Ryan Thomason

Geek Dad Report: Why Torchlight is Special to Me

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My three year old has a new bedtime routine, after I put his sister to sleep in her crib around 7:30, he is usually doing one of two things. First, is standing near the door whispering at me if Finley is asleep yet so we can play the game. Second, I come upstairs, to when he hears me coming, he leaps off the couch and runs to me asking if we can play the game. Heck one time, he was sitting on the couch, started to run at me, stopped, turned to my wife who was now on the far side of the room and said. “HOLD MY COOKIE!” and threw it at her. All because he wanted to play THE game. Obviously if you read the title, he is referring to Torchlight by Runic Games. He has some little kids games on our computer, but we beat them quickly and he gets bored of replaying it. So, when he climbs up into my lap and I try to talk him onto playing his learning games, all he does is shake his head at me and point to the shortcut on the desktop “Torchlight Daddy”.

He doesn’t actually play the game, he’s three, and we’ve just started letting him do stuff on the computer, he has no skills. Currently his contribution is to push the numbers 1 and 2 when I ask him to, which is hot keyed to give my guy health or shoot a fireball. Number 6 is the town portal spell, and I have him count all the numbers up to six before he can push it. See, it’s educational.

Oh the fireball spell. He’ll see a group of ‘bad guys’ and ask me, “I shoot fireball? I shoot now? Shoot at the bad guys?” Then he giggles as I give him the go and it hits something, anything, even on misses. He only wants to watch me play as “Big Guy” or the Destroyer class. Which is fine by me, since it is basically the type of character I favor in every game I play, give me some big bad weapons, and a crap pile of health replenishes, and I’m your meat shield. His favorite thing is to ‘Hunt Trolls’ which are his favorite target for us to take down. He’ll tell you all about it if you ask him. “We find a troll and go BOOM BOOM BOOM! And then he FALL OVER. He has a big stick. We don’t like Trolls.” I’m sure it will go over nicely when he tells the grandparents.

There is one big negative about this though. He gets really REALLY upset when I try to change the pieces of armor or weapons the guy has on. Last night for example, I found a pair of unique boots which were way better than the current ones. When I tried to swap them out, he cried. ‘The other boots make our guy look better’, he sobbed. The same went for the new helm I found, even though it made our guy look cooler. The only time I can update the character is when our usual half hour to 45 minutes of playing time on the computer is up for the night. He usually walks away crying because he wants to keep playing and I go to the chest in town and pull out all the new gear I saved up during our adventure to update our Destroyer before I turn the game off.

Why am I writing all this you ask? Well, I just wanted to show people that yes, you can play your adult games with your kids. As long as it isn’t something overtly over the top or very violent I think it is a good thing to play something that you can do together and they contribute in a way. Lincoln is so excited every night for our time together, and if it is a game like Torchlight that brings us there, I’m all for it.

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