Gaming With My Girl

Did you know playing board games with your significant other can release the feel-good bonding hormone? I didn’t. But I think it’s true. And now I wonder, what about video games?

You can read the intriguing article over at Geek and Sundry:

Couples who play board games together release love hormones Baylor study finds.

Basically, the study showed increased love hormone levels between men and women when playing board games together. Who knew!?

Anecdotally, this makes sense. When my wife and I were dating before we were married (I specify that because we still date in marriage!), we played board games together a lot (Mastermind. She usually won. All the time). I’d say it helped us bond as a couple, having fun together.

We even once planned to collect board games for fun in our marriage, like a hobby for the two of us to share! (Is that geeky or what?)

I enjoy my wife and our time together most when we are playful or adventurous. So again, the board-game-love-hormone connection seems to play into it.

But what about video games?

My wife and I also played Nintendo games together a lot when we were newlyweds. Now, 17 years later, we’re doing it again. This time, we either watch each other playing Zelda or we visit each other’s towns in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

I think the key factors in the love-hormone release are physical presence together plus verbal interaction over the gaming experience. Discussing rules or strategy and engaging in friendly competition or cooperation are also factors at play (see what I did there?).

Well, I’ll just say it, “I’m game!

If bonding together with my lovely wife means I first get to play more games with her, count me in – win! Maybe it’s like fore-foreplay.

I must also note, the Geek and Sundry article linked above was published on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. On that very same day is when I gave my wife a gift: a Nintendo New 2DS XL and the game Animal Crossing: New Leaf!

Is that a coincidence? Or is it providence? What games do you play with your significant other? Let me know what you think in the comments, or message me here!

We Play Nintendo

Last year for Father’s Day, my wife surprised me big-time with a refurbished Wii U! I hadn’t gamed Nintendo in years. Next thing you know, my family has six 2DS hand-held systems! Now my wife and kids get into playing Nintendo like I do.

I’ve kind of been a Nintendo fan my whole life. Growing up I had: NES, Super NES, N64, GameCube, Gameboy Advance SP. But I missed the Wii era. I even had a Nintendo Power subscription almost from the very first issue up until around the late 90’s, so about a decade’s worth of magazines.

Yet my fondness for fun with Mario and Zelda fizzed out when my new game of life, adulting, took over. After college and marriage, I got into a career. Then my wife and I started our family. You can imagine how full-time parenting and working outside the home left little time for gaming.

Years passed, my kids grew older, and then Breath of the Wild (BotW) came out from Nintendo. It’s an open world Zelda game with rave reviews, the kind that say something like, “Stop reading this review, go play this game!” After hearing that, the spark for good’ol console gaming ignited in me.

At this point I had “gotten by” with casual games on my smartphone or tablet. The only serious game I fell in love with was Minecraft on the PC, which is also an open world type game. So the new Zelda was captivating.

But I could not just drop $300 for a Switch – Nintendo’s latest home console – to play the new Zelda. Having a big family means we must budget; being frugal is a virtue. So I’d wait until the Switch is “old” and could be purchased cheaper as a used system.

Wait we did. But not for long. Since BotW was also on Wii U, which was already “old” and far less expensive, that was the boss-key to enter once again into Nintendo gaming land! That’s how my wife surprised me for Father’s Day last year. So basically all last Summer, I wandered in wonder, playing the new Zelda.

But that was just the beginning. Since I am a console-generation behind, all the games are super affordable; just buy them as used. So I didn’t stop at Zelda. I had to get Mario too, of course! And Metroid. And…next thing you know, Nintendo fun is part of my life again.

There’s plenty of fun to go around too, so I decided to spread the gaming goodness and bought one of my sons his very own 2DS hand-held console. Even brand new, the sale price was only in double-digits, and it included a game – frugal and fun for the win! And since the 2DS has been out for many years now, there’s a huge library of excellent games, most of which can be purchased as used.

Long story short, my wife and I now each have a New 2DS XL (because Animal Crossing: New Leaf!), and four of my sons have their own 2DS! My fifth son is still too young to play. But he likes to watch.

All that said, we’re now a Nintendo family. I guess we’re all sort of gamer geeks. We like fun! On top of that, I am re-living my childhood in a way and enjoying some good nostalgia.

It’s even better as I pass the fun to my kids and watch them enjoy what brought me much happiness when I was their age. We get to play together and interact more than usual, like with six 2DS systems all racing MarioKart in 6-player action! We even geek out for all the iconic Nintendo characters: Yoshi, Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, and more.

It reminds me of a fun part of my youth in the 80’s when my Dad would play with me and my brother in Pac-Man tournaments on the Atari 2600!

After we beat all the games we have, will the Nintendo Switch be a thing in my house? Likely. I want to wait until it’s the “old” generation console. But with all the great games for it now and coming up, it gets harder to resist! Nintendo’s software sells hardware. So we’ll see.

Either way, my family plays Nintendo.

What about you, do you game now, and if so, what’s your favorite? Does your family share any hobbies? Leave a comment or send me a message! And thanks for reading!

The Yarniest Hero Ever

Superhero movies are the thing. You’ve seen them. Bombastic special effects depicting classic good vs. evil revolving around a central protagonist imbued with crazy powers and a complicated story-arc. Then there’s Yoshi. Have you heard of him?

Yesterday, my wife picked up Yoshi’s Woolly World for our Wii U – it was dirt cheap at GameStop. And wow, what a game!

My five sons watched as I started playing it last night (I had to pause Animal Crossing on my 2DS XL!). What cute fun! I never liked Yoshi more; it’s hard not to.

Wait, do you think my kids should be playing the game? They will. But I get to go first. We’ll do 2-player Yoshi runs also. Dad gets to be a big kid and relive his childhood with his own kids. There are perks to parenting.

Anyways, back to the main story. Yoshi, made out of yarn in this game, is a hero.

No, he’s not from Marvel. Not from DC. Not from a galaxy far, far away… He’s from Nintendo! Good wholesome family fun stuff.

Yoshi’s superpowers? Glad you asked. He can jump/float really high. He can eat things from far away. He can shoot yarn balls. But his greatest ability: adorability!

Superhero movies will enthrall you (the recent Aquaman, wow, amazing!). Yoshi’s Woolly World will put a huge smile on your face and make you happy.

Yoshi is out to save his little dino friends from the bad guy. The setting isn’t some distant cosmic space or high-tech starship. It’s like a fabric store and knitting craft room. Crochet and yarn are everywhere. It’s incredibly creative! (It is Nintendo after all.)

For this geek dad, my current superhero is Yoshi. Specifically, Yarn Yoshi. And this game has increased my love of Nintendo for instilling more fun and family time into our home.

Who is your favorite superhero? What games does your family like to play? Comment below or contact me directly!