I grew up in an era when 'Nintendo' was a word used with serious intent. Forget your 'motion sensitive controls' for a second, and think about a time when a directional pad, and two buttons on your controller was revolutionary. We had the world at our hands. We could explore hellish sewer systems alongside Mario, discovery fairies in the expanse of Hyrule, and even bash the evil Foot Clan with as much as four mutant turtles. These things were awe inspiring, and mind blowing to say the least. But what is it that comes with these 3 colored sprites, exactly? Is it a matter of controlling an on screen avatar, or is it a matter of having a sense of control over another life?
For me, video games (especially early NES games) have been a point of focus for self exploration in several ways, often without knowing it. I've experienced an array of emotions, otherwise unobtainable. For example, I can remember the first time I played world 1-2 of Super Mario Brothers. Those under ground sequences were terrifying. Were there other worlds beneath my own? Crawling with aeronautical turtles, and grimace-brandishing mushrooms? Would I have a better life if I
were able to throw fireballs? Super Mario Brothers set me off. I felt as though this world were as important as my own.
For years, these worlds led to many questions. In elementary school, I wondered if I would ever be able to build my own moto-cross tracks without Excite Bike. In junior high I made myself sick over the fact that I probably wouldn't ever be able to throw fireballs, like Ken or Ryu. And in high school, I finally relinquished the dream of combining Elemental Materia with everyday objects.
Nearly two decades of playing video games had passed when the magic finally wore off. At that point, different wonderments began to arise... Should I pay the electricity bill, or buy the new Resident Evil? Is a Game Boy Advance really worth the 8 hour shift I'll have to work to buy it? Would Solid Snake sneak past the landlord to avoid paying rent?
The magic was gone... video games had become a toys. Illusionary tools for children to escape into another world, simply to imagine what the 'real world' was like if they had real jobs. But at this point in my life, I had known for some time that mowing the lawn is never as much fun as hacking down plants in Hyrule Field. There weren't ever any rupees to be found stuck in the lawn mower's blade.
Financial independence. College degrees. Career Planning. Marriage. Health insurance. Joint taxation. Possible Home-ownership. What's left in life, really?
MOTHER FUCKING VIDEO GAMES!
Worlds once excused as mandatory, have become inviting once again. Since time had passed, I found that the world of gaming has expanded. I can now use a console to explore the Capital Wastelands of Fallout 3, and the corpse ridden spaceships of Dead Space. Almost limitless worlds, really, where veterinarian bills, and depreciating economies are unimportant. As long as I can earn 5000 Drebin Points in the next round, everything will be OK.