With Mother’s Day behind us, it’s time to look forward to Father’s Day. If your dad is anything like mine, though, he’s completely opaque about what gift or event ideas might be a good fit.
A new phone? Nope, he got one on sale last week. A nice meal? Nope, he survives off of smoothies now and admonishes the once-prized fatty steak. OK, well what about some sort of biking gadget? He bikes a lot nowadays… Oh wait, we got him that trail guide last year, and he hasn’t touched it.
Dads can be hard to show your appreciation for, but with more and more dads coming of age who grew up with gaming culture, we might just have a way in. And let’s face it, your dad probably gave up a lot of gaming sessions to change your diapers, so he probably deserves something special. Your dad might not be able to take a compliment, but these gifts for gamer dads are no joke.
1. Visit an Arcade
With the generation that grew up in them entering middle age, old-fashioned arcades are making a comeback. A few entrepreneurial spirits have dug up a bunch of the old arcade machines that used to distract and degenerate the youths of the day.
Arcade games may seem incredibly simple by today’s standards, with lifelike graphics and VR on the horizon, but an arcade is more than just the games. A great arcade exudes a certain atmosphere. The blinking lights, brightly coloured booths, and themed controls all give an arcade an unearthly vibe, transporting your dad away from the worries of everyday life. A a good arcade the patrons will look like something out of a faded painting. A few seasoned regulars sprinkled around at some of the more difficult games as they compete to post a new high score under three-letter initials. Perhaps a young couple or two using the snug control panel of the 2-player games to scoot a little closer together. Take a look at this arcade near my hometown if you’d like to see it for yourself.
Arcades are also growing up with their audience, with some selling alcoholic beverages and making food in house. Of course you can always make him your own video game themed cocktail when you get home. Just try not to shake ice all over the kitchen.
2. Create Video Game Paraphernalia
As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to appreciate things like posters and figures quite a lot more. When I was young they seemed a bit pointless. Why do I need a Star Wars poster when I can just go pop Star Wars into the VCR? But as our responsibilities grow or even as we lose interest in our old favourite games it can be nice to have a gentle reminder of times past.
For many older games it’s going to be difficult to find materials for sale. Fortunately, you can always make your own if you can find the right images online. That duck hunt poster can be a reality!
3. Old Games and Remakes
For some time there was a dark age in classic gaming. Many old games, if they could be acquired at all, were for sale for exuberant prices at collector’s stores. What’s more, you were sure to have a hell of a time getting such a game to run on a modern Windows operating system. Thanks to folks like Good Old Games, though, a bunch of the classics are available once again, with tweaks to help them run on today’s machines.
If the old games don’t quite live up to the nostalgia, it might be worth checking out some remakes and reboots that are becoming more common. For example, the classic Masters of Orion recently received a modern remake to mixed reviews, although Paradox’s Stellaris has been hailed as a reboot for the space 4X genre. If you’re worried about the quality of the older games, find out what your dad used to play and see if there’s a modern equivalent. Search by title for sequels and hard remakes first before sorting through a whole genre. Don’t get discouraged, though. Many classic genres like space sims and platformers are starting to make their big comebacks.
4. Something Social
Your dad will never admit it, but he really wants to spend more time with you. Find some good multiplayer games that you can all play together. I’ve spent many fun evenings playing Rock Band with my dad and brothers. A tip, though: always let your dad play lead guitar and indulge him when he starts talking about his high school band.
Nick Cesare is a gamer and writer from Boise, ID. When the weather’s fair he enjoys biking in the Boise foothills.