I sometimes wonder if I was ever intended to grow up or if I am stuck in this quasi adult mind that races between the responsibilities of a business owner, farmer, father, and the things that fuel my passion for living cycling, exploring, and even in this case gaming. Having a 12 year old has not forced me to step up into my adult role nearly as much as it has refreshed my desire to see the world through his eyes. I also realize that this is my very short window when parents have the luxury being asked to participate and share in their activities or step to the side and let the tweens take over. I wish this pre teen sweet spot would never end. I always hear women pick up a baby and be all “oh my god this is the best age I wish they could stay this way forever” and I am like really?? Smelling, crying, completely helpless?? I have never understood that but I understand that much clearer now. I feel that the pre teens are that age for me.
Like all parents I have tried to wrap my mind around Minecraft and even taken the time to play it a little. However this requires the same amount of patience that I lacked playing lego as a kid (and adult). I understand the draw of the game and am amazed at the time and effort spent building and creating however time is not something that I have an abundance of in my life. So about 6/8 months ago when I was invited to play a new game with Chase I jumped at the opportunity. This game required very little of my time in fact it actually limited my time invested by forcing me to wait while items were being created. This was a game of war, strategy and some very clever ways to draw dollars out of player’s pockets. Check, check, and check, when it comes to peaking my interest. So I created TractorView on Clash of Clans.
It started out innocent enough building up my base, listening to the chat and jumping clan to clan as instructed mostly by Chase aka cdc2121. However somewhere along the way I lost patience and my golden rule kicked in “he who has the gold makes the rules” or in this he who has the gems in this case. As I leveled up and the wait times became unbearable despite cdc2121 building his empire without actual financial investment I just simply didn’t have that much time so I broke down and purchased my first Gem pack for $9.99. Gem pack after gem pack I worked my way up the ladder investing now a sum I don’t even care to tally.
However more interesting than the actual game and it’s seemingly endless earning potential is watching the team work, strategizing, chat, and coordinated effort among strangers to achieve a goal. The clan we ended up on is a friend Chase made from London who he met while exchanging Minecraft art on Instagram (that is a whole different post on it’s own). As I read the chat and banter back and forth within the Clan chat it made me realize how much communication I would have missed had I not decided to step in and participate in this one small aspect of his daily life. These games are not just about playing the game but are forming the way our kids communicate and learn online. Each game is a social network becoming a small subculture within their lives that we can choose to be a part of or be left in the dark.
We live in a different world now, it is not the same as it was 30 years ago and as a parent I feel that it is up to me to adapt and maintain relevance for as long as possible. I hear parents saying that their kids are speaking a different language and in time I know Chase will choose a language and platform that does not include me, but for now given any opportunity to step in and be an active part of his life makes my heart race with excitement. I have 101 directions that life and others are pulling me in my daily routine and playing games is not a top priority so some are surprised when they see me log in to collect elixir and gold. However spending time with Chase in any small way while he is willing to open up and asks me to participate is pretty much at the top of my priorities…. and this is why I Clan.