RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Board Games

Real Women of Gaming’s Top Things We’re Thankful For

top-things-were-thankful-for

Thanksgiving was days ago, yes, but the spirit of being thankful is still upon us. In this spirit, the Real Women of Gaming Staff has shared what they are thankful for this holiday season. Let us know in the comments below what you’re thankful for!

I am so thankful for the friends that I’ve made while embracing and celebrating all the things that I love and nerd out about. I’m finally living in a time where I can openly talk about my love for Dungeons & Dragons, gaming, fandoms (ALL THE FANDOMS). This has helped me to make some deep connections with friends that I was previously unable to make while hiding so much of myself. I am blessed that I have them all and all of the RWoG staff are true and dear friends to me. I love them all to bits. ~Crymson Pleasure~

I should start off by saying that I am grateful for many things, however one thing that has consistently made my world better is fandom. Some of my best friends have been made by “geeking out.” I joined this wonderful group because of a conversation that started with fandom. I truly am not sure if I would be alive if not for the friends that I have made because of fandoms. Fandom have been my shield, my safe space, a place to hone my talents, my mirror and my fun!

Always keep sparkling -Thia the Bard

I am thankful for my parents. Whatever my Dad could do for us, he did. He worked two jobs, moonlighting as a drummer in a wedding band while fixing vending machines during the day. My Mom, aside from the massive task of raising 3 boys and a girl, taught us how to play. Every board game we got we learned through her. All the classic parlor games, she taught us. When we got our first console…she kicked us off of it so she could play. She’s the reason I create, the reason I play games. I’m thankful for Mom and Dad. -MaxUrso

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working overtime to keep my guild running smoothly, ensure its stability, and maintain its growth. It’s left me stressed-out, exhausted, and unhappy. My in-game friends know me well enough to notice, and care enough about my wellbeing to intervene. In this ‘intervention,’ they insisted I take a break from raiding and offered to take over some of my duties as a guild officer. It’s given me the chance to recharge and catch up on some RL duties I’d been neglecting. I couldn’t be more grateful. I am so, so thankful that these people, people whose faces I’ve never seen with my own eyes, are looking out for me. -Solyria

I’m thankful for many things, including my husband, my friends, my family, and my health. More specifically, I’m thankful for my new, full-time job and the geeky friends I’m making there. It’s awesome to be working in an environment where coworkers tell me that I “rolled a 20” or got a “critical hit” on a piece of work, where people play D&D over lunch, and where we’ve set up biweekly board game nights after work. It certainly makes the daily grind that much more bearable, and sometimes even enjoyable. -Rinshi

Things I am thankful for…A steady D&D play group of fun friends to play with that make me laugh and enjoy the game. Being able to go out on Friday night and play Magic: the Gathering for a few hours with other friends and get stomped and do some stomping. Waiting on the news on when I will get my new Kitty Mango  -Fluffy the Necromancer

This year’s been a tough one. I’m thankful for the friends and family that were with me, and are still with me. The health of my family, and my son getting his GED. My job still being great, and my writing starting to get some notice out in the world. -Trever

I’m thankful for conventions. A lot of the time I feel like my world is very small. It’s easy to me to retreat to the familiar and I end up feeling like it’s impossible for me to meet new people and make new friends. Conventions get me out among awesome people who share my love of awesome things and I have made some great new friends going to them. -UC Booties

I am thankful for a roof over my head. It has been a rough year I think for everyone but personally it had gotten to a point where things were getting to the unknown. I am very thankful for my amazing husband who supports me in this endeavor of being a part of this group and my streaming career. I couldn’t do it without him. -KinkedNitemare-

I am thankful for video games, which make me happy even if some of them are as old as I am. Video games have evolved with technology and there is something to fit every person now. They help teach children, they help people focus. They provide escape from tough times, even if only for a little bit. VR is now helping people approach situations that are scary to help them get over their fears as much as it is entertaining.

Hearing the do-do-do-do of the dungeon song in Mario makes me smile, every time. Seeing the old games from Atari and SNES brings me back to a childhood where video games were primitive but oh so thrilling. My family used to gather around to play… or watch my dad play Dig Dug for the millionth time. Even now, my family gathers to play. Separately, hubby has his World of Tanks. My 62 year old Mom, has her World of Warcraft, played religiously. My brother, the traitor with the PS4. The XBox One is all mine. But together, we have Mario Kart. We have board games like Monopoly made into video games (no banker cheating, yay!), among others.

So I am thankful for video games, without which my life would have gone on, but would have been a great deal more boring for it. -Chritter

There ya have it, folks! What are you thankful for?

Do Tabletop Games Reflect the Same Gender Bias as Video Games?

Posted on
unnamed

A playable character from the game Boss Monster

My brother and I have always loved games.  When we were young children, we used to put all of our board games together, forming one mega-board game that stretched across our family room.  When we were older, we discovered Magic: The Gathering, and the Pokemon trading card game.  My brother spent many weeks worth of allowances at the local hobby card shop.  I rarely did.  Even as I kid, I hated to part with money. Every now and then, he would participate in store-run tournaments.  I didn’t.  I didn’t think I was good enough, and interacting with the adult men who often played in them made me uncomfortable.

 

Anita Sarkeesian and the Gamergaters have brought sexism in video games to the forefront of public consciousness.  But what about tabletop games?  Both families of games have been pillars of nerd culture for decades.  They both shape the culture and are shaped by it, and this cross-pollination can make their influences very difficult to separate.  However, while the misogyny that pervades the video game industry often infects the tabletop world, it is less entrenched, and, as I argue, less insidious.

To understand why, we need to first look at the differences between the two media.  Tabletop gaming has been around in some form since before there were tables.  Ancient civilizations played with dice, cards, and boards.  Modern board games like Monopoly date to the early twentieth century.  Conversely, the technology that allows video games to exist has only been around for a few decades.  Video games started out being marketed to a diverse audience, but without thousands of years of history saying otherwise, it was relatively easy for advertisers in the 1980s and 90s to create the narrative that video games were always meant for boys and young men.

Historians now blame the great video game crash of 1983 on the ubiquity of low-quality games in the late 70s and early 80s, which lead to the loss of consumer confidence.  However, regardless of the crash’s actual cause, video game marketers in the 80s scrambled to reinvent their product, to portray it as something they could sell.  Their analytics showed them that more boys than girls were playing games, so the advertisers ran with it: they doubled down on selling video games to that particular demographic, hoping that targeted messaging would lead to better sales.  The strategy worked.  The gaming industry slowly began to recover from the crash, but there was a dark side to the recovery.

When corporations began marketing video games exclusively for boys, it lead developers to design games specifically to appeal to straight, male, and generally white players.  More and more games portrayed male power-fantasies.  Female characters were scarce, and tended not to be playable.  After all, why should developers bother with female playable characters if only males play video games?  Of the few women who did appear in the games of the 80s and 90s, the majority were either damsels to be rescued, background decorations designed for sex appeal, or some combination of both.

The unfortunate result is an entire generation of men who grew up never knowing a world where they weren’t at the center of video gaming.  An entirely new medium for storytelling grew up around them, becoming more and more mainstream, and the only stories being told were about them.  Stories are everything.  They are the basis for our personal and cultural identities.  It’s not surprising that those aggressively gendered games at least perpetuated a deeply misogynistic gaming culture.  We’re still struggling with this culture today.  Game companies created games that catered to male players, who went on to become developers who created more sexist games and hired people like themselves.

While tabletop games exhibit the same sorts of sexist tropes that proliferate across all media, they simply don’t have the same history of ingrained sexism that video games do.  It’s hard to imagine Milton Bradley suddenly deciding that Monopoly is for boys only and covering the game board with scantily clad women.  Board games have existed relatively unchanged for millennia.  Gendered board games do exist, of course, resulting from the same kind of targeted marketing that affected video games.  The difference is that the medium itself is not gendered, despite what The Big Bang Theory has to say about Dungeons and Dragons.

I believe there is another reason that sexism in video games is more pernicious than it is in tabletop games.  Tabletop games can certainly be sexist; in fact, nearly every sexist trope can be found in one MtG card art alone (I’m looking at you ‘evil demon seductress’ and ‘why’s the girl always got to play the cleric?’).  The same tropes can be found everywhere we tell stories, from books to movies to television and beyond.  What is it about video games that makes their sexist tropes so problematic?

The answer is found in the very nature of the medium.  Modern video games, with their high-res graphic and real time decision making are quite possibly the most immersive form of storytelling humanity has invented.  The written word can come close.  Books let readers see through characters’ eyes and experience their thoughts, but they are not interactive.  They don’t allow their audience to step into the characters’ shoes in the same way that games do.

Furthermore, games do something that no other medium can: they incentivize particular behaviors.  Gaming can work a lot like a chemical addiction. Taking an addictive drug or getting an achievement in a game can both cause the brain’s reward pathways to activate.  The brain then reprograms itself to repeat that outcome, resulting in a behavioral shift.  So, when video games incentivize, for example, violence against women, there is a real risk of players’ brains physically changing in ways that could result in violent behavior in the real world.  While all games have mechanics that could incentivize certain behaviors, video games are particularly worrisome because of their immersive nature and the misogynistic history of video game culture.  While paper and pencil RPGs also have mechanics, and are also very immersive, the difference is that when the game is unlinked from graphics and technology, the stories are more open ended, games are more adaptable, and customization options are nearly infinite.  Ultimately, with TTRPGs, the players, not the gaming companies, control the content.  An individual campaign may be sexist, but the medium of tabletop roleplaying does not, itself, encourage sexism.

Both the video- and tabletop-gaming industries have a lot of work to do when it comes to combating sexism.  The in-person nature of tabletop gaming competitions can unintentionally exclude women who would prefer to cloak their identity behind a digital avatar.  Sexist comments can be found in the chat-channels of even the safest of online gaming spaces.  Writers and developers can help by consciously hiring diverse employees and writing three-dimensional characters of all genders and backgrounds.  The rest of us can help by looking critically at the games we play, and inviting our female friends and family members to play with us.  It will be a difficult journey, especially where video games are concerned, but the view from the top will have been worth it.

 

References:

http://www.themarysue.com/sexism-at-magic-tournament/

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/bossmonster/images/c/c0/BMA006_Seducia.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130211012442

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1154384/sexism-industry

http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/12/2/5143856/no-girls-allowed

Crash Course Games: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPqR2wOs8WI&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtPTrc_yg73RghJEOdobAplG

Feminist Frequency: https://feministfrequency.com/

Indie Developer Spotlight: Beneath Nexus

Posted on
Indie Developer Spotlight: Beneath Nexus

by Michael Wells

Disclosure: I am a backer of Beneath Nexus on Kickstarter. Also, while I have not worked on this specific project, I have been in discussion with Silverclutch Games to provide writing for a future project.

Silverclutch company logo

It’s time for another developer spotlight! This time around we’re talking about Silverclutch games about their upcoming release Beneath Nexus. We had a chance to talk to Tom and Chris from Silverclutch at Too Many Games in Oaks, PA (check out our convention impressions here and here) and now we’re pleased to feature them and their project on our site.

The Project:

Beneath Nexus game logo

From their website:

Beneath Nexus is a dungeon crawling card game for 4 to 6 players. Discover powerful treasures and unlock forgotten secrets in your quest to reclaim the city of Nexus. The Heroes combine their unique skills and powers to overcome the trials of The Blight Lord who uses fiendish monsters and dark magicks to destroy all who delve Beneath Nexus.

Beneath Nexus is a tabletop card game that offers an exciting roleplaying experience in a quickplay format. It is inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop RPGs and aims to recreate the feel of those games using predetermined heroes with decks of unique abilities. One player takes on the traditional GM role and plays the Blight Lord, a boss character for the other players to take on. To do so, the other players choose heroes that are drawn from traditional role-playing class archetypes and must strategize how best to use their complimentary abilities to overcome the monsters and spells that the Blight Lord arrays against them.

Beneath Nexus is currently up on Kickstarter and has nearly reached 75% of their goal at time of this writing. Take a look and consider backing this exciting project.

Developer Interview:

I sent a few questions to Silverclutch Games and Chris took some time away from their Kickstarter and Convention schedule to respond.

What made you want to get into game development?

Tom and I have both played games since early childhood. Tom developed his passion for gaming when he was introduced to Magic: the Gathering in the 3rd grade. I played the classics with my father, and he was relentless. Instead of a healthy hobby, my passion for gaming lies more so in my hunger for revenge against my dad for absolutely decimating my brother and me for years in Risk, Stratego, Checkers, and Uno. We began gaming together when Tom joined my Pathfinder RPG group when we were in college. Both of us have always been curious about how games work and have been ready to criticize any game that comes our way. We ended up making games because we knew what we wanted to play and wanted to share those ideas with our friends.
How did Silverclutch Games get started?
Silverclutch Games is a product of my desire to own my own business and Tom’s desire to create awesome games. Tom was developing an introductory dungeon crawler for a handful of months when I approached him with the idea to start our own game design business. That was June of 2015. We incorporated in August, 2015, with the plan to create accessible, easy to learn games that engage the hobbyist gamer.

 

What were your inspirations for Beneath Nexus?
Tom and I are huge fans of D&D, Dungeonworld, etc. We play roleplaying games regularly, but many of our friends can’t be bothered with the hefty rulebook and long playtimes. That bums us out! Beneath Nexus was created so that new players and casual gamers can get a taste of the fantasy adventure genre without having to do homework in the meantime.
What about Beneath Nexus is most interesting/exciting to you as a designer?
We tried a lot of different things, mechanically, with Beneath Nexus. We wanted it to be easy to learn, quick to play, and interesting for both hobbyists and newbies, so we had to experiment with a bunch of different ideas. What excited me most about the process was translating player feedback into mechanical changes. A lot of hobbyists tested the game, so their comments were very direct and specific. The casual gamers that had much more general feedback were the most fun for me because the playtesting notes became a puzzle of vague notions after a few play throughs. Tom seemed most excited by the balance of the asymmetry of the game. Making sure the Blight Lord wasn’t too weak or too strong was a huge task when we incorporated it. Tom dug into it immediately and really shined there.
Hero- Lunja
I had the chance to play two games of Beneath Nexus at Too Many Games and was very impressed by how polished and balanced the game is. A great deal of obvious care went into the design of the heroes, their abilities, and the ways that they interact with each other. Using the whole party’s abilities in just the right way to overcome a challenge feels a bit like the moment in Magic: The Gathering when the cards in your deck line up and play just right for that devastating combo. Meanwhile, the Blight Lord’s abilities and Monsters keep players on their toes and can easily punish careless or reckless play. The game looks like it is rewarding for players on either side of the table.
The game is already available in a print and play format if you want to give it a go. I can’t wait for the physical game to be released. For more information about the game and Silverclutch Games, check out the Beneath Nexus Kickstarter and their website.

My Experience at Too Many Games

toomanygames-logo-642x336

One month ago marked the beginning of Too Many Games and the first time I’ve attended it. Now, I am excited to tell you all about my first experience there. Of course, I was nervous. Not only was this my first time at this particular con but this is also my first time at any convention as press.

Too Many Games was held in the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, and ran from Friday, June 24th to Sunday, June 26th. I’d never been to the Expo center and it’s almost a hidden secret, but all I had to do was follow the traffic and I found it fairly easily.

Immediately upon entering, I was greeted by the friendliest con staff that I’d ever met. Ushering me to where I needed to get my badge and then into the gaming room.

This was a magical room. Filled with TV’s, chairs and arcade games, nearly wall to wall. It was a thing of beauty. I saw Nintendo, Super Nintendo, GameCube, Sega and so many more systems hooked up. There were flickering screens with childhood titles inviting me to sit down and relive so many memories.

Of course, I stopped to play a few games, but what caught my interest were the music games towards the back, located just before the entrance to the tournament area of the gaming room. If music met whack-a-mole, this is what you’d have and I loved every second of it. There were several of these, most names I had never heard of and, of course, DDR was there in at least two different spaces.

This was a gamer mecca that I was proud to be a part of. From the sounds of the games to the hum of chatter to the rotating DJ’s in the corner, the noise was a choir of all the things I loved. At the same time, though, nothing was so loud you couldn’t have a conversation. I adored the adorable handheld lounge off to the side, furnished by Yogibo, where players were invited to sit and game in absolute comfort. I knew I’d never get up again if I sat down. I also loved that Save Point was there to fix any games as they malfunctioned or broke. I noticed that some didn’t last the whole weekend, but I knew they were being played constantly since I walked in on Friday.

Next to the game room was the concert hall, complete with stage, chairs, awesome lighting and a tech booth. Several bands played, along with a few DJ’s. They all sounded amazing, but I didn’t stop in for more than a moment at a time. There was so much to see and a lot of people to talk to.

I spent the majority of my time on the merchant floor, which was large and lead into the guest booths, developers area and gaming tables. I didn’t spend a lot of time at the gaming tables, but I did chat with the people running it, Sunmesa Events. I had never stopped in a gaming area at a con, so this was new to me. I love the concept. You pick a game, drop your ID with them and go play. It’s an awesome concept I wish I saw at more places. There were a few games I knew and so many I’d never heard of. I am still sad I didn’t get a chance to play the huge Settlers of Catan they had set up, but alas, I had a job to do. Sunmesa Events also handled all the non-video game tournaments, such as Magic: The Gathering, Love Letter and more.

The vendors were abundant and so very, very tempting. The treasures that I would have bought if I had the money… I’d have room for nothing else. I was interested to see so many of the vendors were selling old school videos games. Of course, this wasn’t shocking, but I am used to seeing one or two at a convention. This being my first gaming convention, though, I was floored. Not only was it beautiful, but it was also inspiring.

I also saw an array of board games. There were some vendors who had the typical or ‘traditional’ board games for sale, but I, of course, ooohed and ahhhed over the new school of board games and names I’d never seen before. The vendor array was simply incredible. I enjoyed each and every table. If I had the time to have talked to every vendor there, I would have, but alas, I did not.

So let’s talk about where I spent the majority of my time: the developers floor. I loved every minute of it. So let me tell you about all the new friends we made there!

Read the rest of this entry

Indie Developer Spotlight: Rise of the Robotariat

Written by: Julie from Eye4Games

Rise of the Robotariat launched at the end of June on Kickstarter. Its campaign ends July 22.

About the game
Rise of the Robotariat is a board game for 3-5 players that can be played as fully-cooperative or mostly-cooperative. You take on the role of one of eight unique robot revolutionaries and work together with other players to overthrow the humans who have oppressed you for too long.

In order to win, you must raise enough funds to launch a successful revolution — and do it within six rounds, otherwise the humans catch on and stamp it out.

During the game, you move between and activate city locations. At each location, you can do a different thing, for example, draw and play Upgrade and Sabotage cards, place propaganda posters, or influence the movement of Non-Player Characters.

RiseCharacters

There are two kinds of Non-Player Characters (NPCs) moving around the board. These are either helpful Civilian Robots, who will donate to the revolution, or dangerous Human Oppressors, who will fine you and tear down your posters. At the end of each player’s turn, they roll dice to determine where the Civilian Robots and Human Oppressors will move next. Their path is mostly predictable but not guaranteed. The game’s intensity ramps up as the game goes on and more NPCs enter the board

A lot of the game’s strategy revolves around setting up turns where the Civilian Robots will give big benefits while mitigating the effectiveness of the Human Oppressors when the NPC dice are rolled.

You have one other thing to manage as well: the revolution’s reputation. You start the game with a certain amount of collective Reputation. You can chose to spend it to take bolder acts of sabotage and you will lose some if humans catch you conspiring too blatantly. But if Reputation ever drops to zero, robots lose all faith in the revolution and you lose the game.

If you decide you want an extra challenge or if someone is telling everyone else how to play, you can add in Secret Objective cards for a mostly-cooperative game. In this version each player is striving to achieve a unique goal. This usually involves making the revolution happen in the way that makes you look the most heroic.

The inspiration
Rise of the Robotariat started with a mechanic that no longer exists in the game. One of our game designers had an idea that sounded to a lot like upgrading robots and that lead to the flavor that players are members of the robot rebellion. After a disappointing playtesting, we scrapped the original gameplay idea, but the story it inspired shaped the development of new mechanics.

This is one of the exciting aspects of Rise of the Robotariat: all of the gameplay is grounded in the flavor and the story is infused throughout. For a small example, we have a character named Alice who looks human, but is certain she’s just a very cleverly disguised robot. Because of her appearance, she has more influence with humans and her character’s ability gives her the greatest control over the movement of Human Oppressor NPCs.

RiseBoard

We’ve made a point to have the flavor color the rulebook, and the art for many of the characters references Soviet-era propaganda posters or revolutionary paintings. The predominant use of red in the games’ color scheme also is to invoke that revolutionary vibe.

As a cool extra, our writer has been writing on-going tales about the characters’ backstories leading up to the start of the game. We’re collecting them into a book and you can read them in blog-post form online here.

When’s it out?
The way to get the game is to back the game on Kickstarter. At the end of June, we launched a campaign for Rise of the Robotariat that runs until July 22nd. If we’re successful, we’ll be able to afford a print run and the game will be out by January 2017.

Three Years and Counting

Three Years and Counting

Today marks the third anniversary of the formation of Real Women of Gaming!

Real Women of Gaming started in 2013 as a group of women who were tired of being called “Fake Gamer Girls.” We pulled together in an attempt to fight the “Fake Gamer Girl” stereotype by telling the world that we’re real gaming women.

1002109_290118951132975_1974489871_n

Our First Profile Picture

At first, we started out by forming a Facebook page and posting funny memes on it. From there, we decided we wanted to blog about our experiences, and thus this website was born. After that, we ventured into Tumblr and Twitter, eventually landing ourselves on Instagram, Twitch and, finally, YouTube.

Today, Real Women of Gaming is made up of women and men who have helped to foster the amazing community we have today. Our content writers, content creators, mods, admins and friends come from all walks of life, helping us to create something so much bigger than ourselves as individuals.

This sense of community led us to creating our anti-bullying campaign, You’re Not Alone, two years ago, in an effort to raise awareness for bullied children. Just yesterday, July 9th, we held our second annual You’re Not Alone Anti-bullying Fundraiser at Uncanny! Comics in the King of Prussia Mall. We raised our goal of $500, which will be sent, in full, to STOMP Out Bullying. We couldn’t have done that without you.

192997_291486024329601_659782466_o

Our First Customized Facebook Banner

As someone who’s been in it since the beginning, let me just say… what a ride this has been so far. From writing my first blog post to casting my first live stream on Twitch to uploading my first YouTube Let’s Play, I have been in awe of the amount of camaraderie and love that is provided within this community.

And not just from the staff! Though, yes, Crymson Pleasure and ColdShoulderAvenue are two of my best friends in this world, the amount of love we have received from you guys, our internet friends, is astonishing.

Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Thank you.

We love you.

1962608_447362145408654_1185967640_n

Parenting in a Gaming and Technological World

TT_NotTheFandom

Before we jump down this rabbit hole I’d like you to say a word in your head.  It’s a simple word, but not always an easy one, especially when it comes to our kids.  Just say it with me, “No.”

When I grew up, my parents weren’t gamers, though they did play some video games with us kids.  They found a few games they liked, but overall it wasn’t their primary hobby.  I’ve been a parent for almost eighteen years now, and have been a gamer much longer.  My son’s been a gamer since he was old enough to hold a controller.  Despite the difference between my hobbies, and my parents’, there’s one commonality, we parent.  There are different challenges I’m sure, but I’ve always been a gamer so I can only imagine what it was like for my folks, before the internet, before PC gaming, and before cable was really a household staple.  Now we have a plethora of digital media that kids can access literally at their fingertips, but despite it all we still parent.  Say it with me, “No.”

I’m reminded of a conversation I had on Twitter, with an anti-porn advocate that thinks porn should be banned…on the internet…good luck, buddy.  Anyway, this guy was going on about how kids can access porn all the time; smart phones, tablets, laptops, just porn all the time.  But I mentioned that parents have a responsibility to make sure their children understand what’s acceptable, to explain sex and porn, and to monitor their habits.  To this guy, that wasn’t enough, but why not?  Are parents powerless to monitor their child’s online habits?  Of course now you’re saying, “Hey, the title says Gaming!”.  Yes, I’m getting there, but honestly to me the challenges here are the same, as are the responsibilities.  You know the word you should be saying, say it again, “No.”

Children cannot get a cell phone, computer, laptop, tablet, or gaming console without a parent to give them money, sign contracts, and give permission.  Of course once they have these, getting access to websites, games, chat rooms, and social media is easier, but we parents still have tools like parental controls, and our own eyes.  We have to take a bit of responsibility upon ourselves to look at ratings, chat logs, browser history, and take the time to be involved.  Talk to our kids about what’s going on, see what they’re doing from time to time, and even when they get upset that we’re ‘invading their privacy’ we have to remind them that as parents, that’s our job.  It sucks sometimes, but it’s what we do.  Say it again, Sam. “No.”

As an example, my son didn’t get a cell phone until just recently and he’ll be eighteen this year.  I didn’t need one as a kid, he didn’t need one either.  As soon as he got old enough to be going places on his own, and soon start looking for work, then we got him one.  The same sort of responsibility goes into monitoring gaming habits.  He doesn’t buy a game without asking, and he didn’t get Grand Theft Auto, no matter how many times he asked, until I thought he was old enough to play it.  I said, “No.”

That’s the hardest part for gamers, I think.  We love games, and we love when our kids love games.  Sometimes we have to be conscious of when games are acceptable for us, but not for our kids.  We look at other gamers and rarely consider things like age, we are all just gamers, but when they’re our kids we have to consider that.  I didn’t have that trouble with GTA – I don’t own it, never will, it’s just not my thing – but I can understand wanting to share a game we love with our kids.  We want to play online with them, and share our interests, so it’s easy to overlook things like ratings.  We have to be able to say it, “No.”

A lot of parents lament at the options available to kids, but we have to be the gatekeepers for all of that content.  I imagine it’s more difficult than it was for our parents, but we don’t really know any different, we weren’t parents then.  It’s the world we live in, and we have to try to balance our own love for gaming, and the culture around it, with raising our kids in that world.  Help them understand the difference between the online world and the real one.  Teach them how to interact with people face to face, as well as the value of dealing with people online like they’re other people.  Explain how there are ugly places in the world, dark ideas, uncomfortable themes in games, all that exist for a reason and why they are ugly, dark, and uncomfortable.  Most of all we need to say…you guessed it, “No.”

It doesn’t have to be all negative though.  There are tons of games out there to play with your kids, and ways to parent through gaming.  Learning games, puzzle games, adventure games that you can co-op with them.  Spend time with them and share your love of the hobby.  Incorporate family time into fun party games, racing games and sports games.  It’s a great way to have time with your family and share something we all love.  This is the greatest part of being a parent in a gaming world, but we always have a responsibility, and we have to be able to say, “No.”