Bits & Bytes: Mother

Mothers and video games on Mother’s Day.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 05/09/2021 16:56 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

I’m visiting my mom Julie today for Mother’s Day. She grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so her formative years were filled with some incredibly fun moments in pop culture and entertainment history, including the advent of video games in the household. Mom’s youth was spent with Barbie, Star Wars, and Atari. Playing at home with her brothers and sisters, she loved bouts of PONG, and in the arcades it was all about Centipede, Dig Dug, and Asteroids.

As a result, my mom was never combative with me when it came to playing video games. Sure, my sister and I both would get cut off if we spent too long with our Game Boys stuffed in our faces, but overwhelmingly Mom was all for our beloved pastime. Mom would even join in sometimes; if there was Tetris to play, or a Namco collection to partake in, or even the odd LCD handheld laying around, she’d steal some playtime.

My mom playing games in the kitchen.

Mom would curate the contents of my television viewing alongside my grandma, and between the two of them it was a steady stream of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. I still have the Sonic bank that my mom got me from who-knows-where. When the Super Mario Bros. 3 toys hit McDonald’s she did her best to help me accumulate most of the set. Although technically not video game characters exclusively, there’s enough synergy with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I count those delightful turtle-shaped cereal bowls we collected as part of the gaming lifestyle that Mom helped to inculcate within me.

I had friends whose parents hated video games. Mothers who didn’t want those dreadful plastic squares of malice and depravity in their homes. Having a mom who was the exact opposite always felt cool. Even now, she’ll spot (alongside my dad) video game collectibles for me in the various antique stores she prowls for Barbie ephemera. I probably have more of this stuff than any logical human being will ever need, but I’ll never say no when Mom is thinking of me.

Although I don’t think Mom counts herself as a “gamer,” she definitely has the spirit. Now, Mom spends her time with Candy Crush on her Nook, or playing Scrabble Blast on the Game Boy Micro I gave her a while back. As I sit in the dining room and type this, she’s chuckling at the TV. My grandma Angela passed away earlier this year, so it’s a tough Mother’s Day. Having my mom here is helping make it easier.

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