Gamer Spotlight: Nintendo Dads


Zac Erickson, Justin Masson, Jesse Waldack

Hosts of the podcast Nintendo Dads

Twitter: @NintendoDads

Nintendo Dads is a weekly gaming podcast that began in November 2014 and features three dads going in depth to bring you everything Nintendo related. The family friendly show brings you the latest news and reviews as well as the occasional nugget of parenting wisdom. From Pokemon to playdates. Zac, Justin and Jesse have all the issues covered for Nintendo fans of all ages. You can find their show on iTunes or at

What is the first video game you ever played?

Zach: “It definately would have been something on the Game Boy. I have a lot of great memories of playing games on long road trips visiting family over spring break. Some of the most memorable definately include Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Fortress of Fear, Golf, and Baseball. I also remember getting a Sega Genesis fairly early on, and playing games like Sonic 2, Jurassic Park, and Phantasy Star 2.”

Justin: It’s tough to say what my first video game I ever played, but my first video game memory was playing the original Mario Bros for the NES. I distinctly remember saving up chore money and birthday money for almost 6 months to purchase it. It was my first “big purchase” as a young child and was very memorable. The amount of mornings I sat a few feet away from the tv, right before school, and played Mario Bros is such a burned memory in my mind.”

Jesse: “The first game that I remember playing was “Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack” for the Intellivision.  I think I was 5 or 6 years old.”

What is your favorite game of all time?

Zach: “Oh man, that’s hard. When I think about what I got the most out of growing up, it was definately Pokemon Blue. I feel like that game was way more hardcore in my head than the developers eventually took the series. Gen 1 felt gritty, which is something they quickly lost. They just had a great sense of adventure, and I dumped hundreds of hours into those games. I actually remember having a paper route, and playing that game with one hand in the freezing cold as I rode my bike around. This was on an old school brick Game Boy, by the way. I was pumped when I upgraded to a Game Boy Color, because I could hold it easier in one hand.”

Justin: “Ugh…this is always such a tough question! I waffle between two games; Super Mario Bros 3 (NES) and Donkey Kong County (SNES). I feel that SMB3 was such a key game in the NES life cycle and layed so many bricks (no pun intended) in the Mario franchise that it changed the series going forward…plus, lets be honest, it had the best suits 😉

As for DKC, I have such strong memories of my mother and I playing that game together on our couch at home and specifically the mine cart levels. My mom use to yank on the controller, upward, to make DK jump but almost always unplug the controller in the process…it was a good laugh.”

Jesse: “Final Fantasy VI”

Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?

Zach: “I love spending time with my family, and especially my kids. I’m a pretty laid back guy, and like to make my kids laugh. I’m a weirdo-type dad, and like to be my kids’ friend as much as possible. I love to draw and doodle. I’ve started getting into using high end Copic markers, so that’s pretty cool. And, of course, I’m a podcaster. Nintendo Dads has been an awesome project for the past year, and I love getting together with Justin and Jesse every Wednesday night to talk about Nintendo.”

Justin: “Living in Southern Alberta I’m about 90 minutes away from the rockie mountains which is an incredible place to spend the weekend either camping, hiking or kayaking. I really enjoy exploring the great outdoors with my family and my two daughters are becoming amazing little campers 🙂

As a family we also enjoy play board games together and our current favourites include Exploding Kittens, Kings of Toyko and Tsuro.”


Jesse: “When I’m not gaming, working, or doing something with the family, I’m usually playing poker.”

How do you balance gaming and family life?

Zach: “It’s always tricky, but in the words of Stephen Covey, “Put First Things First.” I’m not perfect at it, but I try to make sure my gaming time is kept firmly in the “hobby” category. I also try and engage with my kids in their gaming, even if that means playing games to 100% completion because my 5-year-old son wants every single character unlocked in Lego Marvel. If something is interesting to him, it’s interesting to me(at least somewhat…). And, as a therapist in training, I feel the need to say that I’ll never get to the point where I’m actually as balanced as I want to be. I’m dedicated to always working to be better than I am today, whether that’s as a dad, a husband, or a podcaster. Just enjoy the journey, and make good memories with your kids while they’re still kids! :)”

Justin: “This is probably one of the largest topics that I struggled with, especially as my child got older and more active. When my daughters were just babies I would play from 11pm – 2am after everyone in the house had fallen asleep but as they got a little older (2-4 years old) I had to sneak gaming in during nap times. The awesome part is they are now old enough to play games with me, so I look for couch coop games that we can both enjoy or just pass the game pad back and forth between lives or levels. My family life always has to come before my gaming life, which is the proper behaviour model to demonstrate with children, so it’s a great reward to play games together…especially if all your chores and homework is done 😉

Most family gaming takes place on the WiiU (ex: Splatoon, Yoshi Wolly World, Mario World) and my own “personal” gaming time occurs on my 3DS (ex: SteamWorld Heist, A Link Between Worlds, Shovel Knight) which allows me to game in short bursts of time either travelling or in between meetings.

Probably one of the biggest parts of “family gaming” is the support of my wife, Jodi. I grew up playing games and they’ve always been a part of my life so when I started dating my wife it was something she was aware was important to me. Luckily she enjoyed playing video games also and it’s something that we do together even to this day. Her favourite games are Dr Mario, Super Mario Galaxy and the Mario Party series. Both days my daughters were born my wife was playing Nintendo games to distract her from early contractions…so I guess the girls were destined to be little gamers :)”

Jesse: “Gaming simply gets a lower priority over other things.  Work and Family are first.  With a wife and three teenagers, that doesn’t leave a lot of time remaining.  One needs a ride to work and back a few hours later; another stays after school without telling me so I have to pick him up; and the third wants to go to friends, or shopping, or something  all the time.  Wednesday nights we record Nintendo Dads and then posted Thursday mornings.  What time is left (if any), is used for gaming.”


One thought on “Gamer Spotlight: Nintendo Dads

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: