By Al Beeber on February 15, 2021.
LEAVE IT TO BEEBER
I’m old enough to remember when gaming meant playing Monopoly or pinball. And we did a lot of the latter in Raymond as kids at two local hangouts — the Sugar City drive-in owned by my classmate Rod Wendorff’s family, and Gertie’s, whose namesake owner, Gertie Fairbanks, made incredible pies.
When Pong was invented, we all tried to get a chance at this ground-breaking game at a place on main street where the lone machine was located.
A lot of time has passed since then and I did little gaming after high school until my son was young when, of course, I had to buy a Nintendo, then a Playstation and eventually an XBox.
Dylan and I spent a lot of his childhood bonding over video games, especially the James Bond series in which he used to absolutely obliterate me even when he was a child. Playing as Oddjob, he killed me often and always when I least suspected it.
Thanks to Dylan, I developed a fondness for gaming, especially sports ones such as Madden football. But I also became passionate about Halo, which introduced me to a whole new world of gaming. Halo is still one of my all-time favourites, even though I ever succeeded winning the game on anything other than the rookie setting. And of course, how can a gamer not appreciate the classic Wolfenstein or Duke Nukem titles?
During Dylan’s early teens before he got his driver’s licence and I seldom saw him at night, I also became a huge fan of the Call of Duty war games, which were incredibly realistic. Often, I had to call him for assistance to get me through a particularly tough challenge because they aren’t easy.
While he is still a gamer, my interest waned as I got older — there were too many other things to do, like walking the dogs whose need for exercise gets me going early in the morning and keeps me going at night on weekends.
Recently, though, I decided to download the latest Madden game onto my phone, which was a disaster because without a controller, it’s tough to handle passing and running plays. Defence is easy because I always set a play and simply control an offensive lineman, preferring to let the computer do all the hard work.
But thanks to a Playstation 4 left us by nephew Dan, my gaming interest has been revived in a big way. At Christmas, Dylan bought me a wireless controller and Madden 20 so I could play the game on the Playstation the way it should be played.
And again, I’m hooked. Madden, in my opinion, is the best football video game ever created. The realism, especially with the latest version, is amazing. I can’t believe the difference from the last version I played years ago.
And the realism extends to game play as well. Playing as the Green Bay Packers against my beloved Chicago Bears recently, I scored three touchdowns on interceptions and recovered a Mitch Trubisky fumble.
Even playing as the sad-sack Detroit Lions, I beat the Bears. Is that sportsmanship, some might ask? I really don’t care — I just love the action and seeing results from 50-yard bombs or draw plays that turn into 40-yard gains.
My only weakness is the kicking game. I haven’t come close to scoring an extra point or a field goal and all my kickoffs go out of bounds. Thankfully. Madden has a practice mode so players can hone their skills and when I get time, I’m going to be spending a lot of time on the practice field getting my kicking game straightened out.
Some might think it ‘s a little immature for a 61-year-old to be playing video games but all of us have an inner kid. And after winning my online NFL fantasy league for the first time in five years, I just can’t get enough football.
I’m a competitive guy and video gaming is a way to express that competitive spirit while also relieving stress and using the brain in a different way.
Soon, I’m going to be adding a Call of Duty title to the mix because there is so much strategy involved in those games, as well as shooting.
Gaming is a hobby for all ages and as we get older, I think it’s important to keep the inner kid happy and playful.
I just hope the Bears soon bring in a new quarterback so I can actually play for my team against those dastardly Packers and even the score.
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