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8:11 PM on 01.09.2012

Amna Umen says:

On Nintendo and Growing Up


[[Originally wrote this for my Tumblr but it feels more at home here among fellow gamers, enjoy]]

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It seems that Nintendo has been cropping up in my life a lot recently, what with my girlfriend receiving a Gamecube for Christmas (a request that was only made so she could play Animal Crossing I think) and my roommate receiving her copy of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it seems Nintendo found a way to worm its way back into my life. Just watching the opening cutscene for Skyward Sword and watching Stef start off on her quest to pay off that dastardly loan shark Tom Nook made me reminisce about days gone by when I was one of the biggest Nintendo fanboys on the block. A broken DS and a very disappointing showing by the Wii (in my opinion) has pushed me away from my past love of Nintendo and into the more rough burly arms of Sony and itís warm powerful PS3, but it should be known that I did not go quietly.

I purchased my Wii with the express intent to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which quickly moved from the recreational play that I had with Super Smash Bros. Melee into the realm of ďprofessional gaming.Ē With a mission to prove myself as one of the great I took up the mantle of Ganondorf, dubbed by the community as the worst character in the game I took to learning him to the fullest extent that I could. The game became less fun and soon I was no longer smiling or enjoying my time with the game, I was instead listening to music (Opethís ďDamnationĒ on repeat to be precise) to drown out the outside world and doing nothing but practicing techniques and glitches in the hopes of perfecting the character. Matches with my friends were no longer the 4 player fun tumbles we used to have, they were now strict 1 on 1 battles with no items and set stages on old TVís so as to not incur a lag from controller to screen. The game much as life had become more about the work needed to succeed than the fun of it all. It only took one tournament filled with with BO ridden smash fans and a profound lack of social skills from said fans to forever push me away from the Smash series and in turn my Wii.

If you think about it, with gaming being pushed more into the multiplayer realm, games have ceased to be just about fun and now it is primarily about being the better player. Who can get their Level 70 Rank on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 the fastest? Who can survive more rounds of Horde in Gears of War 3? Which band can score the highest score on a song in Rock Band? How does any of this differ from work? Sure itís fun, but in multiplayer you are just continuously practicing to be better than the next person you meet on the battlefield or leaders board. Multiplayer in my opinion takes the whole relaxation aspect out of gaming, and turns it into a chore. Because of this Iíve relegated more towards strictly single player games like LA Noire or the Fallout series.

Along the lines of single player games I recently have been purchasing nothing but Mature rated games which donít shy about with their rating. Iíve filled my life with deep thought provoking games, that almost all share the same motif of taking place in a depressing setting. For countless hours Iíve roamed the wastes of the Fallout universe, or killed my way through the halls of Rapture, or fought against the combine and headcrab legions in City 17 and the surrounding areas. And though I would not ever give up these games for the amount of entertainment and enjoyment I have gotten out of them, there is something to be said about escaping to a world that is less bleak and more about the happier things in life.

Which brings me around to my final point and the closing point of the circle, Nintendo invokes a sense of nostalgia in me that harkens back to an easier time. I grew up with Nintendo games all around me, my first system was an original NES, and from there I went on to get the N64, a Gamecube, and a Wii as well as pretty much every handheld Nintendo put out since the original Gameboy up until the 3DS skipping of course the Virtual Boy because that thing sucked. Throughout that long line of Nintendo consoles I gained a lifelong love-hate relationship of the Star Fox series, mostly because it hit itís peak with Star Fox 64 and has just been struggling along ever since, developed crippling addictions to Animal Crossing playing the game everyday for almost 2 years straight, and played one of the most unforgettable adventures of all time in the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. With Nintendo seemingly creeping back into my life, I think itís high time I leave the dark, dismal worlds of my current generation game library behind and embark on another adventure on Sauria, or open a new home in Stefís town, or maybe even finally beat the Water Temple. Whichever I choose, Iím sure I will be happy with the fact that these games were all part of my childhood and can bring me back to that time even in my mid 20ís.
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