Culture

Play Time is Quality Time

I’ve been gaming since I first learned to turn the little knobs on the Pong game and play what amounted to virtual tennis. I moved up in gaming systems through the years with Atari and Nintendo, then Playstation and X-Box. I’ve watched games grow from pixelated simplicity to epic adventures like Breath of the Wild.

And now that I have a child, I enjoy sharing my love of games with him. Of course, he’s been totally on board since the first time he got to “shoot” things in a video game. It’s a very stereotypical little boy trait, but in general they like to shoot stuff, destroy stuff and create general mayhem. And it starts at a young age.

Playing computer games
Let’s throw knives at things!

Lately he’s been asking more about gaming on my computer and getting a computer of his own. He’s only seven, so I don’t let him near my computer without supervision. I also haven’t done much computer-based gaming, so a lot of that is new to me. But to satisfy his computer curiosity, I’ll look up games for him to play, and a good resource for that is Plays.org, where all the games are free.

Let’s Play!

Out of the hundreds of options, he immediately gravitated toward the knife throwing games like Fruit Master. This one kept him entertained for a little bit before moving on to try other games involving throwing things at other things. As riveting as that sounds, I wanted to try out some of the games that were based on the games I played when I was his age.

fruit master game
Fruit Master

First, we gave Pac-Chef a try. As you can guess from the name, it’s inspired by Pac-Man. But instead of a yellow circle chomping dots and running from monsters, you get a chef gathering coins that look like pies and try to avoid running into other chefs. I got all excited when I recognized the same board pattern as Pac-Man, which I could probably play blindfolded. I have a pattern, and I have never forgotten it!

I played Pac-Man over and over as a kid. My son, on the other hand, played about 30 seconds of Pac-Chef before deciding he would like to go back to throwing knives at things. But no! I was not ready to give up. So next we gave their Tetris inspired game a try, Tetra Blocks.

Pac Chef game based on pac man
Pac-Chef

Move Over Kid

The Tetra Blocks game works pretty much the same as Tetris and has the same shaped pieces. I was itching to get on and play myself because I can get really far on Tetris, and I wanted to show him how it’s done.

He’s the kind of kid who always wants to figure it out himself, so he refused to let me show him. Consequently, he didn’t get far and didn’t understand what I meant when I kept telling him to “make a solid line with the blocks.” He didn’t think it was very fun and was ready to move on, and then got VERY upset with me when I wrote in my notes that he was being stubborn and wouldn’t let me show him how to play. I had to show him I scribbled it out, and he finally calmed down and let me take over. Kids are so much fun! haha

Tetra Blocks tetris style online game
Tetra Blocks

So then mom proceeded to clear levels left and right, and earned a smidgeon of respect from the kid. I asked him if he wanted to give it another shot now that he sees how to play, but he declined in favor of searching for something with a little more destruction involved.

The good thing about all the games we found is that they are all kid-friendly. I never know what he’s going to find when he starts looking up apps on my phone! And even if he gives me a hard time, it’s still time well spent exploring new games together and doing something we both enjoy.

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