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Family and Gaming: An Interview with @gamerparent


Becoming older inevitably means more responsibilities, whether it revolves around work, a spouse or even kids. So tackling the topic of video games with those extra special people in your life is important, regardless if they are on board with your hobby or not.

Every Thursday, Games Reviews will feature an article on gaming, family life, and parenthood, something I’m very familiar with. I hope to feature discussions on what passes as acceptable for children and teens when it comes to games content, interviews with various media members, and much more. This is a platform to discuss ways in which families can sit down and play together. Some Thursdays will have reviews of family friendly games rather than an article. If you have any interest in having your opinion heard on this topic, reach out to me via twitter (seen below) and we can arrange something. Without further to do, an interview with blogger @gamerparent.


First, tell us a little about yourself. What do you write about and where? Give us some insight into your blog, and what your Twitter handles says about you.

I used to write for a tech blog covering Apple, and when I left after a few years to pursue my own passion, I started my blog I am a father of two girls, gamerparent is a personal site to take note of my interests in the video game industry, and also to explore more seriously how gaming and parenting go together.
My twitter handle @gamerparent is what I am, both a gamer and a parent. I’d like to think that I’m helping dispel some of the negative attitudes people have towards the term “gamer”, especially among parents.

What drove you pursue talking about gaming and parenting?

Video games can often be portrayed very negatively to many parents by mainstream media, and I wanted to point to some of the positive aspects of video games when it comes to parents and families. There is enormous social and cognitive benefits to playing games, and to playing them with children and parents together. Also, there wasn’t as much talk about it a few years ago, although that is changing now, as more writers get older and start families of their own.

What are some of your favorite games to play with your kids / as a family?

The favourite game around here is probably still Mario Party 8 for the Wii. Even though it’s been ages since that game came out, the kids and I still call it our favourite Mario Party. We’ll see if the new Mario Party 10 can dethrone it! My kids are definitely part of the Wii generation, for better or worse. I feel that it’s my job to try to introduce them to more long form games, but they’d rather play little games on their tablets and phones. Currently we’re playing through Captain Toad Treasure Tracker together, taking turns and handing it over to me when things get a little difficult. I encourage them to give it a try and not just bail when it gets hard!

How do you approach mature titles in regards to your family / children?

For myself, if I am playing something that isn’t appropriate for them to be watching, I will have to wait until they are sleeping to play, usually. I tend to stick with the ESRB ratings. The kids themselves are not allowed to play M rated titles, and even T rated titles have to be approved by me first. Some make the cut, others don’t. I guess I’m pretty strict about what goes into their minds. Once they get into their teens though, we’ll see what happens. It will probably always be on a case by case basis, and each kid is different as to the level of tension, violence or gore that they can handle.

Do you feel major gaming websites drop the ball when it comes to discussing gaming as a family?

I would say that the major gaming sites don’t devote much coverage to family gaming, but it is increasing slowly. I understand that it’s not their target audience, so you’re not going to see that much about it besides the occasional article. I wish that we could all stay in our early 20’s forever, but eventually some of us have to get jobs and start families, and yet somehow still find space for games. As more writers, game developers, and gamers have kids of their own, I can see that games we can play with our kids will become an increasingly important topic.

If you could rank the home consoles 1-3 taking family into consideration, how would they rank? Why?

My bias is going to show here, but I would say the Wii U, then Xbox One (with a Kinect), and then PS4. Keep in mind that I only own a Wii U and a PC for gaming, so take that for what it’s worth. The Wii U has a greater library of family friendly games, and those games tend to have more of a focus on local multiplayer. One majorly overlooked feature of the Wii U is the ability to play on the GamePad screen, off the main TV. I can’t tell you the number of times the kids have kicked me off the TV, while I’ve been able to keep playing on the Wii U’s Gamepad. That’s a very family-friendly feature. The Xbox One seems to be trying to appeal to families with games like Zoo Tycoon and Kinect Sports (is that still a thing?) and also with the focus on home entertainment. But it’s not a primary focus. The PS4 I feel is more of a “serious games” machine, and I think that focus has helped it become the leader of this generation, although perhaps the least focused on kids and families. Still, it’s telling that if I were to get a second console it would be a PS4 and not an Xbox One.

The Wii U has been unofficially pegged as the family gaming console? Is this a fair statement?

I think it’s totally fair to say it caters to families, although as with most things Nintendo makes, it’s also been dismissed as the “kiddie” console as well. It’s true that the Wii U has an abundance of great games that everyone can play. But to say that there aren’t any games that appeal to “grown ups” is patently false, and the list is only going to grow in this coming year. I suppose in that sense the Wii U is the ultimate family console, with exclusive games for all ages, whether it’s moms and dads or whether it’s kids.


Next week I’ll explore some of the issues brought up by GameParent, touching on consoles and family friendliness, ESRB and games, the negative stigma around being a parent and a gamer, and much more. Remember, if you’d like to participate in an interview for this column, please hit me up on Twitter. Until next time, so long!




Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel