In twelve days I will turn thirty-nine. Turn. That word is funny used in this context. As if I will magically age a year's worth of time in the coming days instead of the gradual process that it really is. As I write this, as you read this, both you and I will share this moment of growing old together. I find it curious that as the days pass, the time I invested in frivolous pursuits of vanity are non-existent. I'll never be God's gift to women, though I figured that out a while back ago. My delusions were short-lived in that department. When I buy clothes now, I buy them for whatever need may arise versus whatever new fad or style is current. I find myself subconsciously choosing more laid back, chill music, like the blues, jazz, or slow jams to listen to. I don't actually remember when I stopped watching any kind of music television like MTV or VH1 and the like but I remember that being part of a routine that I had, which I unceremoniously cut off without a thought. I think I came to the conclusion that the music industry nowadays relies too much on a visual ingredient that adds nothing to it aside from making you associate a video to a so called artist. I remember just listening to music with my eyes closed and just enjoying it. Letting it take me somewhere.
The only constants in my life have always been the usual suspects: books, films, my love of collecting chess boards, and of course videogames. I was fourteen years old when Pac- Man
debuted in the arcades. Fifteen when Dragon's Lair
hit the scene. I remember thinking I died and gone to heaven. That was next-gen to me and the word next-gen didn't even exist in my prepubescent mind back then. That same year The Last Starfighter
was in theaters and I remember daydreaming that If I had a high enough score in the arcades, I too may be recruited by some alien race to save them heroically. My imagination was strong and had a kung-fu grip. I remember actually playing Pac-Man
on the Atari 2600. Except Pac-Man
didn't look so hot at home. He couldn't face the direction he was turning to. Just kept looking at the right of the screen no matter what. Maybe Atari 2600's Pac-Man
was imagining he was off somewhere saving an alien race too because he didn't seem into it.
But y'know what? It didn't matter. It was still awesome because I'm playing this sub par version of an actual arcade game that I sunk a Titanic's worth of quarters to... at home. Yeah. More memories flash. NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, Saturn, Jaguar, 3DO, PS1, Dreamcast, to the recent systems of PS2, Xbox, Xbox360, and PS3. I could probably go down the line and tell, at the very least, a story about a game played and associating it with something pivotal that happened to me while growing up. Growing wiser...growing older. A lot of things have changed about me through the years. Many interests have come and gone. Many dislikes have turned to likes and vice versa, yet as I look at my own kids now, playing their own videogames, it makes me smile. That same smile I had when I was playing Pac-Man
when I was fourteen. The very same one when I imagined myself the last starfighter, because another batch of future consoles will inadvertently chaperon and comfort them, through their own trials, through their own tribulations, as they once did me.