Some weeks ago I floated an idea that I’ve had on hold for a while: that of Family Game Night, one night a week where we get to take turns choosing games and all play together. Somewhat to my surprise, the response was immediately and universally in favor. I should have foreseen that, actually, for while I was thinking of board games, the boys naturally thought of their favorite computer games. They’ve loved the rare family gaming sessions we’ve had in the past, so much so that for Nathan’s birthday, our special treat for him was that we all played Minecraft together.
For Nathan’s and Ryan’s first turns, they both chose Garry’s Mod, a sandbox game I’d previously resisted installing on my computer. They took great delight in introducing me to some of its features and displaying their far superior skills. For my turn, I chose to open up a great big box we’ve had in the garage for years labeled “Games and Puzzles” and search through it to see what we’ve been missing. We ended up doing two jigsaw puzzles from my childhood together, and finished the evening by playing musical instruments together and then dancing to the Hamster Dance song.
Dave’s turn consisted of setting us up in a Minecraft world, in Survival mode, and trying to play as a team. This was actually a very fun kind of family bonding, where we had to work with the inclinations and limitations of each family member. Ryan, for example, would volunteer for/be tasked with gathering wood — but a quick glance at his screen a few minutes later would find him chasing down sheep. Dave preferred the methodical work of mining, while I liked working on building up our above-ground resources, and Nathan eventually added four more stories to our house.
We’ll see how things progress going forward. Personally I’d just as soon skip the Garry’s Mod — the motion of it makes me a little sick — but the deal is that we all play, even when the game isn’t what we’d prefer.