, and switching up with other of the download able games, I was able to stretch Polar Bowler for about 4 days. I had to laugh at the $20 price tag that they wanted me to pay to download this game to have all the alleys and characters unlocked. $20 can get you something beautifully done like Torchlight, not some half assed animated and probably coded thing from some company called Wildtangent.

The experience that really stuck with me though was when the baby started crying and I went into the room to pick her up and shush her and do all the weird things parents do to try and get their kids back to sleep. I had told Lincoln that he could play the game we were playing ‘Blasterball’ by himself until I got back. He happily accepted. While I was rocking my daughter back to sleep, I peeked through the door and could see Lincoln. He was sitting at my desk, no shirt on, one hand balled into a fist and propping his head up as he was trying to move the mouse around without my help. We had only played one game so far, and he didn’t quite understand it yet. After he lost and it went to a screen where he had to navigate through a couple of menus to get started again. I watched with a big grin as he furrowed his brow and moved the mouse around, and easily got through the three different menus to restart. He did it flawlessly and nobody saw the little smile he did when he figured it out on the first try all on his own except for me. It is something that I’ll never forget.

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