A Brief, Random History Of My Mom The Gamer

Hey, this Sunday is Mother’s Day! So yeah, consider yourself warned! Better hit the Hallmark or at least give your mom a call or we’re all going to be very disappointed in you.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way — moms and video games. While every family’s different, I have a feeling my experiences with my mom and video games were pretty typical. For the most part my mom ignored video games — they were something to keep us kids busy, or alternately something that often kept us too busy when she wanted us to do our homework or go outside. Every once in a while though, something would click and my mom would totally get into a certain game. The fascination would never last long, but for a short while I could share my favorite hobby with my mom, which felt kind of special. Or at least weirdly novel.

Here’s a brief history of my mom the gamer…

Bowser — indirectly teaching me so many wonderful new words.

Super Mario Bros. (The First World)

My mom was totally into Super Mario Bros. — in fact I think her thing for Mario may have been what got me my NES. Everyone in my family had played Super Mario at a family friend’s house. I thought it was pretty neat and all, but I wasn’t blown away. I didn’t even ask for it for Christmas, it just showed up under the tree — no begging required! That was the first and last time that ever happened.

My mom only really liked stages 1 – 1 through 1 – 3. Bowser’s first castle was too much for her. I think the first time I ever heard her curse was during a particularly fraught confrontation with Bowser. Super Mario Bros. has often been called the best video game of all time. I don’t know about that, but it caused my mom to say “s–t” in front of me for the first time, so it’ll always be awesome in my book.

Battletoads (Also the First World)

My mom’s other NES favorite was Battletoads. Only the first level with the stilt-walker guys, but that’s okay — Battletoads is only three stages long anyways! Wait, what? There were levels after that speed bike stage?

Harvest Moon 64

My entire family became obsessed with Harvest Moon 64 for a two month period back in 2000. The TV (we only had one) was almost constantly occupied. Time limits and the rotation of who got to play next were strictly enforced lest the house erupt into Harvest Moon-fuelled chaos. When somebody was playing everybody else watched them play, just in case they stumbled onto some sort of important secret (also, it wasn’t like anyone got to watch any TV on the TV during those two months). The Birch family was pretty serious about Harvest Moon is what I’m saying, and my mom was right there in the mix with us.

I’ve played kind of a ridiculous amount of this game.

The Cow Game from Wii Play

I’m pretty sure if you asked my mom what her favorite video game of all time is, she’d answer the Cow Game from Wii Play without hesitation. What, you’ve never played the Wii Play cow racing game? What kind of a gamer are you?  Any time the Wiimotes got dragged out at a family gathering, all my mom was interested in was the Cow Game. When were we going to play Cow Game? Now? How ’bout now? Most family Wii sessions ended with the Cow Game, because come on — once you’re playing the Cow Game, who wants to play anything else?

The Obstacle Course from Wii Fit Plus

Hidden away in Wii Fit Plus is an actually pretty fun minigame of dubious health benefit. Basically you make your way through a Mario-esque obstacle course by running and jumping in place on the balance board. It’s surprisingly tough, and my mom was a boss at it. I gave it a few shots, but couldn’t come anywhere near my mom’s high score, which I think she was secretly pretty pleased about.

So yeah, a few memories of my mom’s gaming career. How about you folks? How into gaming was your mom? Any special gaming memories with her? Did she like anything completely unexpected or off-the-wall games? Reminisce in the comments.