Is there a game you go to in a time of need? A game that comforts you; a game that acts like the bosoms of your mother; a game that whispers: ďitís okay, everything will be fine.Ē Video games are all about escapism; and that escapism, depending on your actions, can help or harm you. Take the escapism to the extreme and your life might fly by, but in moderation it can be something wonderful; something worth keeping and cherishing.
My friends, last year my bunny, Choochie, died. Choochie (the name comes from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
) was in many ways my best friend. I fed it, took care of it, told it stories, she was an all around good friend to me and even kept my mother company during some hard times. When she died, I was depressed, so I turn to the only thing that can give me comfort: Super Mario Bros.
With the power of emulation, Iím able to take Super Mario Bros.
with me at all times, but Iím pretty sure youíre asking yourselves: ďwhy Mario?Ē This, my friends, is something Iím happy to answer. The original Super Mario Bros.
is a game Iíve played since I was a child; a game where I know all the secrets; a game where going right is the only goal; a game that shines because of its simplicity. When youíre stressed out, the least thing you want is something to annoy you. There are some pieces of art that has taken my mind out of the darkest depths of the ocean: literature, games, and music are my saviors that dived into the ocean and pulled me out to a world of color and comfort.
I relate Mario games to a mother, or a close female friend. I remember as a child falling from my bike and scraping my knees, my mother would come up to me and put my head on her chest. There is something about that act that comforts me. As a 23 years old male, Iíve cried and women have comforted me in their breasts. Itís nothing sexual; that doesnít even cross my mind, it a comfort that only a women can give. It reminds me of being a child and running to safety in the arms of my mother, or looking at the pictures of my mother breast feeding me - It amazes me the power women have.
Playing Super Mario Bros.
is almost therapeutic for me. I can beat the game in one sitting without dying, I know every layout to each level by heart, and itís a game Iím familiar with, yet Iíve never been bored. Playing Super Mario Bros.
nowadays is almost effortless. It almost seems as if I can play the game with my mind. I find comfort in familiarity. Mario is safe; itís something I know intimately. Mario and I have traveled the same caves and warped through the same pipes countless times. Weíve met the same enemies and destroyed them together. He was a friend who took my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said, ďYou have problems, letís not talk about; forget about it for a while, take some time off, and enjoy yourself.Ē
I sometimes wish for things others have. I sometimes wish if I, the prince, represented by Mario can discuss with the princess what is real and what is not. There are no trials inside the gates of the Mushroom Kingdom. I sometimes think there are no words to express this feeling - I even feel a bit ridiculous writing this.
Literature has had the same impact on me, but in a different way. With literature, it was more of relating to what authors like Kafka, Camus, Dostoevsky, and Salinger wrote. Reading their work was like looking at a mirror. Video games, so far, with the exception of Braid
, have not had that same impact on me, but I donít think I need games to harmonize those emotions. I use games to forget about my problems. I use it as escapism. Mario has taught me that sometimes itís okay to let things go and sleep. Itís okay to fail; it happens to everyone, itís okay to get lost in the Mushroom Kingdom. Literature in the same vain has taught me that sometimes all you need are small sentences and words to fully express yourself.