Tag Archives: Gaming with Kids

Settling in Catan

Introduction

Looks like we only get one article this week. And, Noob’s Book Club will come over the weekend. Also, I got behind on the calendar for the YouTube page. What can I say? The end of the semester has been something else. Plus, I binge watched Pam and Tommy and finished up the latest season of Fargo last night. As a result, I never downloaded nor played American Truck Simulator and only have my experience of settling in Catan to write about.

At some point, they dropped the Settlers from the title. I figured it was because of colonialism and that’s one of the first results when I Google the reason. Fair enough. Anything we can do to try to bring some measure of healing to that ugly part of our history is good by me. I don’t know how much good it actually does, but I’ll let you keyboard warriors scream at one another about virtue signalling and just enjoy the game, whatever they call it.

Why, All of a Sudden?

Like many of you, I heard of Catan. For the most part, I heard good things. But, I never actually bought the game. I finally got to the point where I wanted to try it, so I bought it for Christmas. Well, actually, I did some research and saw that it was only 4 players recommended. Our family, as you know, is five. Sure, sometimes Aiden doesn’t consider himself a part of the family, but I wanted to give everyone the opportunity. Also, I started this last year by buying the whole family Nerf guns (that ended in disappointment as the war never developed) and wanted to continue this year. So, I bought Catan and the expansion pack for Christmas.

@chaosyconfetti

This clip from Abbott Elementary had us cracking up. Chaos has played Catan, but Confetti never has. #boardgames #boardgametiktok #boardgametok #boardgamecommunity

♬ original sound – Chaos & Confetti
Yes, that’s a TikTok. Don’t worry. I’m not trying to give up my square image or anything. I just couldn’t find a YouTube version of the clip.

I Do Eff With Catan

While much of my tabletop gaming involves RPGs and now miniatures, I always find love for a good board game. I got the chance to play this one when we went over to our friends’ house for a post holiday get together. When Christine mentioned the game, she said that it’s one of their favorites. Perfect.

I played the first (and ultimately only) game against my youngest son and two of their sons. We messed up a few times, but just a friendly reminder or minor adjustment of the board and we were back at it. I can’t say that I brought much strategery to the first game, but I figured out a way to sandbag my way into a victory while they weren’t paying attention. Overall, a fun experience and we tried to get Quinn to play again this past weekend, but he wasn’t in the mood. So, another day.

The Verdict

Overall, I enjoyed my time settling into Catan. I want to try to play again, this time with more players. Who knows, maybe the stars will align like they did the other day. Aiden started working on a puzzle. Quinn and I joined and the three of us worked together for a good hour on that puzzle. Sometimes kids, even teenagers, surprise you.

Tabletop Gaming Contenders 2023

Introduction

As mentioned in the previous article, 2023 brought many opportunities for tabletop gaming. Given that, there obviously should be more tabletop gaming contenders 2023 for our game of the year. While technically true, many of the tabletop games I tried only as a solo venture. These games are intended to be played with friends and family.

You get a group together. Put out some snacks. Start with the intention of being serious this time. Eventually, one of you breaks character and you all laugh hysterically. Things didn’t go as planned, but you don’t care. You’re having fun with the people you love.

Honorable Mention

Three games I played strictly on a trial basis, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Dreams and Machines. And, I never truly played Shadowrun. I only perused the reading material that I received through one of my Humble Bundles that I purchased several months ago. As you may know, Humble is both a boon and a bane to cheap gamers like myself. You can buy many games for cheap. Then, unfortunately, many of them sit on the shelf (both real and virtual) and get forgotten.

The other two games, I ordered physical copies. I think Pathfinder came as part of another Bundle. Dreams and Machines crossed my news feed and I purchased it. 40 or 50 bucks. Not bad, and made by the same people who made the Fallout tabletop RPG I bought a few years ago. Of the two, I liked Pathfinder better. The play style of Dreams and Machines is more unique and story driven. Pathfinder, though, is based on the D&D mechanics and, as a result, plays more familiar to me. The true test, though, comes if I can convince my family to play either.

Dungeons and Dragons

Quinn and I played Dungeons and Dragons last year after I researched ways to play the game as a duo. I put together a dinosaur adventure for us and we played through. As I wrote the adventure, I got a quick idea for a follow up and wrote that one, too. We haven’t sat down again to play, but I think I might try to get him to sit down this weekend and then I can give you a report next month. I also reviewed each of the new books that released this year until the latest release, Deck of Many Things, delayed until next month. I’ll pick up the reviews again then.

Magic the Gathering

Other than just playing Arena, as I’ve written about a few times, Chris, Jason, and I formed a playgroup for Commander. Both Chris and I enjoy the format. Jason tolerates it for the sake of being able to play Magic. We played twice this year. I hope that our schedules align and we get to play every other month or so in 2024. While I’m terrible at the game, I have fun and enjoy hanging out with the two of them That’s my Christmas wish, Santa.

Warhammer 40k

I only played the game once. Somehow I acquired a beginner box with a Space Marine and Necron army. I painted the Necrons and thought long and hard about which Space Marine faction to paint. I never actually settled on one, so they lie in my pile of shame. And, that, primarily is why I’m considering this one for game of the year. Even though I only played once, it inspired me to assemble and paint more than a dozen of my models. Plus, now that I work closer to home, I have more time than ever to paint the rest. I think my next project will be the Space Marines and then I can run another tutorial for the page.

The Verdict

Three tabletop gaming contenders 2023 enter. One leaves on Friday as our Tabletop Game of the Year. But, one more thing before I leave you in suspense for a few days. I completely forgot to mention that Quinn and I picked up Roll Player adventures again and played through a couple more of the books. If we played that more, it would definitely be on this list, too.

Tabletop Gaming is a Gift 2023

Introduction

Surprisingly, we played more tabletop games this year than anything else. With the soldering mishap on the XBox, we saw a definite lack of opportunities to play console games. And, my mobile games are mostly just the same games I play on the tabletop. So, truly, tabletop gaming is a gift in 2023.

in addition to the literal gift that I bought my family for Christmas, Catan, I made alist of six different games that I played or tried through the year. So, the contenders article tomorrow is going to be busy. So, for today, let’s just kick our feet up and celebrate the relaxation that comes with Boxing Day.

What Are Those Six Games?

Well, I will go into more depth tomorrow with the games and their case for tabletop game of the year for 2023 here at 2 Generations Gaming. Today, I will just give a quick list and leave it at that. I have a ton of other things that I want to get done today. Wait, didn’t I just say that I wanted to relax? Well, thankfully, none of the tasks are terrily taxing, so I can get everything done and still relax.

I started the year with the Voidspark Chronicles, a daily RPG calendar from Sundial Games. That becamse a YouTube series that I intend to finish up this week and start on the next one on the first. Chris, Jason, and I got together to play Commander (including the brand new Lord of the Rings decks!) a couple of times and hope to do so again as soon as possible.

I wrote reviews of each of the new Dungeons and Dragons books as they released. Quinn and I played some D&D, but not as much as hoped. I tried out Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Dreams and Machines to add to the new games that I played this year. Finally, I spent quite a bit of time painting minatures (even entering a contest) and played through one of the tutorial missions of Warhammer 40k

The Verdict

I told you. So much tabletop gaming this year. I think you all might be able to figure out which one is the actual game of the year just based on the articles this year. However, I will continue to keep you in suspense over this one. One more time I can say that tabletop gaming is a gift 2023. See you tomorrow with the contender’s article.

Sigil and the Outlands: Planescape

Introduction

I meant to sit down and play some Dungeons and Dragons with Quinn over the weekend. I forget sometimes how busy a relaxing Thanksgiving can be. Wednesday, we spent the day and night relaxing and trying to catch our breath. Thursday, we watched the parade and then I went to pick up Aiden’s girlfriend to hang out with the family. Friday, we went to Greenfield for dinner and then Bright Nights. Chris came over Saturday and Quinn felt sick yesterday. So, now, what do I write this week? Well, I got the bright idea to review each book from Planescape. I start with Sigil and the Outlands.

Of the settings I played when younger, Planescape offered the most interesting possibilities. Those possibilities never paid off because nobody else in the playgroup wanted to explore them. But, the release of the set in 5th edition opens up all new chances to travel the planes.

A Multiverse of (Possible) Madness

The book starts by telling you that the only rules in Planescape are that there are no rules. As someone who plays D&D by that very rule, this again tickles my funny bone and makes me want to try it even more now. Maybe after Quinn and I finish our pirate adventure, we can try some Planescape. Then again, I mistakenly grabbed my Spelljammer books instead of Planescape for this article. That gave me an idea for a way to take us into space. Maybe after that, we can plane walk.

In keeping with the tradition of these books, the first chapter then goes on to explain player character options. This one offers no new races but it gives players two “backgrounds” to play as their character. Neither of them speak to me necessarily, but I might take some aspects of one or both of them to work into a future character.

Especially when I look at the feats that they describe in the next part of the chapter. Some of them look like a lot of fun to play. They all require some sort of planar attunement. That’s just my fancy way of saying that you need to have the Scion of the Outer Planes feat, which is only available to the backgrounds they introduce in the book. So, watch this space for a new character. A warlock with the planar philosopher background. Only because I never played a Warlock.

The chapter closes with some discussion about a few magic spells and item. Again, none of them jump out to me as particularly interesting. But, with some imagination and work, maybe I can give them a fun twist.

Sigil, City of Doors

The second chapter gives information on the main hub city of the many planes, Sigil. It starts with basic information like currency and the like. This part mainly reads like the rule that “there aren’t any rules” and anything goes. It’s less interesting than it sounds. But, again, with some work and imagination, anything is possible.

Then, they write about the various portals that lead from the city. They define some of them explicitly in a table for those of us who are in a hurry or not feeling inspired. It also gives a template for other portals to other places when you start to feel more inspired or imaginative.

The final part of this chapter introduces the Lady of Pain, explains the various wards in the city and their make up and denizens, and discusses the factions in the city. I don’t care much about the politics of any given setting in Dungeons and Dragons. However, i like the idea of starting an adventure in the city. Therefore, with a description of some of the places to visit, I got ideas how to craft that part of the adventure.

The Outlands

The final chapter lists and describes the major planes of existence in the realm known as The Outlands. In keeping with the layout of many of the recent 5th edition books, it covers just the basics of each of the areas. Enough to set things up for you. The thing that I like best is that I can fill in the gaps as I write the adventure. I know that many players want more description and detail. But, I want the freedom to imagine.

The Verdict

Reading Sigil and the Outlands plus the book I picked up from Spelljammer gives me ideas for how to expand this adventure with me and Quinn. Now, I just need to sit down and write the new parts. We also need to find time to play the game. We get a week off for Christmas, so that seems like as good a time as any.

Giants in Phandalin

Introduction

My history with Dungeons and Dragons is checkered. I wonder if it is the same with many other players. I started playing in high school. We put together a regular play group that contracted to just two of us after we graduated. However, some of the best stories and campaigns for me came out of those duo sessions. It takes a little bit of time, but this all leads directly to Giants in Phandalin.

When i had kids, I tried as much as possible to pass my nerd passions on to them. Some of them became life long passions like Liam and Quinn with Pokemon. Others, like Dungeons and Dragons, maybe still have potential. Because, to be fair, we only tried playing once as a family. The boys were all young and, on that particular day, I just wasn’t feeling particularly patient. So, I think I poisoned the well a little bit. In spite of that, I hold out hope that maybe one of these days we can try again.

Bigby Presents Glory of the Giants

I planned to cover this one last month in a Dungeons and Dragons week. However, Quinn and I never sat down to play the next episode in our Duo campaign. So, I moved Dungeons and Dragons to this month and decided to cover the two latest source books in this article. I never know how to properly cover something like this. But, that’s never stopped me before.

For this one, I read through the character creation parts of the book. I always try to build different characters for the game just to see how their peculiarities might show up in an actual game. This book goes one step further and talks about how to run an actual campaign built around giants. You might think, cynically, So, D&D but with big people? Yes, I suppose that’s one way to look at it. But, I feel like there’s so much more potential there.

Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk

Well, things come full circle now. The adventure we tried to play as a family was the Lost Mine of Phandelver. And, now, Wizards of the Coast release a new source book building on that. I’d be lying if the release of this book didn’t make me feel nostalgic for that time and the desire for a do over. Just have to figure out a time to do it. Everyone’s older and busier. Cats in the Cradle, indeed.

The Verdict

Giants in Phandalin brings two fun new books to the Dungeons and Dragons pantheon. One gives me an idea for how to build a new world and campaign. The other makes me want to recapture some of that fun of being young again for all involved. I’m sure we can find some time during Thanksgiving or Christmas break. Be on the lookout for a Lucas-Mullen D&D adventure in a few months.

Minecraft Boy in a Minecraft World

Introduction

I planned to write about Minecraft this week. Today I wanted to talk about the Java (PC) version. Then, on Wednesday, I wanted to discuss the console (or Bedrock) version. Honestly, I had no coherent plan for Friday and I wrote, “developing an RPG?” in my planner for that day. So, in anticipation of this epic update on the game, I started a new Minecraft world about a week ago.

A view from my front door.

I played through for an hour or so cumulatively. Mined. Crafted. Found some cool stuff like an amethyst cave and a desert village. The amethyst cave is a first for me. Oh, I also mined some copper during my first trip down in this world. And, ended up spawning near a type of forest I never saw before. Even so, I’m honestly at a loss of how to approach this article.

A Minecraft Update August 2023

This is usually how I approach these articles where I want to talk about new and exciting developments in games. However, with those games I usually play them daily and the update involves only a new set of cards. As I replied to all three of my kids, at different times, when they noticed I loaded up the game, “Yeah, I haven’t played it in a long time.” Traditionally, Minecraft is our vacation game. I play with Quinn, and sometimes Aiden. We have a Minecraft world or two with Liam, too, but he played Pokemon more than any other game.

In this game, I missed several updates. I kept an eye on them as they released and I even considered playing once or twice to write one of those traditional update articles. Obviously, I never followed through. One reason is because my gaming PC, the PC I’m writing this article on had a busted charging port and I thought it would take far too much effort to fix. A couple of weeks ago, that proved wrong and I replaced the port. So, I loaded up Minecraft.

The More Things Change…

…supposed to be the more they stay the same. I think people just say that to comfort themselves when things seem to be changing so rapidly. As a parent, you learn some harsh truths about, well, everything. One of those truths we are learning now is that kids are kids. Until they aren’t anymore. And that process seems to happen overnight. I don’t know if it’s because you don’t pay attention to those small changes or you only start paying attention when the rapid changes happen.

I wrote an article about going to the train show with Aiden one year. I worried that it might be the last year I got to go. He was the only one who wanted to come and I mused about how quickly childhood evaporates. It didn’t happen then. But, I think it is happening now. I mean, sure, the kids all came with me to the comic book convention in Fitchburg this weekend. And, they all had an absolute blast. It was a small one, so nobody felt too crowded (I think the reason they don’t want to go to the train show) but it still had the cool artists, cosplayers, and something for everyone.

We also found him!

But, Minecraft

Losing an annual train show is one thing. I can live with that loss. Especially if I can keep convincing them to join me at the smaller comic shows. But, like I said, Minecraft was a staple for us during vacations. We picked up old worlds. Sometimes, when bored, we created a new Minecraft world. But, we always played. This summer vacation is the 4th vacation with no Minecraft with the kids.

I think part of the problem is that I get caught up in other things and I don’t ask them to play. I’m sure if I asked Quinn or Aiden to play Minecraft, they would. At least for a couple of sessions before they got bored. I mean I saw Aiden playing Fortnight again the other night when I went up to visit him in his room. So, I need to take some responsibility here. But, parents, trust me when I say. Your kids are kids until they aren’t anymore. Cherish those moments. Take the pictures. And at the risk of sounding like a middle aged Facebook mom.

The Verdict

Who knew when I randomly picked up the game and created a Minecraft world that it would lead to such deep feelings and me fighting off tears? These episodes come at random times. About a month ago, my wife and I had a conversation because she talked about remembering when they were little. She thinks I have a limited memory, which I sometimes do, but I just said, “You just remember” and then fired off a few dozen memories, both big and little of them being kids. We have a week left of summer. Aiden wanted to disc golf. We are taking them all to the beach on Wednesday (so the console article won’t happen then), and now I need to figure out a way to

Undertale – What’s Next?

Introduction

When I planned this article at the beginning of the week, I hoped that I beat the game at least through one of the endings. Alas, best laid plans and all that. Instead, I played through the first level and part of the second level on Wednesday and wrote about my thoughts then. So the obvous answer to the question Undertale – What’s Next?

Beat the game through at least one of the levels.

Not to put to fine a point on it, but that needs to happen before I can even consider any other possibilities in the game and beyond. Those who follow the page know that I am, by no sense of the word, a completist when it comes to games. I think I have exactly two 100%s on my resume. Super Mario 64 and Ratchet and Clank. That’s it. A couple of years ago, I tried to follow Quinn on his mission to get all achievements in Minecraft. I also worked to finish MK11 last year. Both ended in utter failure.

*something something* *motivational quote about rising from the fires of failure as a phoenix of success.

Okay, But After That

Okay, after I follow a walkthrough to the “Pacifist” ending, how many of the 93 possible endings do I then chase? Death and Taxes has about a dozen endings and I stopped playing after achieving the Usurper simply because it connects with my world view. So, after defeating Undertale as a Pacifist, what’s the incentive to keep playing? Honestly, at this point, nothing.

I bought so many games through Steam, Humble, and Fanatical now that I need to start playing them. One thing that “Celebrating Indie Games in July 2023” taught me is that there are a ton of great games out there and that’s not even counting the fact that Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1 release this year. Also, I want the PS5 because we want to play the Spider-Man games on it. Long story short (I know, too late) is that I don’t see myself playing this game much after achieving the ending.

But, You Know There’s a “Sequel” Right?

I learned about Deltarune (an anagram of Undertale, clever!) from a student while teaching at Conant. They asked if I ever played Undertale. Obviously, I responded in the negative. “But,” I said, “I bought the game for my youngest to play, so maybe I’ll check it out.” Well, I can finally say I checked it out.

So, after beating Undertale, I suppose there’s always Deltarune. Doing a bit of research, I found that only 2 of the planned 7 chapters released so far. That means that not much more of a time commitment required to play through those parts of the game. Maybe I will try to play through that one without a guide.

The Verdict

The most likely path forward is that I play through the first two chapters of Deltarune. I like Undertale but not enough to try for the multiple endings right now. But, maybe after playing the game more, I might. Stay tuned to see my actual answer to Undertale – what’s next?

Street Fighter 6 Early Impressions

Introduction

On Monday, I gave my early impressions of Mortal Kombat 1. As I wrote in that article, I talked about how Chris and I discussed getting the gang back together for old time’s sake. I suggested talking about Mortal Kombat 1 and Street Fighter 6 Early Impressions as a soft landing spot. We both played the games from the very first in both cases. Well, not Street Fighter. Nobody played that one.

But, you get the point. Once Chris learned that I played Street Fighter, we put it into our regular rotation for a time during the monthly nerd nights. Looking back on it, we always lamented that once a month seemed like too long to wait. Now, I for one, would kill to be able to meet once per month. The cruel irony of fate. I work less and also, somehow, we have less time to hang out. Oh well, self pity over.

How Do I Write This Thing?

When I first heard about Mortal Kombat 1, I immediately Googled to see if the game actually existed. When I heard about Street Fighter 6, I went about my business. I might have texted Chris about it, but it certainly made less of an impact on me. And, here comes some nerd shame admission that we are so good at around here.

I haven’t played a Capcom fighting game since Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I haven’t enjoyed a Capcom fighting game since Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I played Street Fighter 3 a couple of times and never played Street Fighter 4 or 5. Actually, looking back on it, Chris and I might have played some Street Fighter 5. If so, it’s forgettable. I bet that’s the main reason that this game made so little impact on me. I played Mortal Kombat 9, X, and 11 and enjoyed every single one of them.

Humble Beginnings

Okay, let’s start over and see if I can find my love for Street Fighter like I did with Mortal Kombat. First, my very first memory of the game escapes me. I remember distinctly reading EGM (the property still exists) or some other such magazine to figure out tips and tricks to get better. I learned about how the fighting system stores moves and by chaining together basic attacks with a special attack, you create an unblockable combo move. Now, it’s coming back to me.

Ryu and Ken were always my favorites. But I liked Sagat for some time, too.

I started to convince myself that Street Fighter required more skill and it briefly became my game of choice. Because you played on only one quarter when you won back then, I wanted to be able to get as much out of my coin as possible. I think the same article also introduced me to the concept of zoning and counter moves. I never got to “professional” level, but I definitely put together several 5 to 10 game win streaks in my day.

Street Fighter Alpha 2

My glory days for Street Fighter came during the Alpha phase. The 2nd one came at a time when I found myself getting back into video games. I lived alone for a brief time when I moved to Massachusetts. I needed to fill the time not spent working. So, I bought comics, Magic the Gathering cards, and a PlayStation. Fun fact: I promised myself after buying the PlayStation that I’d never pay full price for a console again. I kept that promise to this day.

I loved the art style of Alpha and the new characters and combo system. Because this game came out before the advent of at home high speed internet, I played mostly by myself and never got a chance to play against anyone other than Christine. While fun, it never truly captured the glory of those days in the arcade.

The Verdict

I gave very few Street Fighter 6 Early Impressions in this article. I think that because I have two friends who play the game and Aiden also enjoys playing Mortal Kombat against his friends that I have more invested in that game. I still like the aesthetic of Street Fighter and get excited by new game announcements. But, it just doesn’t hook me like MK.

A Second Nintendo Switch: Pros and Cons

A couple of weeks ago, I texted Chris. While that’s not news (and if you’re here for actual news, boy are you in the wrong place), the text chain gave me an idea. That idea germinated for some time. Now, it exists in the form of this article. Many of you already figured out. I texted Chris about the possibility of purchasing a second Switch.

We own a Switch. A search of “Switch” on the site brings up 4 pages worth of results. But, I explained to Chris, Liam and Quinn often take possession of it to play Pokemon. I have no problem with that because (a) I love that they love Pokemon and have that in common and (b) Liam purchased the console with his own money. But, that causes a bit of a dilemma and conflict now when I want to play, which happens more and more often recently.

Why Do I Care if You Buy a Second Switch?

See also: the perspective of the reader.

The sort answer is that you probably don’t. Allow me to speculate and write the slightly longer answer in this section. I came to the conclusion last year that this page serves mostly as an online diary for me to keep track of how my gaming habits change over the years, both as a young father and now as an older father. Sure, at some point, we might hit it big and get more readers, listeners, or viewers.

Mostly, though, I write because I like to write. I write about games because I enjoy games. I recently got over my stage fright and successfully completed and entire series of Noob’s Book Club. I started a YouTube that I update daily with content. The only thing left for me to check off my “to do” list for when I started the page is to stream on Twitch. I mean, I streamed a couple of short sessions as a test, but I need a challenge similar to my Geocaching 365 idea that I completed last year.

Will a New Switch Help Me Achieve That Goal?

See also: the perspective of the writer.

The short answer is doubtful. Either I misplaced my streaming hardware or at this point, I bet it’s obsolete. So, I need to upgrade my computer, figure out a way to run the Switch through the computer for streaming purposes, and put together a schedule. Working backwards through that list, I can finish the schedule after next week when soccer finishes. Then, I just research (Google) how to run the Switch through the software. The one thing that takes more time and resources is the new PC. While possibly not even necessary, if I need one, it won’t happen until the fall at the earliest.

Aiden wants to do at least one soccer camp over the summer. Liam, Christine, and I are taking a trip to Germany for 3 weeks as Liam’s graduation gift. Plus, we take our annual Cape trip. Quinn signed up for Scout camp. So, time and money (as always) prevents this plan from coming to fruition until at least fall.

Pros/Cons of Buying a New Switch

Pros: I own another Switch.

Cons: It costs money.

Can you tell I’ve never been good at writing pros/cons lists? But seriously, I never thought I’d even consider buying more than one console. I tested this theory out when I ran Nintendo Club at Conant last year by bringing home one of their consoles for Christmas vacation. I played it a few times, but certainly not enough to warrant buying another one for the household. So, I guess after all that, I have my answer. When we return from Germany, I’m buying another Switch.

Mario and My Family: Mario in March

Introduction

I think I said in the previous article that, similar to comics, the Super Mario games grew up with me. The two-dimensional side scrollers of my teenage years became three dimensional exploration games during my 20s when I had more time to devote to them. Then, as I got married, had kids, and worked more as a result, the games went back to simpler times. So, Mario and my family, as I’m sure many others can say, have a history.

That history includes the main series games. It also involves stories from the auxiliary games, mostly Kart and Party. We played Brawl (the boys more than Christine or me), but I stink on ice at that game. And, if I’m being perfectly honest, one of my (not so secret) nerd shames is that I have absolutely no idea how to even play the game. It resembles none of the other fighting games I’ve ever played and I don’t have the patience to learn any strategies. Plus, button mashing rewards you less than those other games.

Super Smash Bros

I remember thinking when I heard about the game, “A fighting game with Nintendo characters? What an amazing idea.” I also thought at the time, for some reason, that the game would be another Street Fighter clone. Playing the game quickly disabused me of that notion. No amount of half circle or F-D-F gave me the desired results. And, so, faced with that failure, I completely gave up on the hopes of ever being a Smash Bro.

I mean, seriously, what’s with the percentages?!

Mario Party

I first tried Mario Party with Christine on the Nintendo 64. We quickly discovered that, while a multiplayer game, it lends itself to more than two players. And, so the game went unplayed for another two decades or so until we had kids. Even so, we only recently started playing it as a whole family. Liam bought the game and we loaded it a couple of weeks ago on a family gaming night. We actually played through a few games and it looked like it might take a place in the rotation. So far, it hasn’t. But, April vacation is coming and we are going away with friends. So, There is the chance for another round or two coming up.

Super Mario Kart

The undisputed champion in the house when it comes to the Mario adjacent game is the Mario Kart series. I think I promised a story in the previous article about Mario Kart, so here goes. Me, Liam, and Aiden were playing Mario Kart. I went into the kitchen to put oil on the stove for home fries for breakfast. I, then, went into the living room to continue our Mario Kart series. The oil reached flash temperature and went up in flames. The fire alarms went off. I saw a 3 foot high flame licking at the bottom of our above range microwave. We left the house, called the fire department, and lived with her parents for 2 weeks as they cleaned the ash, soot, and extinguisher foam from the house and our belongings. How many of you can say you almost burned down your house playing Mario Kart?

More recently, we played Mario Kart 3 or 4 nights during one of our recent December breaks. We enjoyed the sessions so much that we promised to play at least once a month. As happens, that became once every other month. But, we still enjoy the times we get to play. Maybe I just need to try to force the issue more because Mario and my family miss each other.

The Verdict

Mario and my family have been a part of each other’s lives for the entirety of Mario’s existence and, therefore, my family’s. However, as I’m sure is true of other families, it wasn’t until the multiplayer party type games that it took hold of the entire family. Before that, I played Mario and Liam picked up on it. Quinn enjoyed Super Mario Maker. But, everyone plays Mario Kart and even Party on the rare occasions we load that one.