My dad is a solitary man. Ever since I could remember, he’d spend most of his Friday nights nursing a giant Japanese beer mug and listening to Pink Floyd on his computer (or if he felt like shaking things up a little bit, he would play military strategy games). I don’t remember when I started joining him in his Friday night rituals, but some of my fondest memories come from sitting next to him and listening to “Wish You Were Here” on repeat.
It’s no secret that I’m a very big Mass Effect fan. I have an embarrassing amount of memorabilia decorating my room, I’ve replayed the entire series more then four times, and if you asked me to explain the history of the Krogan, I could answer you in a heartbeat. So, how does my dad come into play?
A couple of months ago when one of my brothers came home during his college break, I had set up shop in the living room since he had claimed the basement with his own Xbox. I was sitting playing the first Mass Effect game when my dad wandered in and plopped down on the recliner next to me. I was creating my Shepard, and he asked me to make the nose bigger until it was so large he began to laugh at how ridiculous it looked. A few days later, he barged into my room holding a copy of the first Mass Effect novel that I had lying around downstairs. “I found this and read it,” he told me. “Is there more?”
My dad found the book and read it out of sheer boredom. I was pleasantly surprised. He’s now read all three of the novels and we even had a conversation about Saren. “When I come back from dropping Alex off at college, you should show me that game again.” Wait. My 55-year-old father wanted me to introduce him to Mass Effect?
And so I did. After explaining to him how an Xbox controller worked and letting him get used to the controls, he was invested. He would ask me questions about what was going on, or asked if he could just “punch that guy.” He was a little slow since he was used to playing games on his computer, but one Saturday night we stayed up until close to 2:00 AM. He made typical dad jokes and ran around in circles, but watching him play was fun for me.
“Don’t play without me,” I would tell him. Of course, he didn’t listen to me. I remember walking downstairs early in the morning to grab a drink and be surprised to see him still sitting on the recliner playing Mass Effect. I have to admit that being able to have a conversation on how we felt about geth was great.
Eventually, he had to stop playing, but those few weeks that he spent playing the game still resonate with me. Being able to share with him a game that I very much enjoyed reminded me of when we would listen to Pink Floyd together. I absolutely loved that we shared our interests with each other.
I never thought that I’d see the day when my dad would play Mass Effect. I can’t describe the feeling. Sharing something that I considered very important to me with someone who I thought wouldn’t be interested was very special to me. I’m glad that I could sit next to him and watch him go through what I did and see him enjoy it just as much as I had. It’s a kind of father/daughter bonding I never expected.
If you’re reading this: Hi, Dad! I’m on the internet!