We had video games in the house since the children were young. This meant that they each found games that they enjoyed as they grew up. As well as helping them find these, I also put time into finding games for them to play with me.At first this was to introduce them to a wider breadth of games than they would find themselves, but it developed into a valuable way to connect with them in the evenings.Ellen and I worked our way through a range of games that had a strong narrative. We would take turns with the controller, discussing what we should do next or what was happening to the different characters. In an unexpected way, this became an important time to connect and enjoy each other's company in the evening. Like sharing a walk or a car journey, playing together was an easy time to reconnect, talk about worries and find reassurance that we both still wanted to meet in our games - no matter what was happening in the real world.
Outcome Regular time for father and daughter to reconnect and talk.
This outcome arises from the following 8 milestones over the span of 9 years, from 9 - 18 years-old:
Age: 9-years-old / 01/01/2012 / 11 years ago
Play Styles: Co-Op Local and Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play)
Platform: Nintendo Wii
We played Skylanders together as a family, particularly the first two Spyro's Adventure and Giants. This was usually in the sitting room with us rotating in to play the two players the game offers.The game uses toy figures to unlock characters and store their progress. This was the best of the toys-to-life games for our family. So much so that we used the toys in other ways as well, like the made-up game of Skylanders Chess you can see below.
Activities: Ellen found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Skylanders:
Age: 11-years-old / 01/01/2014 / 9 years ago
Platform: PlayStation 4
We played Knack together. This offered a deeper story than the Skylanders games we were playing previously. The first Knack game let a second player join as an assistant to the main player. This worked well playing with my daughter and we took turns being the main player.We revisited the game when Knack 2 game out some years later. This offer stronger multiplayer modes but the kids were by then a bit old for this kind of game so we didn't play it as much.
Age: 13-years-old / 01/01/2016 / 7 years ago
Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play)
Having played many games as a family, Ellen had started to play less. I wanted to find a game that we could play together and had really enjoyed playing through the Uncharted games a few times on my own. I suggested the game to her, and she was initially reluctant because of the need to shoot and deal with combat. We game it a go and I handled the shooting sections while she did the exploration. But she soon took on the combat as steadily improved.
Age: 14-years-old / 01/01/2017 / 6 years ago
Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play) and Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)
After the success of playing the first Uncharted game together we moved on to Among Thieves. This not only upped the production but took us back to spending time with the characters we got to know from the first game.Our play time became a regular feature of the evening. I particularly enjoyed revisiting these games with Ellen's eye for story and character. While I sometimes missed what exactly was going on, Ellen could allows offer a helpful account for proceedings.Ellen could now handle the characters well and fend for themselves in combat. We now took turns more based on time than whether shooting was required as we had the previous game.
Age: 15-years-old / 01/01/2018 / 5 years ago
Into the third game of Uncharted series, it was clear we both wanted to complete the these games together. I was glad we had chosen these games as it meant we had lots of play time ahead of us before they were over.We increasingly set aside regular time to play in the evening. We now knew the main characters pretty well and would discuss what we thought of the plot points and whether they were believable.
After a few years we made it to the final game. Finishing the series together felt like a real achievement. Over the years the game had cemented itself as part of our lives, as well as making game time something that would now continue into other games.
Age: 16-years-old / 01/01/2019 / 4 years ago
After the success and enjoyment of Uncharted, we needed to find our next game to play. There was a bit of a gap as we struggled to find something to scratch that itch as well as Uncharted.I suggested we try a game from the same developer, The Last of Us. Ellen was initially reluctant because of the older age rating and more pressured combat and scary zombies.We gave it a try together. As with Uncharted, to begin with I looked after the combat encounters and Ellen dealt with exploration. This worked well and as the game proceeded she increasingly contributing to the combat encounters.
Activities: Ellen found that the following related activities worked alongside playing The Last Of Us:
Age: 18-years-old / 01/01/2021 / 2 years ago
By the time we had finished The Last Of Us Ellen was enthusiastic about the characters, stories and setting. I had by then moved on to play The Last of Us Part II on my own. Ellen had walked in now and again and was intrigued how this played out, but not sure she wanted to take on the more realistic combat.By the time I had finished the game myself, Ellen was ready to give it a go with me. She researched the game and engaged with the wider community as we played. We took our time to play through it in around 6 months. This was the time Ellen was working on her A Level art and she became fascinated by the setting and characters. This led to her creating a number of pieces of artwork based on characters and moments in the game.I loved seeing her creative response to the game. She found that sharing the artwork online got an enthusiastic response from fans of the game and the game-art community.
Activities: Ellen found that the following related activities worked alongside playing The Last Of Us Part II:
The culmination of the milestones in the pathway led to Ellen regular time for father and daughter to reconnect and talk. We have described it as a linear journey, but of course, there is always a fair amount of back and forth between the games they played.
Along with the main outcome Ellen also changed in the following ways:
We focus on how games contribute to this outcome, but also include related activities that play a part of this journey: