Autism Awareness Blog Hop – Learning to Play Again

Banner: Autism Awareness Blog-Hop Event. "Childhood Toys"
Graphic of cardboard box with toys like teddy bear, hobby horse, etc

Autism Fact of the Day:

Seventy per cent of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. Seventy per cent of autistic adults also told us that with more support they would feel less isolated.

A Childhood Toy

Quote graphic reading, "It's easy to lose our natural sense of wonder and enjoyment. But just like awareness, they are here nonetheless, waiting to be rediscovered.
Words of wisdom from my Headspace meditation app

I’m thrilled to be taking part in RJ Scott’s annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop event. Check out the full list of posts and join the hop!

Once I realized this post would be going up on April 24, one day after the release of Play Hard, starring a video-game developer, I knew I had to talk about video games, a childhood love I’ve only recently welcomed back into my life.

Our first console was the Coleco Telstar and its classic “Pong” games–including handball, which, glory of glories, could be played alone (an important feature for a kid whose brother and sister were 8 and 10 years older and therefore actually had homework).

Black and white Telstar video game console on wooden table.
Credit: Keith Pomakis. Used without alteration under CC License 2.5.

(Yes, I am totally dating myself by discussing these things. If I wanted to hide how old I was, I’d claim I played with nothing but crayons and paper (they still make paper, right?).)

Then, of course, came the Atari 2600:

Atari 2600 video-game console with joystick
Credit: Public Domain

And finally the Nintendo Entertainment System:

Nintendo Entertainment System console with controller
Credit: Public Domain

Honestly, I don’t know why my parents kept buying more video games, because the games clearly interfered with my ability to hear their voices. Maybe it was because they liked them too! In fact, when I was a teenager, playing video games with my dad was the only time we stopped arguing. πŸ˜€

But then…I went to university and put away childish things. For several years a darkness fell upon the earth, when video games seemed a fad of the past. Now we had the internet–why play silly games when you could participate in usenet chats and ooooooh…visit all the new web pages?

Then in 2015 I wrote Playing With Fire and decided to make one of the main characters a video-game designer. This required learning about the latest developments in the industry and watching play-throughs on YouTube. (I spent 8 hours watching a dude play Dragon Age: Inquisition just so I could write a single scene, but that scene was SOLID.)

Now video games have sucked me back in. I’m fascinated. All the limitations that frustrated me about classic games (“Why can’t I drive OFF the road? I want to see what’s over there!”) have vanished, and video-game creation is as much a creative endeavor as films, paintings, or novels.

GIVEAWAY

To win your choice of ebook from my backlist, leave a comment about your favorite video game, past or present. OR, if you’re not into video games, tell me one toy or game you’ve rediscovered as an adult, something that brings you the sort of joy you thought was left behind in childhood.

Entries are open until 11:59pm Tuesday, April 30. Please leave a way to contact you (email, social media link, etc) in your comment.

And be sure to check out my new release, Play Hard! It’s the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now. See yesterday’s release post for more details, including an excerpt and links to more giveaways!

Book promo graphic. Text: "I'll always want more of you."
-Happier-Ever-After
-Best Friends
-Bisexual MC
-Toys ’n’ games
New release! averycockburn.com
Book cover features two young men snuggling on a tartan duvet, plus title β€œPlay Hard: A Glasgow Lads Novella by Avery Cockburn"

7 thoughts on “Autism Awareness Blog Hop – Learning to Play Again

  1. Thank you for the post, Avery. I remember those consoles, my first was an Spectrum… LOL. As for favourite video game, it was Packman, a classic

    • I remember buying a book on how to beat the arcade version of that game–it gave step-by-step instructions on where to turn, etc. Problem was, by the time the book came out, most of the machines had been reprogrammed. πŸ˜€

  2. There was a video game that you could play on a computer called Loadrunner. It was a little guy running around trying to collect barrels while avoiding the bad guys. It required digging and using the bad guys to get some of the barrels. We had a version that allowed you to make your own levels, which was really fun!

  3. I never owned a video game console. I did own several classic video games for DOS and played them for hours on my original IBM PC back in the early 80’s. Ms PacMan and Dig Dug were favorites.

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