Wednesday, December 26

2nd Day of Christmas: Video Games & Laser Tag

This morning, after a family calendaring meeting (you know your family is massive when you have to hold formal planning meetings...), and a few hours of teaching my brother's girlfriend's family about essential oils (that's a mouthful), I grabbed one of my siblings to get them to play a video game with me. My little sister's response was epic. "But I'm not a boy!"

After a some laughing and a bit of persuasion on my part, she acquiesced. A few rounds of Bomberman and two levels of Sonic the Hedgehog later, I offered to teach her how to play Eternal Sonata.

My 10-year-old brother walked in, and I added him to the team, then spent the next little while bringing them up to speed. The game is pretty intense - 4-second turn timers, fast-response button presses with big consequences, lots of things going on at the same time, and more controller dexterity required than in most games. My sister had never held a Playstation controller. And since this is the second play through, everything is about 50% harder than even normal.

As soon as I had explained/walked them through the basics, a friend messaged me with a request for help. I couldn't really pause the game... so I handed my controller to my 10-year-old brother and watched as he and my 12-year-old sister played... and was frankly amazed. They were pretty good.

Now, some background. When I was younger, my siblings would use their allotted time for games watching me play. Really. They were content, somehow, at sitting next to me and watching the game unfold. And this was before the days of multitasking with a smartphone at the same time. Then, when they weren't watching, sometimes they'd come to me during a major battle or whatever and say, "David, can you help me with this? Can you get past this part?" They even went so far as to implore our parents to let me play a few extra minutes over my allowance because they needed me. I was the go-to guy.

So relinquishing a controller to my 10-year-old brother, or even letting him guide overland navigation, was a big thing for me. But it was a good experience... and something in me realizes that I missed a whole lot of teaching moments every time I took the controller / keyboard that was offered to me in the past. The goal isn't beating the game - it's developing people and relationships.

I felt even more vindicated when my brother recounted his day at the dinner table. "And then we played a game with David, and he taught us how to play, and we were awesome."

After dinner, we made the pilgrimage to Seven Peaks / Trafalga in Lehi. My family loves laser tag enough that they have season passes... even though they live in Chicago. Really. My 10-year-old brother's words, "I am going to totally dominate in laser tag." My response: "I don't know... I'm pretty good." "Well, then maybe you'll be on my team. And you can help me dominate."

So cute. Just don't let him corner you in a laser tag arena. ;)

We did dominate. My family was on its own team each round, and we won every round we played. And relished beating groups of college-age guys. Grandpa was a military sharpshooter, and we must have gotten some of those genes.

Laser tag is one of the things that makes me totally forget about life and enter flow in the game. It's amazing.

And this is one of the reasons I love Christmas.

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