One of the most annoying parts of being a parent is the amount of time it takes away from playing video games. That and being pooped on.
But there are those hallowed games that are just too good, too alluring, too its-better-than-being-pooped on to NOT find time to play.
As a dad to a rambunctious child, these are the games that I still find myself squeezing in whenever I get the chance.
Super Mario Bros. 3
At least twice a year, I have to sit down and play Super Mario Bros. 3 until I beat it. It's like getting your physical or going to the dentist: It's just something you do.
Pretty soon the kid will figure out what I'm up to and demand to play, and I'll end up spending most of my time exasperatingly trying to explain where the next 1up or warp whistle is, and why HE NEEDS TO LISTEN TO HIS DAMN FATHER OR GO TO BED.
But until then, I'll blissfully fire this bad boy up, whether as a download on my Wii (yes, I still have that) or the original NES edition itself.
Star Wars Battlefront
Yeah, I didn't specify which one, because it really doesn't matter. If it involved me getting to live out my Star Wars battle fantasies, I'll play it.
I'm still hooked on SWBF2 (as you can tell by the articles on Hoary Gamer, duh), but I'm also looking forward to reliving the original SWBF2 when it gets re-released on Xbox Live Gold. Hell, give me anything with the words "Star Wars" and "Battlefront", I don't care — I'll play it.
FIFA soccer games
I'm not one of those dudes that's itching to get the latest FIFA, but I do enjoy me some video game soccer. Hell, I've been playing it since at least FIFA 93 on the Sega Genesis. I remember on FIFA 95 you could stand in just the right spot when the opposing goalie had the ball and just keep jumping in front of him, ultimately heading the ball into the goal. What a dumbass goalie!
Sports games are great for dads — you don't have to spend an hour just getting through the intro before you even play anything, and there's a clear, finite amount of time you can play without losing any progress. Play a game when you have time, turn it off, repeat. The kids don't even know what we're up to. Ha, stupid kids!
SNES, emulator, download, 3Ds — whatever, just give me some Chrono.
I still remember the immense responsibility I felt the first time I played through Chrono Trigger. It was up to ME to save the frickin' world. Not to mention I thought the princess might actually come to life and marry me. I was like 14, ok?
Today's RPGs take about 6 hours of cut scenes before you ever even do anything. I'm sick of it and I don't have the damn time for it.
In Chrono Trigger, you jump right in. I still get caught up trying to chug that drink or pick the winner of the race or all the other awesome fair games you get to try right off the bat.
I've played through it countless times, and each time I relive the glory, agonize over which party members to bring along and cry when I see what the future holds.
And it's still on my list to go back and play through Earthbound, too.
Just one more quick game, I tell myself. It will only take a few minutes. I can work later.
But then you fail just before reaching that next high score. I should have moved the purple bar to the left, you say to yourself. And on and on and on it goes.
Columns was a package game with many of the early Genesis console boxes. Way before Candy Crush warped everyone's brains, it asked — nay, DEMANDED — that you match colored bars of various and random kinds in horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines.
It's called perfection.
Just be careful and remember to eat.