For many years at Thanksgiving, my mother would pull out a festive notebook and ask all of our family and guests to write down what they are thankful for at the time. It was a great way to reflect on the year’s events, and to record memories for future viewing. Most households have holiday traditions like this one; a means to spend time with loved ones and appreciate all the blessings that have been given throughout the year. Some people look forward to cooking as a family, or sitting down and watching football/parades together. What I looked forward to most of all (besides eating delicious food until stuffed) was coming back home and playing video games with my brother and sister.
I know that in our very electronically connected world, this may not seem like a big deal. Any day of the week I can easily hop on Xbox Live or the Playstation Network and play with my siblings over the Internet. But something fundamental is lost in the world of online gaming: the idea of a shared experience. Even though my brother and I might be playing Halo at the same time, we are hundreds of miles apart, communicating through headsets and occupying very separate spaces. I cannot look over and see the joy in my brother’s face during a solid gaming session, or delight in a home-cooked-post-battle meal with my family. When the game is over, we disconnect from the network, and our time together ends. So I make sure to cherish every moment spent playing video games back at my parents’ house.
One game that really brought the family together (and friends, and significant others, and random strangers) was Rock Band. Coming from a family where at least one person was singing around the house at any given moment, it is only natural that we would all love playing this musical title. After devouring our Thanksgiving feast, my siblings and I would take our places in front of our respective toy instruments and become the ultimate cover band. We played all the crowd requests and plenty of old favorites. Audience participation was not just encouraged, but mandatory, and our biggest fan would come up and sing a few tunes (read: our Mom sang “Aqualung,” and totally aced it). All of the distance and time spent apart melted away, and my siblings and I transformed into three scrappy kids again; huddled around our parents’ television to laugh and play video games together.
As Laura and I prepare to host our very first Thanksgiving at GIMMGP Headquarters, I know that we will begin some holiday traditions of our own. We already have a different menu than both of our families (we just can’t say no to smoked turkey legs), and some new guests are coming to dinner. But I know one thing will stay the same: after dinner, we will gather round our television, play plenty of video games, and be thankful for every moment we have with our friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!