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11/09/2007 Family Family Gamer Article
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I should confess before I start, I'm feeling a little philosophical this week. I have spent most of it in and out of hospital, and setting up the birth pool; getting ready for the arrival of the next addition to the family. So, you may need to forgive me if I get all... existential.

Looking ahead to the upcoming releases for Christmas and feeling an almost palpable inability to wait that long is a familiar feeling to the majority of gamers. The general impatience of the culture at large and our particularly frenzied gaming world conspire to move us ever forward to the next big thing. The ever moving media circus around each release calls us away from the games we have in hand, towards the games we should want to own. We are taught to be discontented with what we have. After all, how do you sell contented people something, if they're already happy with their current lot?

Right now we are waiting for our third child to decide he is ready to join the rest of the world and be born. If ever there was a big release date, for our family this is the triple-A release of the year. Add to that the nine months slow growing anticipation of meeting this new little human being we have created, and you can imagine how exciting things are for us. So much so that I have even lost track of the upcoming November releases (shock!).

If ever there was a big release date, for our family this is the triple-A release of the year.

But maybe, just maybe, my impending second son has gifted me with a bit of much needed perspective on the frenzy of marketing hype, and gamer-clammering. It's something of a relief to be able to take the foot off the gas for a while and stroll through some of those games I'd not yet got around to playing, blissfully unaware of what else may be on the horizon.

They say that kids grow up fast, and you should make every effort to enjoy them whilst they are still young. As with most of these old sayings, there is a lot of truth in this. It seems just like yesterday that we were waiting for the arrival of our first offspring. Our daughter, now four, is getting ready to start school and take her first steps towards her own life. Granted it will be a little while before she flies the nest, but where did those four years go? It is easy to be so busy with life and work that we miss the things we most enjoy.

There are many games that I know I have missed out on because of rushing onto the next must-have release. Along the way, my hobby is the poorer for my lack of dedication to what I have in hand, in favour of a newer release. At the end of my life, I know that I won't say 'I wish I spent more time at work', but I may well think 'Could I have enjoyed the kids more when they were young'. Accordingly, I wonder how many of us will think 'why didn't I ever get around to playing the games I most enjoyed'.

I think the most interesting comment about the new 40GB PS3's lack of compatibility relates to what this says about Sony's attitude to its gaming heritage. They say they want to encourage people to play PS3 games. But it is sad that in doing so they cut those people off from their fine gaming history. This revisionist approach to the gaming world fails to capitalise on our most valuable resource: all that has gone before.

On these grounds it is heartening to see Nintendo still imagining their well worn characters in new and entertaining games. The Virtual Console combined with the Wii's ability to play GameCube games, means that it is not only a great little next generation console, but a piece of kit that connects you to over 20 years of gaming heritage. And rightly so, as this tradition doesn't belong to a corporation, it belongs to every gamer!

With a hobby the stakes are obviously not as high, but let's take a moment to slow down and enjoy all the games the world has already created. Let's pause to enjoy the passing generation before we rush on to PS4, 720 and Wii2.

Written by Andy Robertson

You can support Andy by buying Gestation Gaming

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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