Sunday, June 22, 2008

I am my sons hero

I am sure there are hundreds and hundreds of ways to gain the heroic admiration of your children. Championing caused that affect and change the lives of people. Participating in activities that raise awareness or money to help the a cause. Maybe saving the life of a stranger or a simple act of kindness. Some of these things are in my past but I am not my sons hero for these benevolent actions. I am my sons hero, this week, because of a video game.

The groundwork was laid eight years ago when my son was a mere four years old. I needed a long term plan. It is the new millennium, the year 2000, I have two small children a decent job, wonderful and lovely wife. It was a great time. But what about the future? Without a plan, a goal, something to work towards I am drift along in the sea of life. The things I did now will affect my life years down the road. The butterfly affect of life.

A lot changed around that time. Just a few years earlier my wife was callously mistreated by Maxim Integrated Products. The Machiavellian Maxim employed a number low handed, illegal maneuvers to force women returning from maternity leave to leave the company. My wife was a casualty of their heinous practices. We could have sued and surely won but that was not what we did. We moved on. She excelled in a few more jobs before being laid off again. She decided to stay home with the kids for a few years. No better decision has ever been made. I have 1 and 1/2 perfect children now, but that is a different dramatization.

Life was different for a couple years. Work was great and I was compensated well but it was still hard to provide for the family of four. The new millennium brought new changes. I changed jobs for more money just three miles from home. Close to home, more money, no commute. A lot changed. The big change was playing Diablo II. The most advanced and amazing fantasy video games ever conceived. Come on, play along. that was how it seemed at the time. hen, in 2001, the Lord of Destruction Expansion Set was released. A new era of gaming goodness was upon us. Forever we, the few and chosen could forever look back on this time as the new dawn of video games. Banished were the bulky blocks of pixelated madness. DII LoD forever changed the landscape of video gaming. I paid endless hours of homage to this deity of visual magnificence. My four year old sometimes at my side. Watching me free the lands from the evil rule pressed and dominated.

Time passed and the evil was vanquished. From time to time I would return to ensure the evil had not resurrected to permeate back through the lands. Now older and more aware, my son would watch me with great awe and wonderment. A tiny spark had ignited within him only to lay dormant for a few more years.

At eleven, my son started asking to play this ancient game. A couple times I fired it up to entertain us for an hour here an there. This only seemed to reignite the spark that lay dormant within him. A couple days ago played the game for him and then let him create his own character and play it. He is so excited and happy to be playing this game that came out when he was a tiny baby. The game play is still amazing. In this day of some any advanced gaming systems it is hard to imagine a game released seven years ago could still capture a 12 year olds attention. With games like Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 or Super Mario on the Wii a game like DII LoD, released in 2001, has him excited and wanting to play more and more.

Just letting him play elevated my status to near hero level. Ah, so close but so far. What was the tipping point? The multi player cooperative mode you ask? Well sort of. Just yesterday I enabled us to play together vanquishing evil from the lands. His character is excellent. My son has intuitively picked up the game and nuances of game play. He is a far more advanced game player than I ever was. It is a sign of the times. With a little thought into his characters attribute management, he will have completely outclassed me. But for now I have something he does not. I have time. Time spent that is. Months and months spent building and rebuilding my character. You see, I have a very powerful game character. One who has vanquished all evil from the lands more than once. And that my friends is what was the tipping point to hero status. When out characters joined together in this fantasy world he was simply in awe of the power and ability I possessed. At his level, nothing can touch me. I am immortal at this level.

I know I stand on shaky ground. It is only a matter of time before his natural skills will take him further and faster than I can imagine. In life and in this game. But, for now, I am his hero and it feels really good.

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