It never really struck me as odd— my papaw and I playing SNES together, we were just two people enjoying Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Kart. Now I realize how fortunate I was to get a chance to game with not one, but eventually both of my grandparents.
I don’t have many singular memories that I can pick out pertaining to gaming with my papaw, except one particularly strong memory, but it involves sneezing…so I will spare you the details. What I do remember is that even though gaming wasn’t one of his main hobbies, he enjoyed sitting down with my sister and I to play some Mario, and we really enjoyed playing Mario with him. Although he was in his eighties and he didn’t grow up with video games he had a lot of fun playing them. I assume he must have bought the SNES but I have no idea how he convinced my mamaw. As far as I know she had no interest in video games or most new technology at the time, and I can’t recall a time she ever picked up a controller and played some Mario with us.
With the introduction of the Wii and Wii Sports, I saw the first opportunity in years to get my mother and my mamaw to play video games. Once we got past the creation of their Miis, as well as the hesitation and resistance towards playing a video game my sister and I started a game of bowling. Bowling on the Wii soon became a tradition. Every time my mamaw would come over for a special occasion and after we ate a meal we would all bowl together. Not only did my mom and mamaw both really enjoy bowling on the Wii, becoming quite competitive at times, it also afforded them the opportunity to engage in an activity neither of them had for quite some time due to its physical demands.
The fun I had gaming with my papaw and mamaw is something that I will hold on to and cherish. It’s a reminder that once we hit a certain age we don’t have to stop gaming, and how special gaming with people you care for can be.