Putting the video games in the family room

When my parents finally relented and got me a Nintendo Entertainment System, it made its home in the basement. Every subsequent video game system lived there, too.

Tucked away from the rest of the family so it wouldn’t tie up the TV in the living room or disturb anybody with its chiptune bleeps and boops.

But it also meant that video games were mostly a private thing for me.

Sure, my mother and I conquered Bubble Bobble together, and there were times my dad would join as player 2. Under special circumstances a console could come upstairs, like a sick day where I got to stay on the couch playing hockey on the Genesis, or a sleepover for the release of the N64.

But there was always this sense that the games weren’t something that deserved a spot upstairs in the space with the rest of the family.

This is why I think the Nintendo Switch is the perfect family game console.

Last night I had a Powerpoint Party as a belated birthday get-together. My topic:

Keynote slide titled Designing Super Mario Levels (for a three-year-old)

I based it on playing Mario Bros. with Button.

The Switch stays docked on our TV in the living room so that the primary way to play it is with the family. But if somebody wants to play on their own (like Sprout when they want to build in Minecraft), its portability allows for that.

Growing up on video games made it feel more acceptable to have them make a home in the family room. Not only did I want to share playing games with my kids, but I didn’t want to create a sense that it was something that required you to separate yourself from the rest of the family.

Finding that balance between making it so that we can easily play together, but still allowing for those individual, immersive journeys to new worlds.