“I can see virtual reality being used more for interactions with real life, which might be dangerous.”

Chuck Deanes has taught his son many valuable lessons through video games, including how to steal.

With National Video Game Day coming July 8, Deanes reminisced about how he and his teenage son, DeShaun, practiced the art of thievery in one of their favorite games, “Borderlands 2,” an action role-playing game played from a first-person perspective.

'Kind of messed up’

The game was released in 2012 and hung its hat on offering an insane number of weapons, with over 17 million, according to Eurogamer.net. “Borderlands 2” allowed gamers to customize their weapons and trade them with folks online.

“In ‘Borderlands 2’ you can run into someone online and say, ‘We’ll trade you our weapon for your weapon,’” said Deanes, 36, of Dover. “So they’ll drop their weapon on the ground. Then we’d take their weapon and log out of the game.

“We straight up stole so many modded weapons that way,” he said. “As a father, that’s kind of messed up to teach my son how to steal. But we got some cool weapons.”

Fans of ‘GoldenEye’ to ‘MK 11’

Deanes first picked up a joystick in 1985, playing "Pong" on the Atari 2600. He loves the shooter “GoldenEye” and has played all of the “Madden” football titles, including the original that debuted on the computer in 1988.

These days, Deanes has two Xbox One systems in the house, one for him and the other for his son, DeShaun.

Since the Xbox One has a game-sharing feature, when Deanes downloads a game to his console, his son also receives the same game on his system.

The father said he’s downloaded over 200 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games and has spent well over $6,000 for the collection.

He prides himself on being a skilled gamer, but there are some games he can’t crush his son in.

“The only game my dad can still beat me in is ‘Madden,’ because I don’t play ‘Madden,’” said DeShaun, who’s now playing “Mortal Kombat 11,” a new fighting game. “I’m pretty sure I can beat my dad in shooting games like ‘Gears of War’ and fighting games, because I’ll sit there and practice for days.”

“I’ll give him that,” Deanes said. “He’s pretty good.”

Camden resident Hailey Wich, 17, said she’s a fan of games like the shooter “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” and the action RPG “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”

She was 10 when "Skyrim" hit stores.

“When I was younger, I used to watch my brother and my dad play it. One night I kind of snuck into the game room and started playing ‘Skyrim,’” the Camden resident said.

“I was apparently too young to play it, but I was really interested,” Wich said. “I really like how it’s an open-world game and there’s so many side quests and the main quests were very intriguing.”

Cody White, 32, of Lincoln, said he’s fond of playing “any of the ‘Call of Duty’ games due to how realistic they are, like [using] real military tactics and weapons, great graphics and the creators always push the limit to make the game like the current time period.”

Steve Scarfo, 29, of Seaford, said his favorite at the moment is World of Warcraft “because it consistently gives new content. My favorite [game] ever is ‘Diablo 2,’ because when it was released it was the most expensive game in the genre.”

List of improvements 

The industry isn’t without flaws.

April Dolbow, of Camden, said she’d like for companies to do away with downloadable content. DLC offers extra content for an already released game. It might be new outfits for a character or new missions. For some games, it isn’t free.

“We should be paying for a completed game, not dishing out more money for things that should come with the game,” Dolbow said.

She has a beef with how often female characters are overly sexualized, especially in fighting games.

“If I’m fighting to the death or even for my future survival, I’m not doing it in a string bikini trying to look sexy,” she said.

It’s not uncommon to find gamers trading derogatory insults.

But Dover resident Tinisa Marshall and Camden’s Wich said enough is enough with harassment, especially when it comes to degrading female gamers.

“It is about time for all the major video game companies to have a serious in-depth discussion about these topics and sit and maintain guidelines for those who bully and harass others online and in real life,” Marshall said.

Updates can be a pain. As with waiting for your laptop to update, gamers do the same with their console or gaming PC.

Lincoln resident White said something has to change. 

“After certain updates the lag increases and the updates aren’t always exactly what the creators said they would be,” he said.

Gaming mural

Last year in gamer Deanes’ man cave, he began illustrating a video game in a mural, beginning with the beloved plumber Mario. Eventually he ended up adding the Mario Kingdom, Master Chief, Donkey Kong, Sonic and Tales and more.

Deanes decided to replace it with Marvel Comics characters after Marvel icon Stan Lee died in December.

“It hurt my heart to erase my video game characters, but I wanted to do something for Stan Lee,” he said.

What is it?

National Video Game Day, as you probably guessed, is a call to action for gamers to partake in their favorite pastime.

It has been recognized online over the last few years via hashtags on social media and websites like Timeanddate.com, boasting more than 90,000 followers on social media.

Yet its origin is a mystery, since it isn’t well documented online. To make things more complicated, there’s also a National Video “Games” Day on Sept. 12.

Why are there two video game holidays? Detective Pikachu hasn’t cracked this case yet. 

Future of gaming

When Seaford’s Scarfo looks into his crystal ball, he predicts the gaming experience will change in the coming years.

“The future of gaming has been very bleak,” he said. “It is very evident that consumers are hungry for a less greedy game that focuses on content and not revenue.”

Marshall predicts the experience will become much more digital.

“The entire process, from buying consoles and games, getting credible reviews of games and accessories, playing with your friends or developing new friendships -- [it will] be done without ever stepping into a brick and mortar store,” she said.

Dolbow added to that, saying virtual reality will become the wave; and evidence of this is witnessed in Oculus Rift, a VR headset that allows users to play select games.

Not only does Deanes think VR will be the future, he said it won’t be limited to video games.

For instance, he said he could foresee a time when friends will have the ability to travel to a virtual mall where they’ll do online shopping together, from the comfort of their own homes.

“I can see virtual reality being used more for interactions with real life, which might be dangerous,” he said. “I think that’s where the government will come in and start setting standards.”

Based on how sophisticated games have evolved from the Atari 2600 to the Xbox One, Deanes said, anything is possible.

“We didn’t know we’d have cell phones with internet capability when I had a beeper,” he said.

“Our school teachers told us we wouldn’t have calculators in our pocket. But whenever you think of the future of gaming, you have to think outside of our train of thought,” the 36-year-old said.

“Everything we have now wasn’t conceivable 10 or 20 years ago.”