Ellen sat on the edge of the couch, practically hunched over her controller. “Come on,” she hissed. “Come on…” Her team had been on this map for over an hour now, trying to capture the last point. At least, she’d been trying to capture the last point. The rest of her team were a bunch of idiots who couldn’t do anything but get themselves blown up-like the person she’d been trying to capture the point with just now. “Oh my Goooddd!” she groaned.
“I thought the point of that game was to have fun. You sound miserable.”
Ellen turned around to look at her father while she was in respawn. “It is fun, when my teammates don’t suck!”
Her father rolled his eyes and went back to the paperwork he had spread out on his kitchen table. “You know, I’m starting to regret buying you that contraption for your Birthday..”
Ellen scoffed and turned her attention back to the game. She’d respawned finally and hurried back to where the last point was. “You didn’t buy me anything Old Man. You gave me $500 and told me buy whatever I wanted.”
“Well, I’m starting to regret it. Next year, I’m getting you a gift certificate for Wall. E. Weasel’s.”
Ellen had choice words for that threat, but was quickly distracted by the dying screams of her teammate, who, once again, had foregone getting on the point and wasted time attacking the gun turret set up next to it with a baseball bat. Against her better judgement Ellen grabbed the headset next to her on the couch and put it on, turning on the microphone as well. “Stop screwing around and get on the freakin’ point dumbass!”
“Ellen!” she heard her father scold. “Language!”
Ellen ignored him to focus on the game. Finally, finally her team had captured the point and could move on to the next map. “Sorry Pops,” she said absently as the map was loading. “You know for a former super villian, you’re a prude.”
She heard her father huff. “Well, pardon me for at least attempting to behave in a classy manner. You could learn something from that.”
“Blah blah blah,” Ellen said as the teams scrambled. She saw the team make-up and groaned. The same group of idiots all over again. And this was the low gravity custom map too. This was gonna suck so bad. She looked over her shoulder and saw that her father was intently watching her from the kitchen table. He looked curious. “Are you sure you don’t wanna try it Old Man? I think you’d like playing Engineer.”
Her father shook his head. “No, if I want to avoid getting shot, blown up, or set on fire while attempting to steal data, I’d just go to work today.”
Ellen nodded as she selected her main. “Yeah. Guess video games aren’t so fun for you, huh Pops?”
She heard her father chuckle a bit. “Actually, I was a regular at the old arcade in my neighborhood when I was your age. When I was younger than you actually.” His voice turned almost wistful. “Those are some of the only fond memories I have of my childhood.”
Ellen went idle for a moment, suddenly interested in what the Old Man was saying. He almost never talked about his childhood. From what she’d picked up on the few times he had, she didn’t blame him. She wished she could kick her grandfather’s ass. “Yeah?” she said. “Bet you got all the high scores, huh?”
She turned her head a bit and caught her father grin. “Had the top score on Space Invaders until the day the arcade shut down.” He gestured back at his television. “I think your teammates started without you.”
Ellen turned so quickly she almost gave herself whiplash. “Yeah? Well, watch this Old Man, I’m about to have the top score on this map!” Then she saw her team and her jaw dropped. “What the Hell!? Why the fuck do we have six medics!?”
“Why do we have a little kid on our team?” Ellen heard through her speakers.
“I’m not a little kid, I’m a girl numbnuts!”
“Ellen Diane Dixon, if I have to warn you one more time-”
“No way. Girls don’t play this!”
“Dude, I’m pretty sure that’s a chick.” Another voice spoke up.
Ellen felt her face flush a bit. This was why she never played with a mic on. This was exactly why. “Shut up,” she hissed. “Can we just play this stupid fuckin’ map already-”
Ellen almost jumped when she felt her headset being plucked off of her. She looked up to see her agitated father standing over her. “That does it!” he said. “Game over! Unplug that-”
Before her father could continue, the first voice yelled out “If you’re a girl, prove it! Send us pictures!”
Ellen cringed as her father’s face went from angry, to startled, to absolutely thunderous. He raised the headset microphone to his own mouth and said in a voice as cold as ice “Did you just solicit my 16 year old daughter for pictures, you reprobate?”
There was silence over the headset and Ellen cringed. Seeing her father like this made her realize all to clearly what kind of man her father used to be. Finally, the first voice asked “Is she hot?”
Ellen watched her father’s eyes narrow. He then returned Ellen’s headset and walked back to the kitchen table. He opened his laptop and began to type something furiously. Ellen let herself go into spectator mode as she watched her father work. Finally, about ten minutes later, her father closed his laptop. “There. Finished.” He looked back up at her. “You may return to your cartoonish, overly violent mayhem Ellen.”
“‘Kay,” she said nervously. Just what had her father done? She rejoined the game only to see that she had 200% health. Through the speaker on her discarded headset, she heard a teammate cry out dismay.
“What the fuck!? Why am I only at 5 health?”
“Dude! Me too!”
Ellen slowly turned back to face her father. “Pops?” she asked. “What did you do?”
Her father grinned. “I hacked the game child.”
“Pops!” she cried out. “I could get banned for that!”
Her father just chuckled a bit. “Ellen,” he said in a smug manner. “Do you really think I don’t have just about the most safeguarded IP address known to man? Do you think I would have let you set that thing up and play if I didn’t?”
Oh. That actually made sense. Her father continued “I also took the liberty of enabling Friendly fire. And invulnerability for you. Have at them.”
Ellen grinned. “You’re kind of awesome, Old Man.” She then proceeded to massacre her team and the opposing team, much to their anger and her glee. If she’d looked behind her again, she would have seen her father looking at her, with an expression that was fond exasperation mixed with nostalgia.
“A regular chip off the old block.”