Gaming is a hobby not uncommon amongst men of a certain age. As the culture and industry grow older, so does the demographic of today’s gamer. We are getting older, more diverse, and arguably more mature. That’s kind of what Mega Dads is all about. John and I reflected and channeled this idea when we created Mega Dads 4 years ago and it’s kind of the foundation of everything that we do. With that being said, one thing that John and I have learned to live with in our love of middle-aged gaming is that our spouses for the most part couldn’t give a flaming shit about what’s dropping on Game Pass next month or just what is going to happen next to Joel and Ellie. It’s just not in their wheelhouse.
Yet somehow here I sit in a Los Angeles apartment writing this article, sandwiched between E3 press conferences with both my wife and two children here along for the ride. So how, you may ask, did I pull this shit off? Let me give you some tips on how to trick your family into thinking they are going on vacation but they’re really enabling you by going to a super-nerd power-convention.
Tip 1: Make sure your nerd event is in a destination location.
The odds of your spouse agreeing to buy airfare to your event is greatly increased if you are in the proximity of something worth caring about. So make sure if you’re going to try to make this difficult feat happen that you’re not trying to attend “Naruto-Con in Mason City Iowa”. Unless your wife is like super into corn… E3 is in the heart of Los Angeles and there are many surrounding attractions, sights and events to entice my wife to tag-along. While I’m exploring the sand dunes with my off-road buggy in Forza Horizon 4, my wife and kids could be building sand castles on the beach. It’s like we’re practically doing the same thing, right?
Tip 2: Plant the seed of interest in at least one of your children.
I’ve been corrupting my son Elliott with a love of Mario, Ratchet & Clank, and The Last Guardian in an attempt to breed an in-home gaming companion. One day I’ll have a small human who will listen with interest as I talk shop about the game industry. An additional bonus is that with a budding gamer in the family I can put him to work helping to create content for our Mega Dads coverage, as well as use him as a foil when I come home from the convention with a shit-ton of merch. My wife will be marginally convinced it’s for Elliott and we all go home none-the-wiser.
Tip 3: Leverage the event with an equally expensive practical purchase.
Going to E3 is expensive. There’s no getting around that, so to ease the guilt of spending the money on flying halfway across the country to play with your online friends you should find a project to get done around the house that your wife has been wanting to do for ages. In our case it was repairing the deck. Sure, it’s going to double the amount of money coming out of your bank account and possibly bring you to the brink of financial ruin, but now your wife won’t be able to pin your crushing debt solely on you, and you’ll have spent literally thousands of dollars to get a Splatoon lanyard and to shake hands with a podcaster who will forget your name five minutes after your interaction. It’s a win-win.
Finally (and all joking aside) the only real secret is to find someone who truly cares about you. That’s what I did. My wife may not know who Sam Fisher is, or know why the brothers are smashing, but she does know that it’s moments like this, like going to E3, that’s I’ve been dreaming of for decades. Getting to E3 is challenging, bringing your family along is infinitely more so, but it’s also so much more rewarding. The memories that I make in the convention center and in the auditoriums housing press briefings will be exponentially better because I get to return to this apartment and gush to my wife, and still rub my sons back as he falls asleep.
This is the best way to experience E3. I’m so lucky for so many reasons. Not only because I get to cover E3 as a media professional (that’s what my badge tells me), but because I get to make these memories with my family.