When I walked into my Mom's house, present in hand, I knew she would be in one of two places. Once I didn't see that she was in the kitchen cooking (her idea, I wanted to take her out to eat), I knew that she was at her favorite room in the house: her game room. As I walked down the hallway, the familiar sounds of bullets and explosions were coming from the smallest room in the 3 bedroom house, and I knew what she was up to. The door was open and as soon as I came in, my Mom looked up to me with her Turtle Beach X11 headset on and asked: "Hey, do you want to help me with my clan match?"
In the past two years, my Mom has become addicted to gaming...again. Two Christmases ago, the two of us were trying to figure out what we were going to get for my uncle Ricky, who is like a father to me. After racking our brains, we decided to either get him a warm piece of clothing, which is greatly appreciated in Chicago winters, or maybe a new piece of technology that he would be fond of. I gave in and decided to give him a call to just flat out ask him what he wanted to which he quickly responded "I want a Xbox 360." After that call, I told my Mom. Her eyes widened up and she said, "Me too!" I looked at her suspiciously, with an eyebrow raised slightly.
At the age of 50 years old, my Mom was a teenager right then the Golden Age of gaming began. She grew up in L.A. in the 70s when the first arcades started popping up. My Mom was addicted. She was especially addicted to Space Invaders at the tender age of 16, incidentally, the same year she was carrying me around. Being a teenage Mom didn't stop her spending time at the arcades. Ever after I was born she was still up for playing arcade games. Centipede would become her all time favorite.
My Mom's love for gaming moved to the home when we got our own Atari 2600. The family used to gather around the 2600 as one of us played Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. We upgraded along with everyone else when the NES came out. Out went Pac-Man and in came Mario. In particular, she loved a game of Duck Hunt, even if we all cheated by being WAY too close to the TV.
After that, my Mom and I didn't do much gaming. Mass dosages of real life kept her from gaming, but as I've always said, a real gamer will always be pulled back by the calling of video games.
A few years back she started playing some online poker/slots to then become highly addicted to Facebook games, mainly Mafia Wars, even creating multiple Facebook accounts to get the max amount of resources.
Then this idea of her jumping onto a current gen console was bit of a shocker, but if that's what she wanted, who am I to disobey. I told her I would work on getting her a system once I get my uncle his present.
Two days later, she had bought a Xbox 360 from one of the waitresses at the restaurant she manages. Within 24 hours she had already bought a year of Xbox Live Gold, a Turtle Beach X11 headset, and a few games, including Call of Duty 4, Gears of War, and Call of Duty: World at War. After hooking up the console to her older spare CRT TV, I got her on Xbox Live where she wanted to play Dominoes with friends of hers at first. It didn't take long for her to drop the Dominoes in exchange for Call of Duty, and she hasn’t looked back since. Last year, she stood in line for the midnight release of both Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, something I didn't even bother doing.
And so I spent a few hours on Mother’s Day going back and forth with her on Modern Warfare 3. I would jump on and get back those Call of Duty reflexes that I haven't used since the game was launched. As I played, she would get on the mic and talk to her clan mates, even doing some trash talking with other players. Then we'd switch with her playing a few games while I ate some BBQ. It was cute seeing how timid she played, making sure to go real slowly into every room, and being extra cautious, which is far different from my run and gun style. With every death she would give a little scream followed by a little laugh.
I'm happy to say that my Mom wasn't the only one to get a gift on Mother's Day, because spending time doing what you love the most with the person you love the most is the best gift I could have asked for.