{November 20, 2011}   From Madden to Super Mario Bros.

When I met my husband, he spent many hours addicted to playing video games. His drug of choice? Madden, an NFL game. In fact, we met in a college class. A class that he was three weeks late in attending. His excuse was that the new Madden game had come out and he could not make it to class, because he needed to play the game.

As the years progressed, I think that I must have gotten used to him playing. He would sit on the floor with the controller in his hands while I curled up on the couch reading a book. It was a peaceful arrangement that was only occasionally disrupted by my then-boyfriend yelling at the TV because a player on his team had dropped a pass. I got used to reading about social injustice or Jewish concentrations camps while listening to John Madden’s “brilliant” obvious game commentary. Without even watching the game, I learned that “if you throw the ball to the other team, that’s an interception.” Or, “They’re gonna have to put some points on the board if they want to win the game.”

Shortly after our first wedding anniversary, I gave birth to our oldest daughter. It was not long after, that I was finally able to convince my husband to put down the sticks and pick up a bottle. A new baby meant more responsibilities and less time to play. We were official grown ups and needed to act the part. Thankfully, he was also growing tired of Madden.

I lived in this “only occasional video game playing utopia” for about seven and a half years. It was wonderful. My husband and I talked, we cooked together we even went to bed at the same time. We still had video game consoles (just in case), but he rarely played them.

We now have three small children. Our oldest is seven, we have a five year old son and a two year old daughter. When the Wii came out, we purchased one for the kids to play. It was great fun to watch them play the Michael Jackson Dance game, or to see them compete in the bowling game, but they could take it or leave it. The Wii was only for occasional fun. A rainy day activity, if you will.

A few weeks ago, my husband downloaded Super Mario Bros. (1,2 and 3) on to the Wii. He had a great time reminiscing about his childhood while he played the game. Soon the kids were interested and constantly wanted to play. They would ask if “daddy could play” with them.

Our time together has dwindled. I have come to the conclusion that it has been a conspiracy from the day our oldest child was born. He must have said to himself that he would give up Madden for a time, but when the kids were old enough, he was going to get me back. This he has done with a vengeance.

Our daughter does not want to do her homework because she wants to play Super Mario Bros. Our son is too busy to take his bath because he has to save the princess. So after I am “mean mommy” and get everyone to bed, I go downstairs only to find my husband playing the game. He smirks at me while Mario catches a feather so he can fly above the evil ghosts who are trying to take away one of his lives. Meanwhile, I am in the kitchen cooking alone. I wonder what book would pair well with the Mario Bros. theme song playing in the background?


et cetera