Growing up with video games

I have a pet theory that I belong among the last people born that allowed us to grow up with video games at the same rate video games grew up. What I mean is, everyone from before were “mature” enough for the current generation, to understand what came before. Those that came after were more likely to be introduced to the then current generation without historical context.

This interests me as a parent, because I sometimes wish I could control my kid’s media consumption completely, and if I could, I’d introduce reality in that historical context. Meaning we wouldn’t even get to video games until near the end, but when we did it would be through not just the chronological order of technology; we would focus on the medium and fidelity of the stories being told, to provide a shared vocabulary and understanding on how choosing the medium changes the message.

Anyhow, I wanted to try playing older games with Clover, to see the change in attitude and approach as the modern games we’ve played so far. I “cut my teeth” in a way with the NES, so video games start there for me, but I also played games in the 80s, and consoles were made to withstand nuclear winters, so our family also had multiple Atari and Intellivision systems over the years.

Okay, Intellivision it is! Because those were the most boring, mind-numbing games I remember, and it will be interesting to see what C thinks.

Of course, if I wanted to step beyond my personal experience, I could wait until C is reading habitually, and start with text games and MUDs. And that might not be a bad starting point, for both games and cognition: learning to read in a pre-multimedia environment, maybe that allows focus on the elements of language that become mitigated with certain technologies, such as spelling.

Well, for now I am going to look into Intellivision emulation, because when I thought back I realized that playing the thing was essentially tuning a VCR with a low-budget calculator, and I am curious how folks map keyboard or controllers to the keypad and wheel.

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