Mother's Day is such a struggle for the grown-up gamer.
Let's face it, if you're working and have a family, your weekends are already full.
The adult gamer, if he or she is lucky, gets maybe one an empty afternoon every couple weeks for putting feet up on the coffee table and tuning out the kids, the spouse, and the honey-do list.
And we guard those afternoons preciously.
So when a holiday — one you absolutely, cannot miss — comes upon a Sunday, it's a struggle to tear yourself away from the lure of a controller, head to the florist, and grin through brunch.
There is an answer. If you're a gamer, and you've got a mother — or a mother of your children — there's no reason those two parts of your life need to be mutually exclusive. Bring the mother in your life into your gaming life.
Here's my suggestions of games to share with mom, even if she's not a hardcore like you.
Maybe this is a bit literal, but mothers are important to us, in part, because they clean up after us. Most of the time, thanklessly. The Katamari series lets your mom use those finely tuned pick-up skills to conquer space and time. As The Prince, you are instructed by your father, King of All Cosmos, to roll up katamaris on Earth to recreate planets and the sun. Yes, it does sound like a bad acid trip. But that's Katamari games for you. Bottom line, it's a fun game in which you roll around a ball picking up increasingly larger objects until the timer runs out. It's easy to learn, surprisingly addictive, and it's got a kitschy Japanese jazz soundtrack that gets in your head and stays there for a while. What's more, I Love Katamari, which has identical gameplay, is available for iPad and iPhone, Windows 7 phones, and Android devices, so mom can make this game her own ongoing addiction. Choose Beautiful Katamari for the Xbox 360 or Katamari Forever for the Playstation 3.
If your mom-in-question has a bit of a competitive spirit, consider this Playstation 3–exclusive title. As Sackboy and Sackgirl (or, as the case may be, Sackmom) players work competitively and cooperatively to get through mazes and puzzles. With more than three million user-created levels available, there's no lack of new and innovative match-ups to be made in the multiplayer mode. If she's a little more into solitary gaming, the campaign isn't too shabby either. With narration by actor Stephen Frey and a sophisticated soundtrack, there's an undeniable, joyful charm to the entire experience. Go a step further if you like, and use its simple-to-grasp creation tools to make your own Mother's Day–inspired level just for her. Mom may even find herself compelled to let loose her creative spirit and buiild a level of her own. Just don't be surprised if you find her abandoning that nurturing nature and tripping you up to cross the finish line first.
Some mothers aren't interested in picking up a controller. For them, the first two Uncharted games are a great way to get them involved with your play without boring them senseless with repetitive fight sequences. Both Playstation 3–exclusive titles are completely, wholly watchable, offering the spectator more of an "interactive action movie" experience than just about any other game. The characters are rich, the dialogue is well-written and performed. This is the movie that the last Indiana Jones sequel should have been but wasn't. While the third installment of the series, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is an equally spectacular work, the fact that it occurs so far into the Nathan Drake story might make it less appealing to someone who's never seen the other two.
This is a game for mothers with a edge. This revolutionary crime-drama title from Rockstar Games employed live actors in the characters' roles and used MotionScan technology to record every facial nuance. The result is a visually stunning game in which you must decide when people are lying based on their expressions and body language. You solve crimes — petty at first, increasingly serious as you progress — eventually leading to you to the Black Dahlia killer. This is a game that is fun to play as an individual but also ripe for team decision-making. Everyone can get involved — as long as everyone is old enough for a game containing nude corpses. Not for the faint-hearted mom, but if she's made of tougher stuff, and particularly if she's a true-crime or mystery buff, she will love, love, love either playing or watching this game. Just don't tell her it's from the guys who made Grand Theft Auto.
If your mom is known for her moves and isn't shy about it, haul out the Kinect and Dance Central 2. This Xbox 360–exclusive dance-competition game is tons of fun and gives her a chance to burn off some of that Mother's Day brunch. Harmonix leveraged its vast catalogue of Rock Band song rights to diversify into dance games, and the inclusion of the Kinect gives the title a complete lock on the market. There are other dance games out there, many of which focus on workouts and calorie burning. Dance Central 2 is by far the best at focusing on the fun of dancing and offers dance-off and head-to-head modes, so everyone can get involved. The great songs don't hurt, either.
Any other games you suggest might be good ways to get your mom on to couch next to you and joining in the game?