How I Became a Gamer Mom

I’m a gamer mom. But what exactly does that mean? I think to understand it we need to break down the pieces. Let’s take the easier part first: Mom.

The dictionary definition of mother is a female parent. I check that box, but we all know there’s more than that to being a mom. I’m going to get a bit cheesy here. Mother’s Day was just last weekend and I got the mushy card, so I’m feeling sentimental.

To me, being a mom is a strong bond and unbreakable connection.

It’s giving support and discipline and encouragement. It’s teaching and learning at the same time. And most of all it’s about love. I became a mom when my daughter was born two years ago. I could never have imagined how intensely I would love this little ball of sass and emotions and cuddles. Also, I had to stop typing this post to prep food and diapers for daycare tomorrow. So, yeah, I’m a mom.

Okay, next up: Gamer.

The dictionary definition of a gamer is a person who plays video games. Again, check. But, just like with being a mom, I think this one is more complicated than that. There are noobs and casual gamers. Core gamers and hardcore gamers. Twitch streamers and eSports competitors. Are you a gamer when you master one game? Three? Ten? If you play one hour a day? Three? Ten? As we all know, to be considered a gamer, you have to make your case before the International Gamer Categorization Society, and they place in you into one of the aforementioned categories. Oh, wait… that’s not how it works. Joking aside, we all know this is kind of a controversial topic, and I’m not going to get into now (a post for another day maybe). But what I can do here is explain why I consider myself a gamer.

Gaming is a large part of my past and present identity.

Growing up, video games weren’t a regular purchase. Getting a new game for a birthday or holiday was a big deal. We didn’t have a ton, but we managed to keep up with the staples. I remember getting the combo Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. It was like a new world opened up to me. I’m not sure whether I spent more hours side-scrolling through castles or standing as close as possible to the TV while that stupid dog laughed at me. I was hooked.

Some of my first friendships revolved around gaming. I would go to my pal Matt’s house whenever I could because he had so many Nintendo games. I still have the copy of Jeopardy he lent me (because I was that odd little 3rd grader who loved Jeopardy…and apparently a bad friend too. Sorry for not returning it, Matt!).

I was part of a military family, and we moved frequently. Whenever we were in a new place and I didn’t know anyone, I always had two middle aged plumbers in monochromatic uniforms to keep me company (creepy, ha). With all that traveling, the Game Boy made long plane rides and car trips enjoyable.

I played Tetris so much I would see tetrominoes when I closed my eyes.

And the Game Gear! With Sonic! And that color screen! I’d never held anything like it before. There was so much rapid-fire change happing in my hands. Every time I blinked there was a new game or a new system that was pushing the boundaries of the tech.

Around the time of the SNES, my family moved to Japan, which as you can imagine was an amazing place for a gamer. I got some great SNES games, and the arcades over there were top-notch. I spent Saturday mornings at the bowling alley (my mom bowled in a league) shoveling coins into the Simpsons arcade game, fighting friends in Mortal Kombat II and Virtua Fighter, and playing as a dolphin pilot in Aero Fighters 2, which is still one of my all-time favorite games.

That’s right, my first Final Fantasy was 8. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit my first AOL screen name was Princess Rinoa. I’m hoping to play the FF7 remake.

At the end of this era, I went through a phase I like to call the Dark Year, during which I mistakenly thought that I couldn’t be popular if I was a girl who played video games, so I sold almost everything. Also it turned out that even when I wasn’t playing video games, I still wasn’t popular. Lesson learned. When the N64 and Sony PlayStation rolled out, I was back playing Banjo Kazooie and Final Fantasy 8.

In college, horror games became a staple. I adore horror games but have always been really terrible at first and third person shooters. I had passable skills, from about Goldeneye to the first Halo, but since then it’s been downhill. A group of us would get together to watch one of our friends play Silent Hill while everyone else screamed and backseat gamed. After college, one of my first dates with my now husband was having him over to my place to play Resident Evil. He’s great at shooters but a bit of a chicken when it comes to horror, so we make a good pair.

Over the years, I’ve kept up with most major gaming consoles. I have a few PC games but I’m mostly a console girl. I’m also very picky about the games I play, and even more now that I have a kid. I don’t have a ton of time to waste on bad games. Something I’d love to do for this site is get an inventory of the games my husband and I own. I will randomly think of a game that I really enjoyed (for example, Zack & Wiki or Aero Fighters), but I know there are so many other games I’d play if I remembered I had them. I’d also like to work my way through some of the games I never beat.

So here I am. A Gamer Mom. A gamer who became a mom.

My hope for this site is that it will be a place to meet people and share experiences, recommendations, reviews, time-management approaches, and parenting advice. There are tons of great websites with gaming news and reviews, gaming podcasts by amazing women, and even other mommy gamers doing awesome things. There may be blogs that do this better, but there won’t be any that do it like me. So thanks for checking out Moms with Game!

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