I’ve often wondered what it’d be like to raise a child in this generation of gaming. Would they sneer at the blocky visuals of Final Fantasy VII, or the simple visuals of something like the first Contra? I think in most cases, yes – children couldn’t care less for the games the rest of us grew up on. Would you, if the first title you got your tiny hands on was something like Dragon Age or Call of Duty? What would happen though, if you made a modern day child start their gaming career with titles from yesteryear? One father decided to find out in a lengthy experiment spanning several years.
Andy Baio wanted his son Eliot to love and appreciate gaming in the same way he did back in 1977, during the golden age of arcade gaming . He decided to expose him to titles from the very beginning. He planned an experiment, long before Eliot was even born. We’re not talking thumb screws and laser beams here! His hypothesis was simple actually:
“what happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order?”
Andy detailed his findings and put them in a blog post (via Kotaku), sharing the journey he had with his son. I genuinely laughed at this extract, because as a gamer, I think I’d have the same nightmares (if I ever had kids).
In the days leading up to his birth, I’d jolt awake in a cold sweat from nightmares of raising a six-year-old athlete, begging me to go outside to play football or baseball or some other dreaded physical activity.
Not that I’d stop them of course, but I share the same dream Andy does – I want my kids to be gamers too.
Anyways, Eliot really did start his gaming career right from the beginning. He worked his way from Galaxian through to the likes of Mega Man and the Legend of Zelda. He proceeded to Super Mario World and eventually titles like Shadow of the Colossus on the PlayStation 2. There were these, and everything in-between. As Andy puts it, he compressed 25 years into just 4.
The result? One freaking talented gamer who appreciates games with an old school aesthetic! Eliot may well be Keanu Reeves from The Matrix. At the age of eight, Eliot beat Spelunky – on its hardest difficulty. In fact, the game’s creator believes he may be the youngest person to have ever done it!
Be sure to read Andy’s full post. It’s a trip down memory lane and packed with awesome.
What do you think? Would you do the same for your kids? Or was Andy wrong to limit Eliot’s exposure to modern day gaming until many years later? Personally, I think Andy has done something spectacular. He wins my brand new award for coolest parent EVER!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to procreate and raise the worlds next best Dota 2 player. At the age of 1, he will be able to ward effectively. At the age of 5, his APM will be over 9000!
Last Updated: December 11, 2014