During my holiday vacation, there were many mornings where the baby had gone for a nap and Teri wasn't quite yet awake. I found myself revisiting memories from my childhood of playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with my Mom. I loaded up the ROM for Dragon Warrior on my Recalbox and set off on a quest to save the princess and rid the land of a tyrant in all of its 8-bit glory.
My parents had me later in life, so my mother wasn't highly dexterous, so games like Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt were out; however, she loved playing RPGs with me. Dragon Warrior, the first game in the Dragon Quest franchise, was groundbreaking for 1989 (North American release). Dragon Warrior was the precursor to many famous RPGs such as Final Fantasy.
I remember Mom getting this game for us shortly after its release. She would often grind levels on characters while I was at school. Later, after my homework was done, we would continue the story arch of the game. Mom loved puzzles. She would use graph paper to create detailed dungeon maps and would take notes of all the clues given by NPC characters from the different towns and villages on our quests. I cherish those memories I have with her. Memories of having to solve all of the mysteries of a video game without the use of the Internet. There were no walkthroughs or fan sites. The only way to get help was if the game developer or an authorized party published a physical strategy guide at the local bookstore or if you were willing to call an expensive 900 number tip line where they kept game solutions.
Mom and I had a lot of adventures on our Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and our first home PC. Many kids would have been upset that their Mom wanted to use their game consoles or computer. I never rationalized it that way. My Mom was one of my greatest friends and I loved spending time with her. In reflecting on being a father now, I can see how much unconditional love she had for me and how cool it was that she found video games as a way to relate to her son.
Some call it inner-peace or some sort of zen, but as I sat at home over my holiday from work playing Dragon Warrior, I felt like Mom was there too, beaming with pride at all that I've accomplished in my own life, as I revisited one of our favorite shared adventures once again.