I never really had a lot of video games to play growing up. My first system was a well-loved NES from a garage sale when I was about 12. By then, I’d already played the heck out of the NES, SNES, Genesis, Gameboy and more. I did have a Commodore 64, so it wasn’t all doom-and-gloom, but really, console gaming only began for me when I bought myself a Playstation with my paper route money.

The thing was, my mom and dad didn’t really understand video games, or even like them for that matter. We did play card and board games, but video games weren’t something my family consumed much of, and certainly not together. 

Flash forward to 2014: Monday is Family Day here in Ontario. Yes, it’s a day off work, and yes, it’s meant to be spent with your family. But think about how families entertain themselves these days vs. the days of your youth. Do you think it’s reasonable to spend some of Family Day playing video games with your kids, your parents, your significant other? Has the nature of video games changed enough that it can be considered an acceptable family activity?

Thursday, 10:23 am – Gavin

Yikes, sorry for being incommunicado this week!

Video games were at one point a family engagement for us.  We used to play the King’s Quest games as a family and try to figure out some of the atrociously unintuitive puzzles they’d put in there.  We also played ASCII classic Castle Adventure and Freakin’ Funky Fuzzballs.  Probably a bunch of others as well.  Once my folks dropped off from that, my sister and I would play various and sundry other games, most notably The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  Nowadays, my dad plays some casual stuff – he’s big on Chainz – and my mother inexplicably plays Candy Crush.

For the life of me, I can’t really get my wife into gaming, so it’s mostly a solo venture.  But when we have kids, they’ll definitely have a strong push to get into gaming.  They will never know how cruel the real world can be until they play Mario Kart with me.

Continuing with the challenge, I played Driver: San Francisco over the weekend.  The principle conceit of DSF is that you possess other drivers in their cars and can jump into and out of their bodies (this isn’t a spoiler).  It’s implemented remarkably smoothly for such a weird concept.  You can pop into and out of cars at the blink of an eye.  You probably garnered this from the name, but it’s a driving game at heart, so in the hour and a half that I’ve played it, I haven’t stepped out of my car once.  It’s a fairly open world with challenges and core missions, not unlike Just Cause 2 (I actually think that JC2 is a good comparison – ridiculous concept, pure fun).  They licensed 140 vehicles which sounds like a lot, but you’ll come across a preponderance of Dodge Neons, Dodge Challengers, and VW Beetle Convertibles.  Sports cars are rarer than you’d think, but I suppose that’s an element of realism in an otherwise ridiculous game for you.

Even on my sluggish laptop, this game looks BEAUTIFUL.  The cutscene and non-gameplay animations looks fabulous.  You definitely see a lot of Ubisoft fingerprints on this game – the facial animations look identical to Splinter Cell: Conviction, and heck, you even have the Sam Fisher night vision sound for whenever you jump into a new car.

I can tell that I probably won’t beat this game, but it is super fun and a nice combination of semi-realistic driving physics (drifting is so easy and so fun) and utter lunacy.

Wednesday, 11:49 am – Ricky

Looks like we’re all taking an extended vacation… Go play some games guys, I’m too busy!

I’ll be travelling next week and looking forward to spending some time with my Vita. I’m got a few games already on the go, including OlliOlli, Spelunky and Hotline Miami. When I’m done punishing myself, I might dive into one of the Final Fantasy games I’ve been ignoring all my life – 7 or 9 – or maybe hit up some more Rayman Origins.

So what I’m saying is , I’ll probably be back next week with things to say.

Monday, 12:20 am – Ricky

Yep, it’s a holiday AND I got the post up. Too bad I’m only up this late because I had work to day… I’ll make up for it by sleeping in… until 7:30am… Ellipsis.

Please play games in memory of my once voluminous free time. May it once day return to me.