Video Games in Quarantine


We have tried to avoid allowing Max to use tablets, computers, or video games. Ashley and I were in agreement from the start: we did not like the idea of Max spending his time playing on a tablet or playing video games. We eventually made concessions for long trips (whether it be for car rides or air travel). Then came kindergarten, where use of tablets and computers became semi-frequent as our public school system adopted this technology for testing. It irked me, but I was not going to move Max to a new school over it.

Then came the quarantine. Max has been doing some work via Khan Academy on an iPad. We now have frequent FaceTime calls with friends and family. We also started to allow for more video game play, using our Sony PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. I was hesitant at first, but a friend of mine who does play video games with his kids talked about how he used that time as bonding him with his kids. I started to understand that if you’re playing with them, it can be a good connection or activity to do together.

Max has become enamored with Sonic the Hedgehog. It has been many years since I lost my Sega Genesis, but I wanted Max to see the first Sonic game. Fortunately, Sega has published a version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Nintendo Switch. He enjoyed watching me play the original (much of our video game time is Max watching me play; I have tried to get him to play instead, but he will only play certain games). Then, we found my Sega Dreamcast along with my copy of Sonic Adventure. He pleaded with me to play.

My Dreamcast somehow still works. I have to place a heavy object on top of the CD-ROM lid to keep the lid closed so the system will read the disc and I have to set the date/time every time we power it on (I am assuming the the clock battery is dead), but the system still plays fine. It took some time to get reacquainted with the controls, but they are quite finicky compared to controllers from consoles of today. The graphics are not as appealing on an HDTV as they once were on my old CRT TV, but after a few days I adjusted.

Sonic Adventure can be a very frustrating game. If I did not have a copy of the strategy guide and online guides, I am not sure I would have been able to complete Sonic’s story. The controls, especially the joystick, can be quite unforgiving at times.

After completing Sonic’s story, we started on Tails’s story, but we didn’t get very far; Max had moved on to wanting to play other games. I am happy that we played the game together. It makes me happy to have these shared experiences and memories with him.