Over dinner I tried to distract my teenagers from the terrible news stories at the moment. I am proud they are informed and care but sometimes they need to giggle and have fun too. I asked them what they remembered about games from their childhood. It’s always lovely as a parent to know they do have fond memories of the happy times you tried so hard to give them when they were little.
Some ways of playing really do stand the test of time. My late mum wanted a doll’s house and I enjoyed mine which was made by a family friend. My daughter persuaded me to buy her a few over the years. All the kids loved skateboarding and went to after-school clubs to learn new skills. They keep talking about checking out the local skatepark in our new town. I seem to remember having a skateboard and not really knowing what to do with it but it was trendy so I had to have it. I reminded the children of how we had enjoyed tennis, badminton and the delights of swing ball as a family. I try to remind them that although their father now chooses to live overseas away from us all, he was once an involved parent.
I didn’t want my children to get involved in online gaming. I still have mixed feelings about it. The boys in particular spend more time than I would like them to attached to their screens. As they got older and more involved in XBox and so on, they grew more reluctant to go on days out. I liked their company and felt gaming robbed me of it a little. On the other hand, with school and college peers accessing online gaming, they would be probably excluded from friendship groups if they were not into online gaming. During the pandemic and in challenging times, the online world is a useful diversion and a bit of escapism. On that level, it is the television of my day and the wireless radio of the generation before.
Online gaming with Plays
I decided to have a go at gaming with my children. I admit I don’t get involved as much as I should when it comes to video games. We were impressed with the number of games available at Plays. They are constantly adding more games, even over the weekend. Their site offers around a thousand games with new ones coming along all the time.
We began with Cannons and Soldiers Mountain Offense. This was a little reminiscent of the old Angry Birds games in terms of easy pick up and put down gameplay. My son said he found the controls a little clunky at times but overall we enjoyed the game.
LEGO City Adventures Build & Protect Game was fun. We loved the isometric art style, and the simplistic gameplay. It’s a pleasant enough way to escape from the responsibilities of the day although it could be even more Lego like. The digging minigame was not as good as Club Penguin’s treasure hunt minigame according to my fussy daughter.
We agreed our favourite game was the Sorcerer. The gameplay was simple and easy to understand. The art style was also nice to look at. It was easy to play and we would actually welcome a little more difficulty and challenge.
Plays got us joining in together as a family which seems to happen less and less as the kids get older.
Full-on family fun
As we chatted about times gone by, we remembered building dens, erecting teepees and duvet forts. My mum used to give me a wooden clothes airer to make into a hideout. My children laughed and said she was probably just trying to get rid of me so she could watch her soaps. It is only the worst parents that use games as babysitters but perhaps we have all enjoyed precious me time whilst the children are doing their own thing.
When I embarked on our home education journey after my daughter was bullied at school, a lot of people thought I was making a mistake. Sometimes I did and was always worried that I wasn’t doing enough to help my children prepare for life. I need not have had such concerns but perhaps the fact I did shows I am a good enough mum. It made me smile when due to the pandemic, lots of parents had no option but to home educate. Realistically we all do to some degree as our children learn their first words from us and take their first steps on our watch. It is great that there are amazing educational games for kids available online.
We all had fun having a trip down memory lane of how we have played over the years. I ended up thinking that it is not too much of a challenge to join in with modern ways of playing. Funnily enough, since I did so the other night, I find the children seeking my company out more and more. There’s a lesson in that!