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“Father-Daughter Appointment Gaming”

We had video games in the house since the children were young. This meant that they each found games that they enjoyed as they grew up. As well as helping them find these, I also put time into finding games for them to play with me.

At first this was to introduce them to a wider breadth of games than they would find themselves, but it developed into a valuable way to connect with them in the evenings.

Ellen and I worked our way through a range of games that had a strong narrative. We would take turns with the controller, discussing what we should do next or what was happening to the different characters.

In an unexpected way, this became an important time to connect and enjoy each other's company in the evening. Like sharing a walk or a car journey, playing together was an easy time to reconnect, talk about worries and find reassurance that we both still wanted to meet in our games - no matter what was happening in the real world.
 

Outcome
Regular time for father and daughter to reconnect and talk.


This outcome arises from the following 8 milestones over the span of 9 years, from 9 - 18 years-old:

DetailsPathway Details

Name: Ellen Robertson
Stage of Life: 9 - 18 years-old
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle, Race, Role-Play, Shooting and Stealth
Platforms: Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 4
 

 

First Video Game Adventures

Age: 9-years-old / 01/01/2012 / 10 years ago

Play Styles: Cooperative Local and Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play)

Platform: Nintendo Wii

We played Skylanders together as a family, particularly the first two Spyro's Adventure and Giants. This was usually in the sitting room with us rotating in to play the two players the game offers.

The game uses toy figures to unlock characters and store their progress. This was the best of the toys-to-life games for our family. So much so that we used the toys in other ways as well, like the made-up game of Skylanders Chess you can see below.

Ellen learnt the basics of moving around a game, working together and solving simple game puzzles.

Activities: Ellen found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Skylanders:


Invented Skylanders Chess
MAKING AND DESIGNING

Andy and Ellen used the Skylanders figures to invent a version of chess. Using the portal to make figures glow in certain places.
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Discovering Adventure Stories

Age: 11-years-old / 01/01/2014 / 8 years ago

Play Styles: Cooperative Local and Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play)

Platform: PlayStation 4

We played Knack together. This offered a deeper story than the Skylanders games we were playing previously. The first Knack game let a second player join as an assistant to the main player. This worked well playing with my daughter and we took turns being the main player.

We revisited the game when Knack 2 game out some years later. This offer stronger multiplayer modes but the kids were by then a bit old for this kind of game so we didn't play it as much.

This developed Ellen's skill at fighting enemies as well as some more in depth puzzle solving.

Taking on Combat Adventures

Age: 13-years-old / 01/01/2016 / 6 years ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play)

Platform: PlayStation 4

Having played many games as a family, Ellen had started to play less. I wanted to find a game that we could play together and had really enjoyed playing through the Uncharted games a few times on my own.

I suggested the game to her, and she was initially reluctant because of the need to shoot and deal with combat. We game it a go and I handled the shooting sections while she did the exploration. But she soon took on the combat as steadily improved.

Ellen got to grips with shooting and using cover in video games. It took a while but she steadily became proficient.

Deepening Combat Adventures

Age: 14-years-old / 01/01/2017 / 5 years ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play) and Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)

Platform: PlayStation 4

After the success of playing the first Uncharted game together we moved on to Among Thieves. This not only upped the production but took us back to spending time with the characters we got to know from the first game.

Our play time became a regular feature of the evening. I particularly enjoyed revisiting these games with Ellen's eye for story and character. While I sometimes missed what exactly was going on, Ellen could allows offer a helpful account for proceedings.

Ellen could now handle the characters well and fend for themselves in combat. We now took turns more based on time than whether shooting was required as we had the previous game.

Ellen got used to dealing with violence in video games, although at first was a little reluctant.

Adventuring with Old Friends

Age: 15-years-old / 01/01/2018 / 4 years ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play) and Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)

Platform: PlayStation 4

Into the third game of Uncharted series, it was clear we both wanted to complete the these games together. I was glad we had chosen these games as it meant we had lots of play time ahead of us before they were over.

We increasingly set aside regular time to play in the evening. We now knew the main characters pretty well and would discuss what we thought of the plot points and whether they were believable.

Ellen embraced the idea of being someone who enjoyed playing video games. She follow games online and suggested what to play next.

Finishing Our First Big Adventure

Age: 15-years-old / 01/01/2018 / 4 years ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play) and Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)

After a few years we made it to the final game. Finishing the series together felt like a real achievement. Over the years the game had cemented itself as part of our lives, as well as making game time something that would now continue into other games.

Ellen and Andy's relationship benefitted from time spent playing together. We had a reason to spend time on the sofa and loved progressing the adventure story.

From Adventures To Thrillers

Age: 16-years-old / 01/01/2019 / 3 years ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play) and Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)

Platform: PlayStation 4

After the success and enjoyment of Uncharted, we needed to find our next game to play. There was a bit of a gap as we struggled to find something to scratch that itch as well as Uncharted.

I suggested we try a game from the same developer, The Last of Us. Ellen was initially reluctant because of the older age rating and more pressured combat and scary zombies.

We gave it a try together. As with Uncharted, to begin with I looked after the combat encounters and Ellen dealt with exploration. This worked well and as the game proceeded she increasingly contributing to the combat encounters.

Ellen became accustomed to the fear of zombies and started to relish the thrill of these kinds of stories in games.

Activities: Ellen found that the following related activities worked alongside playing The Last Of Us:

Ellen enjoyed using the characters in the game as inspiration for A Level art work.
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Embracing Thrillers

Age: 18-years-old / 01/01/2021 / 23 months ago

Play Styles: Child and Parent Play Together (Cooperative Play)

Platform: PlayStation 4

By the time we had finished The Last Of Us Ellen was enthusiastic about the characters, stories and setting. I had by then moved on to play The Last of Us Part II on my own. Ellen had walked in now and again and was intrigued how this played out, but not sure she wanted to take on the more realistic combat.

By the time I had finished the game myself, Ellen was ready to give it a go with me. She researched the game and engaged with the wider community as we played.

We took our time to play through it in around 6 months. This was the time Ellen was working on her A Level art and she became fascinated by the setting and characters. This led to her creating a number of pieces of artwork based on characters and moments in the game.

I loved seeing her creative response to the game. She found that sharing the artwork online got an enthusiastic response from fans of the game and the game-art community.

Ellen was now proficient in shooting in video games, as well as navigating the different worlds and spaces efficiently and managing resources.
Ellen got into playing D&D role-play games with friends and took the lead on setting these sessions up, even persuading her younger brother to run the games.

Activities: Ellen found that the following related activities worked alongside playing The Last Of Us Part II:


Critical Role D&D
PODCAST AND MUSIC

Ellen enjoyed the D&D podcast with overlapping cast from the game's voice actors.
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In-Game Photography
CREATIVE ARTS

Ellen spent regular time with photo mode in the game. Both as a source for artwork, but also to grow understanding of photography.
More information
The game inspired Ellen's art in a number of different ways.
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Pathway Outcome

The culmination of the milestones in the pathway lead to Ellen regular time for father and daughter to reconnect and talk. We have described it as a linear journey, but of course, there is always a fair amount of back and forth between the games they played.

Along with the main outcome Ellen also changed in the following ways:

  • Behaviour: Ellen got into playing D&D role-play games with friends and took the lead on setting these sessions up, even persuading her younger brother to run the games.
  • Behaviour: Ellen became accustomed to the fear of zombies and started to relish the thrill of these kinds of stories in games.
  • Disposition: Ellen got used to dealing with violence in video games, although at first was a little reluctant.
  • Identity: Ellen embraced the idea of being someone who enjoyed playing video games. She follow games online and suggested what to play next.
  • Relationships: Ellen and Andy's relationship benefitted from time spent playing together. We had a reason to spend time on the sofa and loved progressing the adventure story.
  • Skill: Ellen was now proficient in shooting in video games, as well as navigating the different worlds and spaces efficiently and managing resources.
  • Skill: Ellen got to grips with shooting and using cover in video games. It took a while but she steadily became proficient.
  • Skill: This developed Ellen's skill at fighting enemies as well as some more in depth puzzle solving.
  • Skill: Ellen learnt the basics of moving around a game, working together and solving simple game puzzles.

We focus on how games contribute to this outcome, but also include related activities that play a part of this journey:

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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