I'm glad I saw this on Reddit today, this news that a father has made his son play some of gaming's most influential and brilliant games. I'm glad for two reasons, one; because I like to encourage others to play games I hold dear, in the hope that they will love them too and then we can 'geek out' about them; and two, because it's always been my plan to impose the same 'joy' and gaming history on my own children, when that time comes.
The father in question is Andy Baio. He is the former CTO of Kickstarter, and also the founder of the XOXO Festival, amongst other ventures. Over on his blog he writes about his 'experiment' with his son which saw him introduce the young lad to the video games Baio played when he was growing up, and beyond.
Baio recounts the year he was born (1979) was the year in which the Atari 2600 was released, and how he played through each generation of gaming from then as he grew up. He then explains that his son, Eliot, was born in 2004, when Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and the Nintendo DS came along.
Because of Baio's love of games, he "genuinely wanted Eliot to love and appreciate them too." And with that he created his expirment; "What happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order?"
Baio goes through each generation of games in chronological order, gradually working his way to modern day with his son. He wanted to start Eliot off with a plug-and-play Pac-Man TV game, and leading up to Eliot's fourth birthday he was dreading his son would hold no interest in the game. Fortunately Eliot was subsequently "obsessed" with Pac-Man, said Baio in a tweet back in 2008, and it was like watching himself play it as a child in 1982.
To save myself just quoting everything from his blog, and to leave a couple of impressive achievements Eliot hit as a surprise, I suggest you head on over there and give it a read, it's incredibly compelling. It moves through gaming history with Eliot mastering games like Zelda, Mario, Mega Man, and Spelunky. It also shows that playing these older, more low-fi games seems to have given Eliot an appreciation for modern Indie titles in the same graphical sphere.
I can't wait to try this out on my children, whenever they're born. Don't mention this to my girlfriend though, promise? Thanks.