Generations

Yesterday on Twitter my friend @weiward asked if a certain Instagram picture was accurate for me. It was.

Being a kid/teenager and playing video games in the 80s/90s had this wonderful power to make even the most understanding of parents simply not being able to grasp just what it was you were doing, and having this parental instinct to remind you how you were, to make it short, “doing it wrong“.

A funny thing about that image is that not only did my parents tend to call any videogame system (or game) a “Nintendo“, but also the word has a very easy and fun pun in Spanish: they called it a “Ni entiendo” – which means something like “I can’t even understand“. It’s a borderline poetic coincidence. My mom eventually, at some undetermined point in time, started calling it “the playstation”; my grandmother still calls anything videogamey a Nintendo, though.

What is fascinating to me about this is that I think of the cultural differences that lead parents to call video games “doing it wrong” or a “waste of time”. What did parents do for fun back then, in the 60s or 70s? Listen to the Beatles? Go out and chat and/or dance in discos? Going to the beach? And I bet that they did those things, or whatever tickled their fancy, as often as they could – it was their time sink, their fun. I wonder if grandparents told the same things to them: “stop wasting your time” and the same old phrases whenever they found today’s parents doing something fun.

Time. Everything changes and nothing changes at the same time. Even in my 30s now, my mom will still make some odd comment when I tell her I’m playing games on my PC or consoles. I don’t mind, really, and now I have a perfect answer for that:

– “Aren’t you too old to be playing video games?”

– Aren’t you old enough to realize I won’t change?

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2 thoughts on “Generations

  1. Well written sir. I know this feeling. Except that because I am slightly younger my mum went through the phase of calling everything a Sega rather than Nintendo… Then it changed to the “gamestation” until she finally started calling things “playstations”. But I do remember her saying her parents didn’t think the things she enjoyed were a good way to use her time either. I think it is a cyclical, generational thing. 🙂

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    1. Yes! It’s a cycle. Most parents forget how much they’d loved to be left alone to their hobbies – and they do the exact opposite to their sons.

      There’s boundaries of course, but there’s also great value in fun time – however one wishes to spend it.

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