Birth of a Gamer
2, Issue 2
November 19, 1999
that age dont know how to be egotistical. Zach plays for
love of the game. I see traits in him that I see in great gamers.
He tries things just for the heck of it. He sees straight through
problems to simple solutions. I remember once in Q2CTF, he had
grabbed the flag and was heading back to base. I stood behind
him saying, Run! Back to your base! Run! He stopped
right in the middle of the map, despite my urging, and started
flipping through his weapons. What are you doing?
I cried. He switched to grenade launcher, resumed running, and
started laying a path of grenades to catch the enemies in his
wake. Shut me up pretty good.
come across Zach playing a game, completely oblivious to what
is going on in the game around him. Hes played for hours
upon hours with the grappling hook, seeing where this odd device
will take him. Ive found him sitting on wall lights, on
other players, on small outcroppings that cant be seen unless
youre standing on them. I once watched him play for over
an hour using nothing but the railgun. He was missing almost every
shot but it didnt bother him at all. He just kept shooting.
Ive only see dedication like that in hardcore gamers. Me,
Ill use the railgun for all of 5 minutes before giving up
in frustration and returning to a weapon I can actually use.
up the Unreal Tournament demo and was very pleased it had
a system for loading bots much like the Eraser. Zach loves it.
And it kills me the stuff he comes up with. He can show me something
I didnt know almost every day. For example, when you use
the Shock Rifle and secondary fire, it shoots an exploding ball
of, um, something that looks like electricity or plasma. Bud did
you know, if you quickly switch to primary fire (which shoots
kind of like a railgun) and shoot, you can use it to detonate
the ball before it hits? I came across Zach using this technique
just other day. There was an enemy shooting out of his line of
sight, so, he shot the ball, then exploded it after it passed
a corner. It makes me want to shout, Kid, youre only
3 years old! Who do you think you are? Stop it already!
no fanfare. No bravado. He doesnt jump and shout, Look
what I can do Daddy! He doesnt gather his friends
around so he can gloat on some technique he has learned. He does
it because it works. He does it for love of the game. And he moves
does it end? I came home the other day and found Zach checking
my e-mail. He cant read, and cant make heads or tails
of whats coming in, but that doesnt matter. He dials
the ISP, loads e-mail, clicks Send and Receive, and
watches it come in. I have to be careful and stop him before he
starts trying things, though.
what youre thinking. Can he whup me? No. The reflexes of
young children are nowhere near as refined as adults or teenagers
at such an early stage. My 8 year old can show some resistance,
but hes got a ways to go too. I own them every time.
is Zach? As I said before, Im a parent and so Im proud
as all heck of my little boy, as Im sure all parents are.
So Ill give the masses the benefit of the doubt, and its
why I talk about the next generation of gamers. If our kids are
all like Zach, whats in store for us? Will we one day fall
prey to our little tykes, as they jump online and own
us in droves? Will we one day start all our stories with, in
my day... while we watch the next generation inherit the
online community? I dunno. I bet this is how it starts.
Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon is currently exhausting all
his free time researching Beer Goggles.