Can mom really double the gaming fun?  I say YES!

When people think of mom gamers, they think of women who have never picked up a controller, much less played an actual game and are just humoring their children.  You often see the stereotypical bumbling mom (often featured next to the Dumb Mom Who Can't Use Computers Stereotype) holding a controller (upside down for bonus points) and acting like an idiot, often spouting things like "where is my guy?", "oh I think I died?" or something like that.  On one hand, I can kind of understand this.  In real life, most of these moms have never picked up a game, have no interest in gaming, or are simply from a generation before video games were even an option.

But guess what?  There *are* mom gamers!  As in, moms who CHOOSE to play games on their own time (when they have it) and enjoy said games.  I know this is true because I am one of those moms. I've been playing games for a long time, long before children were in the picture.  But I also know of moms who started playing games for the first time in adulthood and becoming really interested in them.  Amazingly, there are even GRANDMA gamers!  Enjoying video games is not based on age, but interest (and time/money to dedicate to it, lol).  

So imagine my irritation when the "dumb mom gamer" meme gets dragged out over and over again like a sad panda at a circus. Like the following:

While I understand that many people (including moms) do not play games and do, in fact, get cajoled into playing when they don't really know what they're doing, this isn't really all that funny when you think about it.  I mean, here you have someone who is pretty capable at many things being taken out of their element and made to look foolish at something they don't do often (or at all) and then everyone has a good laugh at their expense.

First of all, this is annoying because it completely crushes all hope of said mom ever feeling confident to play games because now she has a negative association with gaming (ie: everyone thought she looked stupid/dumb/laughed at her, so why would she want to try again or even work at getting better?)

Secondly, it's frustrating because it paints an erroneous picture of moms as "dumb" when it comes to video games, and leads to stereotypes that are harmful to moms who DO like playing video games.

Don't make this mom get all up in your Bejeweled business. Because she will hand your "jewels" to you, and I'm not talking about diamonds here.

And, even in the video, it appears that at least one of the moms DOES play games, she just plays games like Bejeweled, which are considered "casual" or pooh-poohed by the gaming community as being "not real" games.  But regardless of how "casual" the game is, she obviously felt more comfortable with a game like that than some fighting game or a shooting game or even a Wii based Mario/Luigi game (I'm pretty sure that's what it was, but you can't see the actual game only the people playing, so I'm making an educated guess).

I suppose it's funny in a jerk sort of humor way.  It's similar to the idea of taking runway models and making them work on a farm or taking Amish kids to a rave.  The stark juxtaposition of people in unfamiliar situations creates events where people make glaring mistakes that make people who are comfortable with that situation laugh, but in the end, it's not much more than kicking someone when they're down.

Don't be this guy.  This guy is a jerk.

So how about this?  I suggest that you offer to cultivate a gamer- someone who has negative or limited experience with gaming and thinks that it is not for them.  Think of a game that might fit into that person's interests and then gently introduce them into the game, let them try it on their own without judgement or "backseat gaming" (yes, that means keeps the rolling eyes and sarcastic one-liners to a minimum).  

Because let's face it, everyone's been at level 1 before in gaming and gaming itself is a SKILL.  Even moms can take some time learning it, and if we stopped laughing at "stupid moms" and gave them a chance to play, perhaps they could show us how truly SMART they are (plus now you'll have someone to play against you when the next Marvel VS Capcom comes out).

If only this were a real game.

But I want to end on a happier note, and this one is really special- a story of a girl and her mom and Legend of Zelda, and why mom gamers rock:

"When we first got an SNES in our house I was young (about 6) and Link to the Past was out, but we couldn't get it in stores so we rented it instead. This was before walkthroughs and before the internet was as common as it is these days.

My mother and I would play Link to the Past constantly trying to figure out the many puzzles and trying to beat the game together before we had to return it. We made it all the way to the first dungeon in the dark world to a dead end room with an eyeball statue in it and couldn't, for the life of us, figure out what to do.

After many attempts at trying many different things we gave up and had to return the rental with our save file on it and kind of forget about the whole thing for awhile. A couple of months later I ended up getting the game for Christmas, from Santa, and when I loaded the game up there was only one file on it with the name Santa on it as well.

Turns out Mr. Claus had completed the game all the way up to the point we were stuck, finished the puzzle we were stuck on, and left a note in the game box saying I had to shoot the eyeball of the statue with an arrow.

Santa may have gotten all the credit back then – but now – all these years later, I know who actually put in all the effort of creating the gift of a file where I left off… On top of the gift of the game itself.

My mom is awesome, I'll remember it forever.

Source: HERE


So what are your thoughts on "mom gamers"?

Do you think that it's problematic to paint certain people as "stupid" when it comes to playing games when they're actually inexperienced (as opposed to actual idiots in games who know better but still do ridiculous stuff)?

And finally, do you have a favorite "parent/adult moment" with a family member in regards to gaming?

As always, please leave your comments below! :)