Evolution of a Gamer articles usually revolve around my son. You can start the story here. Today, there's a change though. A recent interaction made me think back to MY childhood, and a console war of a completely different type.
My childhood was full of gaming, but my family definitely wasn't into it. My mom tried once, died on the first Goomba, and never returned. My dad, on the other hand, is a hardcore mechanic. He loves tinkering in the garage and building stuff. He would try to show me his hobbies, teach me to work on a car, but I was always interested in my gaming. We had a great relationship growing up, but relaxation time tended to be spent in separate rooms. He had his hobby, I had mine. While not console vs. console, it was definitely the same kind of battle. I would probably say "It's too complicated! You get so dirty! Games are a great form of entertainment!" while he would be saying "What a waste of time! You aren't accomplishing anything! Repairing and building are so rewarding!"
Now, I'm all grown up at 33. We just moved halfway across the country to be near family, and are staying with the in-laws while we get on our feet. So wife, kids and I are now under the parental roof again. We're treated like equals, but still have to share with someone who's more than, "that roomate you can kick out."
During the move, one of our chairs must have wobbled around in the van and lost a little nut holding a bolt in. Not just any nut, though. One of those special shafts that has a flathead notch on one side and the hole through the side so you can shove it in and hold it still. Not the exact thing you would have a spare sitting around of. I'm finally being Mr. Responsible, pulling another bolt out of the chair and saying "I'm off to Lowe's" when my father-in-law says "aww, we can make one of those!"
I follow him out to his garage, and we dig around in a pile of scrap metal until we find the right size metal shaft. Then, it's Find the Correct Drill Bit and Get the Oil for Drilling. At first, I'm all business, but then I realize: we are sharing hobbies! As he describes in extreme detail the benefits of using the oil to prevent overheating the metal, how to properly tap a hole for a bolt, and picking the correct bit as he lines it all up, I flashback to myself showing Mom and Dad where my cartridges are and how to pick the game you want, describing in detail how to operate the controls, and the depth of passion in my voice for what I truly care about and how I can improve their life through sharing my hobby. Flashback to current day, where I was just helping out my father-in-law, I redoubled my efforts, asking questions about everything he was talking about, and the energy flowed through our conversation. Through the years, I've also found a few games he's liked and been able to share that as well.
This evolution of my mindset really helps me see outside the box, beyond console wars. When we see some profession/hobby we aren't that thrilled in, and stereotype everyone else into categories according to their likes, we may miss out on something else. Looking back, I might have bettered myself learning more from my Dad on cars. We all have our passions. None of them are wrong. So next time you are arguing PS4 vs. Xbox One, RPGs vs. Platformers, Football vs. Baseball, or Videogames vs. Auto Engineering, remember that while you're trying to get your fanboy opinion across, someone on the other side of the conversation is just as excited to share their heart with you. In the meantime, I'll leave the mechanics up to my wife, who learned everything she knows about cars from my father-in-law.
By the way, found that header picture by artist Chris Gerringer when simply looking for gamer kindred spirits. He's got more, and they're pretty funny when you realize the links. The rest of the gallery is here, and his tumblr is here. Wanted to give credit where due for a fun artist!