A Dad And His Kids Happily Play Video Games Together. They Have To.

A Dad And His Kids Happily Play Video Games Together. They Have To.

This is an image of a happy family; a father and his two adorable children bonding over a video game. It’s a stock photo, of course. Their excitement is fake, their game controllers disconnected. It’s cheap theatre, but I have to believe that somewhere in the country a genuine version of this scene is playing out — I am tired of tales of domestic gaming tragedy.

I’ll call them the Andersons. The dad’s name is Derrick. He works a third level support job at a prominent tech company. It’s Saturday afternoon, the day before Easter, and he’s watching the children while his wife — Stephanie — fills straw baskets with coloured plastic grass and fanciful things containing marshmallow and chocolate.

Nicholas and Audrey — those are his children — are engaged in one of Nintendo’s Mario Party games. The PlayStation controllers aren’t plugged into anything, so they might as well not be plugged into a Gamecube. Derrick would rather be getting in some Battlefield 4 on the imaginary Xbox with his slim, attractive coworkers, but Nick and Drey’s laughter is too infectious. Grabbing a third PlayStation controller, he scoots in between the two and starts to play.

Such a well-adjusted, loving family, sharing and fostering each other’s interests. That kind of behaviour will likely never score them a prominent story on the evening news, but they don’t care about such things. They have got Derrick and Nicholas and Audrey and Stephanie.

And I’ve got them — at least this perfectly posed portrait of them — to inspire me. My children are too young (and male) to be Nicholas and Audrey, but one day we’ll get there. Our room won’t be pure white, and our game controllers won’t be fake, but we’ll laugh and play and revel in our own company. We’re a family.

So when my young children fight or scream, interrupting whatever I might be working on, I’ll think of the Andersons, working out their problems peacefully in their crisp, spring-fresh outfits. And when the stress of work and finances and society in general drive me to the point where I just want to hide away from the world, I’ll follow the example of Derrick, embracing the fact that his life was no longer about only him the moment Nicholas (he’s older by a year) was born.

And when I read the umpteenth story about a father allegedly murdering his infant child because he was busy playing video games, I’ll remember the countless Anderson households around the world, finding comfort in their inconspicuous ideal.

Photo via Denis Nata / Shutterstock


  • Of course that picture is fake, since when do playstations have more than 2 controller ports?

    • Legends tell of a device called a multi tab. So powerful was its magic that it could supposedly make the play station accept more then 2 controllers. But I nor anyone has ever seen this great power and it widely regarded as myth, made up to inspire hope in those who had to sit on the sidelines while the other two players had their fun.

      • I quested once to the mighty Boo-Teek of Elek-troniks whence I was a lad and fought off the Sayles of Pehrsun to obtain one of these! I was victorious in my efforts! We left that day, our arms swathed in plentiful treasures of the Taps-of-multi, for they were a rare item, but useful when one wanted to traverse the perils of Fifa…

  • I play first person co-ops with my eldest son. It adds a certain something as you try and keep your kid alive while they are busy shooting random things in the environment and throwing grenades at there own face. Sometimes for a real challenge I give control of my shooting button to my easily distracted and slightly disinterested six year old…….now that adds a challenge to any FPS game.

    We also like pain and wii bowling.

  • So when you read about a real-life tragedy, you comfort yourself with stock image fan-fiction… because apparently you don’t know any real-life families that play games together?

  • Well I guess we are are this family, except uglier and without the ps2 controllers, oh yeh and the background would be 3 old pc’s in a lan setup on an ikea desktop. I have 3 kids aged 7,10+16, we regularly play games such as mario kart, go vacation, soul caliber(gamecube), minecraft, plus so many more. And we have fun, lots of it. When we get bored of those we switch the pcs on and play games like quake3, rise of nations, warcraft3. No killing, only a small amount of bickering, and a whole lot of good gaming goodness. There is hope!
    Of course we dont have quite those “game faces”, we are a little bit more laid back in our excitement 🙂

  • Gaming family here too, I play with my kids (10 year old daughter, 13 year old son). Terraria and Starbound are favourites, though Soul Calibur and Blazblu on the 360 get regular play, as well as the Dynasty Warriors Gundam game.

  • I have to fight my 7 and 4 year olds to get a crack at my xbox! We love to hang out and play trials mainly….. My 7 year old is taking me down on supercross now so I might need to limit his gaming from now on :). My 4 year old wants to sit next to me and drive the monster truck (AKA Quad bike) and find squirrels and do “megaflips”….. They love it, I love it…… mum not so loving it, but we will convert her one day……

  • Don’t ever play that ‘new super mario bros. wii’ together… that shit tears families apart…

  • I used to play Jumpman with my dad on commodore 64, I think that’s still the only time when we understood each other via gaming. He never migrated into the PC era, something which will always make me sad.

  • This isnt real,

    Dad wouldn’t be there he’s working 40+ hrs and overtime to support his wife’s drinking problem and crack addiction.

  • I’ve been playing games with my four year old son since he was a little over two.

    For the last 12 months, a lot of what we play together has been the Travellers Tales Lego games, but I also have to admit to letting him drive around in GTA 5 (sound off, no guns, I just set an interesting location on the map, and he drives there via the mini map), and he also enjoys exploring the country side on horseback in Red Dead Redemption.

  • Topic is very relevant to my house at the moment. My 3 year old is hooked on Super Mario 3D World and we both love playing together on it. His mum isnt such a fan as he REALLY loves that game. It’s hard to get him off at times but we’re the best buds so I’m a little more lenient with gaming time.. plus being an older gamer that started on Nintendo it really is hard for me to say no and also feel quite proud to be playing with him.

  • My 4 year old daughter loves playing games together. We have a blast playing things like Super Mario Galaxy/Sunshine/64, she really digs Wind Waker at the moment, and surprisingly enough she’s really good at Diablo 3.

  • Single dad here with 2 sons. We happily play Trine 2 together on the xbox 360. I’m the wizard, my eldest son the acrobat and my youngest the knight. It’s lots of fun and we bond. True story.

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