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Just When You Thought Kids Were Too Cool For Retro Gaming

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One of the greatest things about being a gaming dad is that I get to expose my son to all the cool stuff I’ve acquired over the years. I have a Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Wii, Xbox, PS2, 360 and PS3. My Saturn library is huge as is my PS1, PS2 and Dreamcast libraries. My son had a graduation party today and I thought I would do what I used to do growing up…throw a video game tournament.

I planned this all week. My whole goal was to introduce these kids to some gems and watch the frustration ensue. I knew that all these kids, especially my son, were spoiled by next generation gaming. To make them go back and play games that existed before they were born would be entertaining for me and boring for them. I set aside Baku Baku, Midways Atari Classics, Street Fighter III Second Impact, Ikaruga(DC) and Darius Gaiden. The semi-finals included Super Puzzle Fighter HD, Virtua Fighter 5 and Sega Rally Revo, the hardest Sega Rally game ever made.

The kids were excited to enter my command center and start playing games. There were only four kids, all 11 and 12 years old. I split them up into pairs and watched them play. I wouldn’t give them any instructions on shooters but I would let them play practice rounds on Asteroids and Baku Baku. I wanted them to have fun and even threw in a $5 prize for the winner and $2.50 for second place.

Half way into the the contest I was amazed at what I was hearing. Even though the games were hard for them, they were enjoying the tournament immensely. Some of them wanted to download Ikaruga for themselves on Xbox Live Arcade. The joke was on me because these kids who had been spoiled by the 360/PS3 gaming generation were loving the classics. They were totally unfamiliar with everything they played and still appreciated the games. They also enjoyed the fact that I was even having a video game tournament.

I had one more trick up my sleeve. After the final round, the winner expected to receive his prize. I told him he had to beat me in a game to earn his prize. I was still going to give him his prize whether he beat me or not, but I wanted him to face the challenge and go through the suspenseful motions of trying to beat this experienced gamer from the 70’s. I gave him the choice of picking the game and he picked Sega Rally Revo. I played to beat him and for over 2 1/3 of the laps stayed ahead of him. He was on my ass the entire race and in the final stretch, he passed me and won the race by .13 of a second. I couldn’t believe that the second time he ever played the game he beat me. If you could have only seen the joy in this kids face. He earned his 5 bucks and a pat on the back.

What did I learn from all this? If you are a gaming parent like me, try and introduce your kids to some of the finer days of gaming. They will appreciate it. If you get beat in a couple of games, spend the rest of the afternoon whooping their ass in Virtua Fighter 5 to redeem yourself.  I did.

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