Insert Coin Here: Why Parents Should Play Arcade Games With Their Kids
You can still remember being a kid, walking around the arcade, the pocket of your pants filled to the brim with coins, the festive lights, the beeping of electronic sounds mixed with kids' voices.
Tetris. Pac-Man. Donkey Kong. These are not just classic arcade games. These are treasures from your past, evoking memories of fun with friends and family. Such experiences are part and parcel of your identity as a gamer and as a person.
If you are looking for a fun activity for you and your own young ones today, why not bond over playing games as well?
How to play video games with your kids
You? Play video games with your kids?
Before you say anything, just think about it. For most children today, their lives have become invariably tied to electronics, from the TV to the laptop computer to their phones. Plus, among most youngsters, video games are their introduction to the world of computing. Gaming is a popular activity for them, so joining them can be a great opportunity to spend quality time.
When you look at it that way, it all makes sense. If you haven't played video games with your kids before or if you haven't played any game in a long time, here are a few tips to make the experience more enjoyable for you and your young ones.
●Let them take the lead
Above everything else, you play games for fun. And when it comes to fun, you have in-house experts — your young ones. This time, let them pick the game that you’ll play.
If there is one caveat that you should bear in mind, that would be prohibiting games that are not age-appropriate. Everything else is fair game. Check the game ratings and online reviews to help you make the final decision.
●Learn the ropes
Whether you are playing on a game console, in an arcade, or in a Dubai VR park, the next thing that you need to do is to learn how to play the game that has been chosen.
If you haven't played video games in a long while, it may take a few tries before you get the hang of things, especially when it comes to using the controllers and mastering basic movements and actions.
To some extent, there lies the fun — in the reversal of roles, with the child teaching the parent about today’s video games. This is an excellent opportunity for you and your children.
For your kids, this is their chance to show you something they are good at (while giving you some good drubbing). And on the other hand, playing video games (and losing a few matches along the way) provides an excellent opportunity for you to teach your kids about humility and sportsmanship.
Once you get the hang of things, you can then immerse yourself in the actual gameplay and storyline.
Outside of gameplay, you can use the games as conversation starters and, eventually, as a jump-off point for more in-depth talks about your kids and experiences. And at the same time, you can nourish your children's imagination and curiosity toward the positive aspects of the games you play away from parts of the content geared for more mature audiences.
If you have older kids, you can use game storylines to explain more complicated matters in a more accessible manner.
●Lay down the rules
Just because there's a new gamer in the house (you) does not mean that it's a free-for-all for the young residents when it comes to playing video games.
Early on, you should lay down the rules, especially when it comes to allocating time for household tasks and schoolwork. And the best way to do that is to set an example.
Play with your kids, but set rules on how much time they can play. This underscores the value of finding the balance between play and performing responsibilities.
Making a case for retro arcade games
After your kids have had their pick of games to play, it's only fair to give yourself a chance to pick which ones to play next.
Enter retro arcade games. Yes, the same games that you used to play when you were young.
Why go retro?
●You'll be spoiled for choices
Go to a retro arcade and you and the whole family can play practically any game. That's because most older games have a timeless appeal.
But perhaps more importantly, these games can be played by almost anyone. As a parent, you know that you do not have to worry about whether the game has graphic or violent content.
●The whole gang will enjoy
Retro games are an experience unto themselves. You can explain the mechanics, watch video games, or go through a gamut of verbal gymnastics outlining the gameplay of a particular game you played in your youth. But the best way to experience a retro game is simply to play it.
Here, you can turn the tables around and beat your kids at the games you mastered when you were young. But watch out, kids these days have an uncanny ability to quickly master games they just played.
●Your kids will get to sneak a peek into your past
You've seen your favorite games and characters repackaged, remixed, retro-ed. Why? Beyond nostalgia, these games have a timeless appeal that words cannot adequately describe.
And how can you describe those afternoons spent with your gang, huddled and hunched together in front of a bright screen, fingers busily pressing buttons?
In a brief moment, you can share with your kids those memories and form new ones that you will all treasure.
What to play
With more and more titles coming back to arcades, finding which game to try out has never been easier.
●Pac-Man is an instantly recognizable icon — a large chomping mouth, glowing dots, fruits, a maze, and ghosts. Sounds easy, right? Let your kids give it a go.
●If your kids have played an iteration of Mario Kart, they'll probably recognize Donkey Kong and Mario. Jump through barrels as you discuss the history of these video game characters.
●Tetris. Stack bricks of varying shapes. Simple enough? Walk down memory lane and tell your kids how you spent countless hours with your friends (and countless stacks of coins) trying to outdo one another.
●Fan of Kung-fu? You've probably played the granddaddy of co-op games: Double Dragon. While the game may pale in comparison to that of the latest co-op games, it was a game-changer turned into a classic that you and your family will enjoy.
Insert coin here
Why play with retro games with your kids? Frankly, there's no other reason but to share fun, not to mention to enjoy reliving old memories and making new ones.