Playing video games with your mom (in 10 easy steps!)

A short guide to the pleasures and pitfalls of sharing your hobby with a loved one.

So, you've finally convinced your mom to play a video game with you. Congratulations! Getting someone who's unfamiliar with video games to try them isn't easy. But now you have a whole new set of hurdles ahead of you. What game do you pick? How do you set everything up? How the hell do you steer a kart with a Wiimote? But don't worry - I've broken down the process into ten easy steps. (And if you're not going to be doing this with your mom specifically, don't fret - all this can apply to any friend or family member who hasn't played a video game before.)

Are you ready? Is your mom ready? Good! Let's go!

1. Pick a game to play

Now, if you've already gotten your mom two casual games for the Wii, the decision shouldn't be too hard. If not, well, just discuss it with her and in your own mind take into account the fun to difficulty ratio for a newcomer. When in doubt, overestimate the difficulty - especially if your mom hasn't played many video games in her lifetime.

2. Find a second working controller

Let's say our chosen game is for the Wii, and you already have a few extra Wiimotes lying around. So you open one up to make sure the batteries are working. In this case, the answer is no, one of the batteries has leaked all over the battery compartment. All right, we'll just go to the next one. Surprise! The battery contacts in it are corroded. Uh, okay, how about the third party one we never use? Good news, the batteries work fine! Bad news, the motion controls don't work. They've never worked. There's a reason you never use this controller.

3. Pick another game to play

So our search for a controller for mom to use has turned up nothing. It's time to start over. Let's see, we have one working Wiimote. Oh! Why don't we play Mario Kart 8? Yes, that will be great! It's fun and probably won't be too difficult, right?

4. Explain the controls

Okay, mom, so you hold the controller horizontally. No, the other way. No, wait, it's sort of horizontal but vertical at the same time. ...Yeah, that's close enough. Okay, now to maneuver you turn it like a steering wheel. Right. And you hold down the A button to go... I think. That's how I have to do it on my controller, so it's probably the same for you.

5. Re-explain the controls

Mom, why are you still at the start line?
"I'm not going."
Are you holding down A?
"Yes. It's not doing anything."
Crap, uh, hold on, let me see. Are you holding it like a steering wheel?
"I'm trying. It's turning the wrong way too."
Okay, let's pause this and figure it out.

6. Discover how the controls actually work

Ohhhhhhhhh, I had it backwards. Sorry, mom. You hold it the other way and hold down 2. Let's try again.
"The steering still isn't working right."
(You look at her half of the screen to see she's still at the start line, crashing back and forth between the walls on the sides.)
Stupid Wiimotes...

7. Use a different controller

But we don't have a different - oh, wait! We'll just plug in the Nunchuck attachment. Duh. A control stick will make this a million times easier.

8. Start the race over

Because honestly, there's no sense in trying to finish this one; you're both in last place anyway. Also, you forgot to explain how the items work.

9. Cheer her on

This isn't a race. Okay, well, technically in this case it is. But this is for fun and family bonding time, not bragging rights! Besides, this is the woman who cheered you on when you were still learning how to crawl. The least you can do is cheer her on while she's learning to play Mario Kart.

10. Have fun!

That's all you need to do! Just enjoy the game together, and be patient with the mistakes either of you make. Hopefully sharing something that's important to you will bring you closer together, and help her understand why you like video games so much. But for now, just have fun with it. This moment isn't going to last forever.

Published Jan. 13th 2016
View Comments
  • Mackenzie Lambert_5420
    To be fair, my mom raised me on Legend of Zelda on the NES. She first got me into video gaming. Thanks, mom!

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