The Useless Parents’ Guide To Modern Gaming

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So your child has finally got into gaming. Amazing, right? No more pretending to enjoy those fun (read, dull) iPhone educational apps where no one dies, headshots are forbidden and the puzzles wouldn’t tax your pet dog. And that dog is really thick.

Yes, finally a decent chance to not only bond with your offspring over some pixellated carnage (12 only – honest) but get some decent game time in yourself whilst delivering the message that the old man/woman has still got what it takes when it comes to hardcore gaming.

Except you can’t. Because everything has changed. Yes, there is still an Xbox and a PlayStation but not the ones you remember. FIFA? Yes, but certainly not how you knew it (no one falls through the pitch). GAME? It looks like a bloody arcade (although your kids have no idea what a bloody arcade is).

So, time to gen up! Read our totally subjective guide to modern gaming and you can finally enter your child’s bedroom and hold your head high as you prepare to dispense a digital smackdown. After you with the Legendary SCAR. It’s a Fortnite gun, stupid

(We think.)

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OKAY, WE GIVE IN. WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL IS FORTNITE?

Ha! We knew you didn’t know. Fortnite is a game that your children play when you think they’re actually playing Monument Valley 3. It involves mahoosive guns, getting their in-game player to do that annoying Floss dance, shouting abuse at their schoolmates even though they only saw them an hour before and lots of running about. It’s quite cartoonish for a 12 – although a headshot is a headshot, tbh. Anyway, we recommend not playing it – you will definitely lose badly to your neighbour’s ten year-old daughter. And she’s never played it.

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CAN I STILL GO TO VIDEOGAME SHOPS?

Despite the digital jackboot on the high street’s neck that is Amazon Prime, videogame shops somehow still exist – but in two varieties. First, the ever-reliable dodgy second-hand place off the high street where unboxed Game Boy Advance cartridges are sold next to adihash bongs and you’re never more than three shops away from a Cash Converter. These shops still exist although you may need to get a vape habit to really get the full benefit. The other type of store is the modern megaplex – if you’ve seen one of the new GAME Belong stores, you’ll know what we mean. Comfy padded seats, VR headsets, two litre cans of Monster (probably)… This is the future and TBH you do not belong.

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ARE THERE STILL GAME CONTROLLERS?

Ah, right. Remember those old Atari joysticks? Dead flesh Spectrum keyboards? What about the old skool grey PlayStation controllers? Nope, nope and nope again. All these are a zillion miles away from the super-tactile controllers modern gamers (i.e. your children) use. Either the shape of space boomerangs with a zillion buttons hidden underneath the controller that you can’t even feel or a keyboard-and-mouse combo with shortcuts you have zero hope of memorising, the days of waggling the joystick in the hope of somehow lucking on a secret Tekken 3 combo is long gone. Our advice? Hand yoga and a sensei.

FOR GOD’S SAKE… CONSOLES STILL PLAY GAMES THOUGH, RIGHT?

Right-ish. Yes, game consoles still play games – even though they may be downloaded to your retina as in-app purchases as part of an HD loot box. But yes, games are still there. Oh, and so is Netflix. And Facebook. And Hulu (whatever that is). And every other app or platform you see on every other smart device you own is all here, demanding that you constantly ‘connect’ with the now-global audience of 24/7 gamers rather than enjoy a good old-fashioned solo all-nighter of Mario Kart and Doritos in your Frogger onesie. And they call this progress.

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SO, DISCS AND CARTRIDGES THEN…

See ya! Yes, game consoles still have a slot at the front for now but your modern game is now delivered in ones and zeroes through the air by the internet. Buying something in a shop that you stick into a machine… Have you not used a laptop in the last ten years?!

BUT I THOUGHT RETROGAMING WAS COOL?

No, it’s not.

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BUT YOU CAN BUY A TINY NINTENDO SNES AND EVERYTHING!

You have one. Your mate at work also has one. And maybe someone else as old as you bought it in Urban Outfitters. But that’s it. Your child has been brought up on ultra-realistic 4K VR gaming in 1080p on a television bigger than your first house. They do not want to play Donkey Kong let alone Horace Goes Skiing.

BUT IF IT’S NOT ON A DISC, THAT MEANS IT’S CHEAPER, RIGHT?

Ha ha ha ha!

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REALLY?

‘Fraid so. The days of paying for whole games is long gone. Freemium models, micro-transactions, season passes… You know those annoying in-app purchases for the ‘free’ games on your iPhone. Imagine that but way worse. And if you do buy a full game on a disc? Fifty quid minimum to you. WE KNOW!

THAT’S IT, LEAVE ME ALONE…

That’s another thing you’re not gonna like. The concept of being alone whilst gaming is no longer allowed. Now you need to wear MASSIVE headphones and in-game chat to a 17 year-old troll in Wisconsin who helpfully reveals you ‘Suck bottom, man!’ at Call Of Duty 12. Your life is no longer your own. It’s theirs.

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ENOUGH! WHAT CAN I DO? I NEED TO BEAT MY CHILD AT A GAME AND SHOW THEM I’M STILL COOL!

Not gonna happen. Have you ever thought about changing the wifi code? LEVEL UP, DOOD!

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