As an avid gamer who is strapped for time, I find that the holidays are turning into my “binge gaming” sessions because of the time off from work. Unfortunately for me, Thanksgiving is held at my parents’ house every year and therefore instead of binge gaming I have had to clean, but the idea of gaming after Thanksgiving piqued my interest and so I took to the internet to see what other family’s gaming practices are on a holiday like Thanksgiving.
Most people who actually expressed having played video games on T-Day in the past were those who did not spend the whole day with family or even admitted that they did not care for the holiday and spent it at home. I come from a family where we spend the whole day together; people arrive at 12pm and stay until 11pm, or even later depending on how much wine we’ve had. During that time we find ways to entertain ourselves, whether through the TV or discussing what we want for Christmas, but every now and then we play board games after dinner.
Video games are still not entirely an acceptable form of play by the older generations, and before Sam gets all up in arms (lol), by older generations I mean people like my grandparents who are in their 80s. I’m sure many of you have experienced the condescension before, “Why don’t you go outside and play games?” or “In my day, we didn’t even have a TV, you kids are so spoiled by technology.” I realize this is a result of the generational gap, but what my grandparents don’t quite understand is that video games are just a different form of gaming than they are used to experiencing. “Proper gaming” to someone like my grandparents would be a nice board game like Scrabble or a card game like Euchre. Now, I know there is a distinct difference between video games, table top games, and card games but the point is that people sit down to experience gaming in some way, shape, or form together with each of these variations. The end result is usually an enhancement of the mind, as many studies show, and I think this is something that people, like my grandparents, can appreciate.
When the Wii came out my younger cousins got a system for Christmas and the whole family participated in a game of bowling; it was engaging and fun for everyone, but it was still just silly enough to not earn any credence from the older generations in my family. Although I do not currently own a next-gen console, many of the ideas and concepts behind them (especially the Xbox One) were to enhance our gaming in social settings. When Microsoft announced the Xbox One there were videos that made fun of the company for pushing the idea of TV and a fully realized entertainment system through one console. Even though it was made fun of by the “hardcore” gamers I believe that something like this, the push for engagement outside of just “gaming,” will help outsiders to realize the important effects gaming can have on the mind. I wish that I had a next-gen system to test the theory and see if I could engage my grandparents into playing a video game after dinner instead of cards; someone should test it out and let me know!
So, tomorrow on a day filled with food, family, and giving thanks for what we have been given, I will be pondering how I can get my family to sit down and play video games with me. How will you spend your Thanksgiving, and does your family have gaming practices/traditions? Someday, when I have my own family, I hope to encourage family game time on a holiday such as this, especially since I am so thankful for the difference video games have made in my life.