Earlier this evening, my oldest son and I were sitting together with PlayStation Portables (PSPs) in hand, team questing in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. After a while, he randomly turned to me and gave me a big hug, telling me that I was the best dad ever. I asked him why.
"Because you play Monster Hunter with me and help me when I need it, because you take care of me and the family, because you work so hard, and because you have fun with us.”
My own father and I have always had a terrible relationship, and in fact, we're not even speaking anymore. When I was younger, I often felt frustrated, angry and disappointed that he and I weren’t closer, and that things were always so rocky. Still do. Fathers and sons always have their rough patches to be sure, but there was consistently some vital connection lacking with us — some piece that was just missing.
As an example of the kind of connection we had, I can clearly remember several times when I would want to jump on my NES and take turns with the old man, practically begging him to come over and sit with me on the carpet for a few minutes, and he never, ever took me up on it.
It may be a bit cliché, but I always told myself that I would do things the exact opposite of the way that he did when it came to raising my own kids. I get that people tend to say this sweeping phrase in a reactionary way without thinking it through, but in my case, I can honestly say that I did, and that using my old man as a roadmap of the route not to take has served me well.
I've never forgotten the times my dad hurt me or let me down, and whenever I've been slammed at work and I'm too tired to play, or I want to just sit down in front of the TV, or when I've had a long day and I want to disappear into the office and shut the door, I remind myself of how it felt when my dad did those things to me and then I act accordingly. I act opposite.
Those few words from my son tonight, totally unsolicited and spontaneous, were the best gift he could have ever given me, and an unequivocal validation of the choices I make as a father. All the headaches, early mornings, late nights, messes to clean up and hard work I've put into being the best dad that I could be?
Speaking of Monster Hunter, I just wanted to briefly mention to those familiar with the game that my 9-year-old son only has two quests to complete and a couple of Urgents before he hits G-Rank.
I repeat, my 9-year-old is a hop, skip, and jump away from entering G-Rank. That may not mean much to those of you reading who haven't played the game, but for those of you that have… I think I just heard your mind being blown.
I'm so proud of his hard work and accomplishments, you don't even know.
(Oh, and in case you missed it, here's a link to my guest appearance on the Monster Hunter Podcast. My avatar isn't actually on camera all that much, but there are a few choice moments of conversation and our hunting group takes down some pretty big stuff.)
The mad auteur behind Deadly Premonition, Swery65, has updated his blog and has posted something rather interesting… Basically, he's explaining how the game creation process works and putting feelers out for a publisher at the same time.
(Scroll all the way down for the English-language version.)
Someone, anyone, give this guy some money. With a real budget and little more freedom than he had the last time, is there any question that he would turn out anything less than a work of pure genius?
Speaking of Swery65 and Deadly Premonition, fans of the game should absolutely click on over to Pioneer Project and see the amazing point-by-point comparison (pictures included) between the game and its spiritual predecessor, television series Twin Peaks.
It's absolutely stunning to see the parallels laid out, and will certainly add an extra layer of depth and appreciation to the unique relationship that exists between the work of David Lynch and Swery 65. If you're a fan of either, DO NOT MISS.
GamePro has a great article about Mass Effect and how Commander Shepard’s sexuality intertwines with player choice. It's written by sharp dude Scott Nichols, and is a must-read for anyone who cares about how relationships, sex and RPGs come together.
Oh damn, did I really just say that?
Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.
Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway