The lights are on
Whether my daughter likes it or not, gaming is going to be, and to a certain extent already is, a big part of her life. Her room is decorated with Portal memorabilia and Zelda plushies, most of her clothing is adorned with video game references that fly over the head of every adult at daycare, and she has her own companion cube that watches over her while she sleeps in her crib. I don’t know if she is going to like games or hate them, but they are in her life. Like a princess born into royalty, she doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter.
Together, with my newborn daughter sleeping on my chest, or sleeping in the mobile crib we moved room to room, we tackled all the Riddler trophies in Batman: Arkham City. We found every piece of heart, every Goddess Cube, and every Gratitude Crystal in Skyward Sword, and she smiled at me when I impersonated Beedle’s excited “Thank you!” She won’t remember these things when she gets older, but to me, I feel like we played those together.
She typically does not show any interest in the things that are happening on the TV. Instead, she hangs out by her gigantic toy box with way too many toys, pulling things out and dropping them on the floor until she finds the one thing that fell in the toy box by accident, like a hair scrunchie, and devotes her attention to that. She does however, love to play with controllers. She figured out that when she presses the giant silver button in the middle of the Xbox controller, it lights up green. In the interest of preventing her from making unwanted transactions or accidentally sending rude messages to members of my friends list, I removed the battery and handed the controller back to her. She immediately called my magic trick, holding up the controller and the battery understanding that for her to have any fun, these things need to be together.
At the age she is now, her curiosity is described as “intense, often stronger than self-control,” by the paperwork given to me by the doctor. I can’t play games with her laying on my chest anymore. She demands my full attention as power outlets are becoming more and more interesting. All my gaming takes place during her sleeping hours, but I look forward to the day when we will get to play games together.
I used to conceive broad plans for her, defining what games she would play in what order. Clearly, she needs to start the way I did, with Super Nintendo. I had plans to hide the current generation consoles from her until she understood the magic of Mega Man X, or the mystique of Ocarina of Time, but I had a strange revelation before she was born: Some children are born with a full head of hair. For some inexplicable reason, my wife and I hoped our daughter would be born with a full mop of hair. It occurred to me while I was looking at socks at Babies ‘R Us with my six-month pregnant wife, that I had absolutely no say in whether or not she would be born with hair. She could be born completely bald, and I knew I would be okay with that. That somehow created a connection in my brain to the cold hard fact that every parent realizes at some point: Despite my best efforts, my child will like whatever she likes, and there isn't much I can do about it.
From that point on, I abandoned all notions that I would be able to supremely dictate her likes and dislikes. I decided that her first game will be whatever she wants her first game to be. I’ll try my hardest to trick her into thinking that it's The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but ultimately it is her decision. All of this being said , however, she was born with some hair, and so I will be waiting in the wings with the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD collection under my arm as soon as as she is ready.
The art above is care of my brother, or as he will be more commonly referred to as in the future, Uncle Tristan.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.