Over the past few years I’ve slowly and begrudgingly come to a depressing realization, I just don’t enjoy video games as much as I use to. I still love it and it will always be a large part of my life, but it just can't be the same.
Realistically, I know we’ve come a long way since my gaming heydays (the late 90′s to mid 2000′s). The graphics are photo-realistic, the controls and controllers have improved in every way, and the story-telling (in most cases) is far better than anything I ever played in my childhood and yet, I still can’t get lost in a game like I use to. Don’t get me wrong, I still love and appreciate every opportunity I get to play a fantastic video game, but no matter how hard I try and how much I wish it to be, I can never recapture that magic feeling I had when playing as a child.
Super Mario World
and Donkey Kong Country
were weekly activities in my family. I would always look forward to the days when my parents would take time out of their schedule to sit and play Super Nintendo with me. We would share the joy and jubilation of beating each boss and we worked diligently to formulate unique strategies for each level. It was a truly special experience sharing that sense of accomplishment. We conquered impossible odds as a team, as a family. I shared this sacred bond with both my younger sister and brother and they soon found the same magic in gaming. We would spend hours playing together. There was no worry or stress, just siblings enjoying the company of one another. I often miss these days. Things were much simpler back then. The older I became the less frequent these special moments with my family occurred. I switched focus from playing with my family, to playing with my friends. I spent as much time as I possibly could with my new amigos and together we shared these same experiences. Together we could accomplish anything, be anything we wanted, and change everything wrong with the world. We would spend countless hours lost in the fantasy of an amazing RPG or we’d work together to take down the strongest foes the Covenant had to offer. It was during this time that I met the strongest and most honest friends of my entire life. We weren’t together because of some twisted, mutual-benefit, we were friends because we loved the same things and shared the same passions.
I think moving out on my own is when I lost a solid chunk of that video game spark. Most of my friends separated and went to different colleges and some of them didn’t even bother. I left the nest to start school in a big, new city. Leaving your family for the first time is always an emotional experience. My mother pulled me in tight and her grip told me she never wanted to let go. Both my parents were overwhelmed with a sense of love and pride. I was the first in my family to attend college. I wanted more than anything to make them proud. I dedicated all of my free time to school. When I wasn’t in school or doing homework, I was at work so I could support myself and beautiful girlfriend. I rarely visited my family, I rarely called, and I rarely had any time for video games. A few years later I had completed school and been the first member of my family to obtain a college degree.
Since graduation I’ve tried to rekindle the spark I once felt. The feeling is there, but it will never be as strong. Things will never be the same. My younger sister is now an adult with a child and my baby brother is now in his teens. My own life is busier than it ever has been and finding time to bond with them is never easy. I guess as the games we play become more and more complex, so do the lives we lead. Change is a fantastic thing and many great things come from it, but sometimes accepting the fact that something you once loved is never coming back can be difficult.