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Father Makes Son Play Through Video Game History, Chronologically

Museum Matt

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REALLY cool article on Kotaku today! Wanted to share this with everyone. Very interesting approach to instilling nostalgia and an appreciation for Play Value and the History of video games in our kids. From Kotaku:








For the last ten years, Andy Baio has been performing an experiment on his son. It is equal parts cruel and fascinating. Rather than let him play whatever video game he wanted, Baio made his boy work his way to modernity by playing through the history of video games chronologically. Starting with 1979's Galaxian.


His son Eliot was born in 2004, so Baio has this week published the findings of his decade-long "experiment in forced nostalgia and questionable parenting." The point was to let his son explore the history of the medium and how it has transformed over the decades, maybe giving him an appreciation of older (or newer but cruder) games that he might otherwise have dismissed as relics.


Eliot was given his first video games on his fourth birthday. Those games were Galaxian (1979), Rally-X (1980), Bosconian (1981), Dig Dug (1982), Pac-Man (1980), Super Pac-Man (1982), Pac-Man Plus (1982) and Pac & Pal (1983). 


Next was the Atari 2600. Then the NES. Then the SNES. And so on. And by God, whether it was working or not, it sounds like Eliot was kicking ass.


The experiment ended by the time they got to the games released around the time of Eliot's birth, with stuff like Katamari Damacy and Shadow of the Colossus.


And what did they find? Well, not only has Eliot developed a strong taste for roguelikes, but he's also become frighteningly good at video games, to the point where he can complete Spelunky via hell and reach the Nuclear Throne.

Most important, though, is the fact that he can appreciate a game for what it is, not how much money was spent on it or how flashy it looks.


"Eliot's early exposure to games with limited graphics inoculated him from the flashy, hyper-realistic graphics found in today's AAA games", Baio writes. "He can appreciate retro graphics on its own terms, and focus on the gameplay. My hope is that this experiment instilled a life-long appreciation for smaller, weirder, more intimate games in him."

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That is an interesting approach to introducing people to video games. I, myself, have always appreciated the older games and still play them. I think, in many ways, they have better game play than what is out there now. Flashy graphics do not alone make a great video game. It's the gameplay and plot as well. IMHO, anyway.

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Darn, I should've done this!  My older (now 11 years old) son is all about "Destiny" (which is fairly awesome, although I still suck at it) and the stupid "Skylanders" thing!  But, he DOES stay up all night (2am Sat) every year at California Extreme.  And we shut-down the Pacific Pinball Museam last year, as well (midnight, if I recall).  So, he DOES recognize and occasionally enjoy the classics...but he loves the games of today (well, on "yesterday's" systems...he has a 360 and a PS3)...

My YouTube Channel: youtube.com/arcadedude44

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