It’s easy to shop for my mom. Every Mother’s Day I have a list of things I could get her ranging from the simple, a card, to the complex, a Precious Moment’s collectible. My mom has simple tastes and while she’ll sit there and tell you “just get me a card and be here for Mother’s Day”, you know you have to do something more than that.
When Father’s Day rolls around, I have a bit more trouble on my hands. My dad has expensive tastes, just as I do. We both revel in electronics and entertainment. I lean a lot more on the entertainment aspect, obvious as Leviathyn is an extension of my own hobbies and loves. My dad, on the other hand, is a sucker for hardware. Be it TV’s, Dolby Digital sound quality, the latest AMD processor, or even a soldering kit for his old time radio hobby the things he likes borderlines or crosses over my finance budget.
To remedy that, I usually go with getting him the latest action or thilling Blu-Ray release along with a sappy card telling him how much I appreciate the help he gives me throughout the year. This year, however, I came up with something to truly tell him how much I do appreciate him and what he’s done.
Today, on Father’s Day 2013, I’m going to reflect on how my dad got me into video games and paved my way into becoming who I am right now. To keep in tune with the content you all expect on the site, while we take my trip down memory lane we’ll look at the top 5 father’s day games, as well.
Before we head back to 1993 when my gaming journey began, let’s start the list off with number 5.
#5: High Velocity Bowling (PS3)
One year we got my dad a PS3 for Christmas. He’s not so much of a gamer anymore but he really wanted a good Blu-Ray player. Being the gamer I am, I recommended a PS3. Thankfully, aside from Netflix and complaining about having to sign-in every time he turned the thing on, he found a game he really enjoyed. Oh, and he also became very good at it.
High Velocity Bowling is a pretty unique take on the sport. It takes aspects from Wii Bowling but adds in some realism to the mix. You take your PS3 controller, hold it sideways in your hand, aim your shot, and begin your swing. Bringing the controller back, you have to be careful of how your wrist moves since your swing’s accuracy is measured by where your wrist is positioned at the release.
Incorporating the controller’s Sixaxis technology, you got a bowling game with superb feel. The way the ball twisted and changed course with every motion of your arm and wrist made it extremely fun. My dad enjoyed the game but once he beat me and a friend of mine, it became an obsession for about a week or two. He’d play it all the time and shoot for the highest score he could.
Technically, any bowling game would work here but there are so many of them that — pardon the pun — drop the ball. High Velocity Bowling is a very fun and accurate way to digitally play bowling and most dads love bowling.
Back in 1993, my dad got me a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas. I was only 4 years old at the time but I was glued to the screen playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. I didn’t care how bad I was, I just enjoyed sitting there playing the games with my dad as he helped me getting better shooting the ducks out of the air and getting past the then-difficult castle stages in Mario.
At that point his gaming adventures had passed. My dad used to be a pretty proficient gamer back during the Atari days. He’s told me tales of his expertise in games like Pong, Pinball, and Space Invaders. There was one story that involved betting between him and his friends to see if they could take his high score down in Pinball. It never was.
Another Christmas, I was very fortunate and received both the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis under the tree. Two brand new systems was too much for me to handle. I’d spend about 30 minutes or so playing Super Mario World and Mega Man X then yell for my dad to switch the cords so I could play Sonic and Bubsy II on the Genesis. This went on all day until finally my dad moved one of his TV’s up to my room that had multiple connections. He taught me how to change them by myself but even sat down and played Sonic at times.
A little after that, my dad began running a “Copycat BBS” setup in our house. If you don’t know what that is, basically it was a shared network with a bulletin board front-end where users could collaborate, socialize, and look up information. My dad was one of the few that ran a BBS center in our region of the country. He met a lot of cool people and when I was young we used to go to a lot of conventions looking for deals on computer parts and supplies with him.
While my dad was searching for RAM, motherboards, and processors, I was roaming the aisles mesmerized by games like Wolfenstein, Doom, Blake Stone, and Duke Nukem. Yes, my tastes in PC gaming was basically “gun in front, shoot the monsters, try not to die” games. They were darker than any games I’ve played before but I was so enthralled by the gameplay. I didn’t truly understand the story or the violence and my dad saw that. He got me all four of those games and I played them religiously. Back then I was only good enough to beat Duke Nukem but I did fight Robo-Hitler in Wolfenstein once!
My dad, thanks to his friends and connections he met during the BBS days, was able to get some really awesome things. I was the only one of my friends who had Nuke It 1000, an unofficial expansion to Duke3D that granted 1000 new levels to play. I also had Mortal Kombat before it was released on the Genesis, which was the envy of all my friends.
My last memory of those days and the conventions was when I first saw Unreal Tournament. This was truly a whole new world in my eyes. I had never seen something that amazing before. At that point in my life, I knew a little bit about games and computers and my dad let me run around the convention with him picking up parts to upgrade my computer in order to play Unreal Tournament. He never sat down to play it but even he was mesmerized by the level Facing Worlds.
The 90′s were just the beginning of my gaming adventures but my dad was so pivotal in starting me up, showing me what was right and wrong, making me understand what was going on, and getting me able to stand on my own two feet to play by myself. What 8 year old do you know of that took down an alien invasion in Duke Nukem, came close to stopping the rebirth of Hitler in Wolfestein, and used DOS code to launch 1000 levels in Nuke It 1000? It was all thanks to my dad.
#4: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (Multi)
Pac-Man is a classic and was most likely around back when your dad was still venturing into arcades or popping cartridges into an Atari. The Championship Edition DX is an amazing revision of the classic game and one that your dad may find exciting and nostalgic.
The thing that makes Pac-Man so appealing is its simplicity and sudden intensity. Even nowadays you could get someone, like your dad, excited to play a game again when he sees Pac-Man in the modern day with a major facelift. Championship Edition DX is a wonderful game and garnered a huge response when it released even spawning some 10 out of 10, perfect reviews.
Even if your dad hasn’t sat down to play a game in a while, Pac-Man should come right back to him, allow him to relive some memories, and sit down to play a game with his gamer son or daughter.
While I mention Unreal Tournament in the first part of my Father’s Day story, there’s one more thing that was relevant to me concerning gaming before we head into the 2000′s.
Before 1999 hit and Unreal Tournament rocked my mind, my dad gave me another surprise that made the 90′s such a magical decade for me as a kid. Back in 1996, my dad surprised me one day with a big white bag that he asked me to get for him from the basement. As I was coming up the stairs, the bag opened, revealing a box for a Sony PlayStation. I stood there on the steps in wonder. Could it be for me? Was it his and he was getting back into gaming? All I had to do was go up a couple more stairs and find out but I was so anxious that I just stood there with my jaw opened.
My dad came to the stairs to see if I was still alive down there and when he saw me staring in the bag, he asked why I’d looked in. I told him the one handle came out of my hand and he had me to come up and show my mom what was in the bag. She — lightly — smacked my dad on the shoulder for going out and doing that but they both stood there smiling as I opened the box and pulled out my new PlayStation.
I had two games to start off my PS adventures: Crash Bandicoot and Mega Man 8 (which I really wish I took care of since it was the very rare Anniversary edition). Being a huge Mega Man fan, my dad asked me to play Crash Bandicoot first so he could see the new system in action before I got sucked into the latest side-scrolling adventure of the Blue Bomber.
Instead, I found myself completely entranced by Crash Bandicoot and it quickly became my new favorite game. While Mega Man 8 was very fun, I was already familiar with the Blue Bomber. His first foray onto the PlayStation was awesome but the newness of Crash just took my mind for a spin. The stages got harder and harder but I was so determined to beat Cortex.
Even before the year 2000, my dad had introduced me to three generations of console gaming and the evolution of PC gaming within a decade. I knew, even back then, that gaming’s potential would never peak. If what I saw occur within 10 years kept happening, then my mind would never stop being blown away. My dad saw the wonderment I had with gaming and he used that to teach me fundamental lessons and how to earn something.
#3: Head’s Up (iOS)
Even if you don’t own any gaming consoles, there’s a good chance you have either an iPhone or an iPad. These two extremely popular devices are household names nowadays and have become engraved into our society.
If you do have one of those devices, then you’re only 99 cents away from an instant party that even your dad could get into. Playing one-on-one or co-op with your dad sounds like an awesome time but getting everyone around him and you involved would make the event even more memorable.
Head’s Up is a hugely popular gaming app right now that involves a person putting the device on their forehead and letting the other players see a word, phrase, or name on the screen. They then have to give you clues or act out the answer in order to help you figure out what’s on the screen. It is by no means a new game but the easiness and accessibility of Head’s Up has brought this type of trivia back to the forefront of parties and groups.
It’s very easy to just whip out your iPhone, tap on the icon, and get your friends to start guessing. Before you know it you’re trying to get your dad to guess which band had an album cover where all four members were crossing a street or which movie featured Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
As we head into the 2000′s, it quickly became my own responsibility to get new games. I would occasionally get some gifts and random surprises from my parents but dad wanted me to get used to spending my own saved up money on a new release or something I’ve wanted for a long time.
Even then, he knew I wouldn’t be able to save up for something like a new console. One day he started telling me that he was going to get me my own DVD player so I would stop hogging his all the time. I quickly forgot he said that and went on using his and then running upstairs to play some games. I’d always be running up and down two flights of the house to watch a movie and then play Mega Man X4 like it was the only game I owned.
Then the day came where he ejected the movie I was watching and turned off the DVD player. I was confused and asked him why he did that and he told me I wasn’t allowed to use his DVD player anymore. My mom came into the room with a bag and my dad said that my own DVD player was in the bag but I had to take very good care of it since it wasn’t a normal one.
Looking inside the bag, my heart started racing and my jaw, once again, dropped to the floor. Inside was a Sony PlayStation 2. Amidst my wonderment and giddyness, my dad showed me the game “Summoner” and said this is the last system he would buy me. To be quite honest, Summoner was a horrible game but it was all I had when I first got my PS2. I played it and beat it but it wasn’t until I bought The Bouncer and Dark Cloud that I really got into the system. My dad would always ask me if I was playing with the PS2 and I felt bad whenever he saw me playing the same old PS1 games inside the new system (most likely Mega Man X4 again).
Still, when I finally saved up enough to get my own PS2 games to use the gift that my dad got me, I could tell he was happy with how everything worked out. At least, I think he was, in between yelling at me to put my games back in the cases and to get them off the floor.
#2: Minecraft (Multi)
If you can get your dad past the weirdness of the first few moments of Minecraft, then he should be hooked. The aspect of creation and gathering in a simple game should be appealing to just about anyone. Minecraft allows the imagination to reign king and what could be better then seeing your dad go from building small little hovels to cook and store thing to crafting huge castles, city streets, and even finding a new way to make chairs or windows look awesome.
That’s the thing about Minecraft, it could be enjoyed by just about anyone willing to give some time to it. Add in a multiplayer aspect on a server and that should make everything even better. As your dad watches the players around him build up and do more, he’ll want to get better and contribute to the overall world.
Why not start a city project with your dad and some friends? Or perhaps he’d like to create a space shuttle in the air that you could go into and move around? The possibilities for your dad to find in Minecraft could captivate him well beyond Father’s Day.
After the PS2 and up to now, it’s been my sole responsibility to buy anything gaming outside of Christmas or my birthday. Still, last year’s Christmas was the first time I got ” a box”. A “box” from my dad on Christmas is something filled with tools, home supplies, batteries, and other worthwhile things.
I sat there and looked in my “box” remembering the one year I opened up a Super Nintendo and a Genesis and I realized that my dad took me on one hell of a journey. He sat me down and taught me how to play. He showed me that games could teach me things and show me what’s right and what’s wrong. Although he may not think it, he showed me that games are good for people. If you teach a child right, games can help him or her grow just as well as parents and school could.
Through my dad I went from learning, to earning, to becoming an adult in my own place with my very first “box”. It’s one of those family things you’d have to be around to fully understand but getting my first “box” was a huge thing for me, as I’m sure it was for him.
I don’t get games from him anymore. I’m passed that stage in my life but my dad can see that everything I’ve learned from him and those games he got me were put to good use. Even the computer lessons and building my first one to play Unreal Tournament helped me out big time throughout the years.
Putting all of this together, I was able to create this site with my best friend and business partner, Steve. Leviathyn is, at its heart, an extension of everything I’ve learned thanks to the things my dad gave me and taught me.
When I look back and see where I started and then get to tell my dad that this website continues to grow and get more professional and better, I can see the genuine smile on his face, knowing that I’ve taken what I learned from him and put it into real world use.
I write for a lot of reasons. I love writing and while I’m not the best at it, I enjoy what I do. I try my best when I write on this site to give you all something entertaining to read. I’m glad when you all read my work and the other posts on this site and I know that my dad reads every one of them.
I know he’s reading this one now and all I have to say after reminescing through this lifelong journey full of lessons and gaming is, thank you dad. You gave me an outlet for my creativity and I’ve done something with it. I’ll continue to do something with it and while I know I’ve made you proud in some ways, I hope I can continue to do better. I still learn from you and I’m still growing.
I couldn’t get you a gift this year on Father’s Day but this trip down memory lane is my message to you. I love you dad, thanks for the games and the life lessons.
Here’s to more good years to come. Happy Father’s Day.
#1: New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
This is sort of a biased number 1 but it’s still a great way to end this list if you and your dad used to play Mario together. My dad played Mario with me and it was one of the last games that he did sit down to enjoy with me. I was young then and Mario is simple game but just passing the controller back and forth was good enough fun for me.
While the Wii U isn’t doing so hot, New Super Mario Bros. U is a game I would love to play with my dad since it would finally allow us to play the stages together and not have to worry about passing the controller back and forth.
I could see my dad jumping on my character’s head over and over; laughing each time. There may be other games that would be great to play with dads on their day of the year but I can’t think of anything that beats out playing something that reminds us both of my childhood and the fun we used to have holding controllers and our eyes glued to a TV screen.
I hope everyone who celebrates this day has a wonderful Father’s Day. I also hope that my story helps further the point that games and playing with your children not only helps create fun memories but will help them develop and become creative machines.
Let that creativity come out once and a while. Grab a controller and play some games, no matter what age you are. There’s something out there for everyone nowadays and gaming couldn’t be more accessible. Call over your son or daughter and have a go on the old NES machine with Duck Hunt or have them bring over their own games and see if you can get into any of them.
Gaming brings people together and if it’s done anything for my dad and I, it’s given us some fond memories and something for me to talk about from the 90′s instead of just cartoons that have long since been cancelled.
Once again, happy Father’s Day to my dad, your dad, and all the dads out there. Get playin’!