Elias (my son, who is five) and I spent an hour playing video games in an arcade museum. Many of the machines — Asteroids, Millipede, Donkey Kong — were part of my childhood. And now here they are, in a museum.
It was great fun to revisit many of these old games. But the most fun was to play them side-by-side with my kid — especially those that allow two players to cooperate. We spent about 20 minutes on Double Dragon; Elias on a stool so he could reach the controls. He was Billy, and I was Jimmy, and in the virtual space our physical and cognitive differences fell away. Soon, E had mastered the mechanics of the world and was nearly as competent as I. We could explore the place together and collaborate as equals, something we’d never done before.
Compared to today’s VR platforms, Double Dragon is crude. Still, inhabiting a shared cognitive space with my son where our abilities were on par was incredibly powerful. I wonder if greater fidelity to reality would improve the experience.