The Mothers of Gaming

 

From Clara in the Guild to Flemeth in Dragon Age, moms are a staple in gaming. If it isn’t mothers in the real world championing for how violent games are (here’s a tip; read the ESRB ratings,) they don’t really care about games, or they are like me, where gaming is character building and a learning tool.

So many people are covering the best and worst mothers in video games, but what about the ones in the real world? The mothers who game.

Clarahat.jpgI realize Clara is not a “real world” mother, but she embodies a lot of parents who play ‘hardcore’. Clara is the woman who loves her kids, but loves gaming just a smidgen more. No one wants to admit they are a “Clara” in the real world, but lets be honest, there are times when you just let the kids run around for a bit while trying desperately to raid a dungeon. They can take care of themselves right? Just use baby gates. She isn’t an inherently terrible mother, but she does act in a way that makes you question why or how she has kids. Sometimes I ask myself the same.

According to an ESA study 3/4 of mothers today (as of 2013) play games in some fashion. This is one way smartphones and tablets have altered the industry. Games have become more palatable to those whom have never played a video game before.

“Mothers often see games as a way to connect with their family. More than half of the gaming moms (54 percent) responded that they believe the hobby is useful for engaging the entire family.”

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The ESA study shows that most mothers are interested in puzzle games, followed by card games. I remember my Grandma playing cards on her PC, so this stat does not surprise me.

What was good to see from the information found in the study was that 71 percent of moms are now watching what their kids are playing. This seems to run against the perception in mainstream media, where moms are livid that stores sell violent games to minors (or that Mass Effect had a sex scene.) Remember that controversy? Moms for the longest time were seen as not being able to understand games, nor how the industry themselves policed game ratings and age recommendations. It was just too much over their heads, and it was a Dad thing.

Video gaming, thanks in no small part to the Nintendo Wii, has become a family affair. Kids seem to be drawn to video games, and it is amazing to see that family gaming has become so much more common.

“Kids often take the lead in showing their moms what they know how to do in the game — they are the experts. This gives both moms and their children a chance to interact and learn together, which we know from a developmental perspective has great benefits.”

I am a gamer mother, and I can see the allure of being able to connect with my kids on a level that most parents struggle with. As long as the kids play games in some way we will be able to have a discussion, from what is the best way to build a house in Minecraft, to the best gear set up in a recent RPG. I will also lament the arguments of what is better, XBox or Playstation (totally Playstation), or PC Master Race fights. Many mothers don’t have that kind of connection, and all of the “mumbo jumbo” flies over their head.

So many women today are gaming, so it is difficult to say that being a gamer mom is hard. As a ‘hardcore’ gamer the struggle can be difficult. I cannot prioritize gaming like I used to, nor can I do raids as often due to the responsibilities involved with having little children aggro you constantly. The struggle is real, and can be quite frustrating.

Out of that frustration I can be involved with my children in a different way. I can help them game. Through Skylanders, or Minecraft or Pac-Man I can help my little ones navigate levels and games that might be difficult, or use it as a means to teach a lesson about anger or frustration.

Gaming can and does make me a better mother, but I have to remind even myself, that moderation is important.

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Who’s got game? Yo mamma: 3 out of 4 moms play video games (study) — http://venturebeat.com/2013/08/27/whos-got-game-yo-mamma-3-out-of-4-moms-play-video-games-study/
‘Gamer moms’ buck video-gaming stereotypes by playing with their children — http://news.nationalpost.com/life/gamer-moms-buck-video-gaming-stereotypes-by-playing-with-their-children
http://www.andshegames.com/search/label/Gamer%20Moms

 

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