My dad has never been much of a gamer. Like any father, he was usually concerned that I was spending too much time playing (especially during those 12-hour World of Warcraft binges when it first came out), but overall he was pretty neutral on the whole thing. One of my fondest memories together is the day we took a trip to the mall and he decided, on a whim, to spring for a HOTAS joystick and a copy of Joint Strike Fighter. I was seven years old, and it is one of my earliest memories of playing PC games.
Joint Strike Fighter, for its time, was a hopelessly complex flight simulator. Without the aid of YouTube or written guides, we could barely figure out how to get our damn fighter jet off the tarmac. But those hours spent frustratedly pushing every button on the keyboard just to try and turn the damn engines on were also hours I spent in my dad’s lap, having fun. We even used call signs stolen from Top Gun (I was Iceman)—which he still insists is a very manly movie.
I could barely understand what was happening on the screen. Once we finally got airborne and he’d let me fly, I’d end up passing out and crashing from G-force acceleration or getting shot down immediately because I flew by an anti-air installation and didn’t know what the hell chaff was. But none of that really mattered, I was with my dad and he was investing in something that would come to define my life.
He’s turning 60 next week and I’ve obviously been doing a lot of reminiscing. But I want to know what your favorite memories are of playing PC games with your family—whether it’s with your parents or a sibling—hell, even your cousins that only visit once a year. If they’re related by blood or law, they count. Gaming with family can be a very special thing. So hop in the comments and share your fondest memories. We’ll sort through them and share our favorite responses next week.