Neither of my parents have been what you could consider "gamers". My dad has only ever played video games at the behest of kid-Chary desperately wanting a P2 for Super Smash Bros, while my mom stood in line for the launch day of Sonic 2 on the Genesis, loved it to death, and then promptly never cared about video games again. (Except for animal crossing)
So it was quite a surprise when my mom and dad excitedly told me that they had purchased an arcade cabinet as an early Christmas present for themselves. One of those cutesy Arcade1Up ones, with 6 games. Apparently, they'd both really loved the idea of being able to play a video game without having to turn on a "really confusing game system and have to select one from the menu". Which, honestly, I think they just were having a lot of trouble with pointing the Wiimote at the TV and pressing "Animal Crossing". That, or the poor Wiimote ran out of batteries and they totally forgot to replace them.
Regardless, the Pac-Man machine arrived, and we spent the night before Thanksgiving setting it up. Meaning, my mom and I set it up, while my dad would occasionally hand me the screwdriver, so that he could pretend he was totally helping. The second it was ready to be plugged in, my parents were already fighting over who could play first. My dad decided in the end that ladies go first, but I think he just realized the longer they stayed in stalemate arguing, the longer it would take for anyone to play. Her first move was to immediately run Pac-Man face first into a ghost.
Mom: Oh no! The ghost guy got me!
Dad: Well, maybe if you played better you would have won.
Which I can only assume is the snarky boomer version of "git gud scrub".
Dad: Okay, is my turn now. I am Pac-Man champion, just watch!
Our reigning champion proceeds to stick Pac-Man in the corner.
Dad: See, the ghosts can't get me if I hide! Then ghosts go away.
Somehow, the ghosts see through my dad's genius ploy. So, his next great plan is...to run into them. To which he's very confused as to why Pac-Man can't beat them. I tell him to he needs to get the little pellets so that he can win.
Dad: So is Pac-Man bird?
Dad: He's eating all these bird seeds, so he must be bird.
His bird-headcannons are further reinforced when fruit appears, and he runs into it, because "Birds eat fruit! Pac-Man is bird. Fruit is good".
Me: Dad, did you know people used to have to pay quarters to play this every time they lost?
Dad: Every time? The Pac-Man must have made millions, no, billiards of dollars!
So, after a few rounds, we all say goodnight. Until I wake up, late at night, only to hear Pac-Man noises in the living room. My dad is sitting there, glasses on, chair pulled up to the cabinet. He'd apparently been playing all night, practicing, trying to break my mom's score.
A high score of 5,000.
After half a night, and through the help of my coaching, my dad finally gets to complete the first level of Pac-Man.
Dad: Oh! Oh! I won! I beat the whole game! See, I told you I am champion!
Dad: Wait what's happening? Why is there another?
Dad: There is more?! Why is there more!
To his horror, Pac-Man isn't just one single level. So, now he's on a mission. A mission to beat level 2 of Pac-Man, so that he may find further terror when he realizes there's even a level 3.
Maybe, one day, he'll even reach a level 4.
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