I was spoiled as a kid. I got every new console/handheld and a bunch of games because my brother did too and it kept our minds off of serious things. Growing up, my parents got divorced. I was young enough not to realize what was actually going on, but my brother was. So my parents' theory was to buy us video games to keep our minds off of what was actually going on. And it worked, to be honest.
I was given Pokemon Red with a Red Gameboy Color, while my brother got Pokemon Blue with a Blue Gameboy Color. We played it a lot, when my parents were fighting, or whatever. One of my most horrifying experiences was as a kid, I remember my parents got into a serious fight. My dad was breaking things and my mom was scratching him and cursing at him. It got so bad that they took my brother and I to a neighbor's house while they fought. Not even joking. But the thing was, we had our gameboy colors with us. So we just played on it and pretended like nothing was happening.
So, what I'm trying to get to, is it good to have handhelds to get your mind off things?
Sure, it was awful that my parents were fighting and my dad was arrested (very shortly, however). But I should have actually realized that. I didn't really focus on what was going on around me because I had a little mobile game boy. When I look back to my childhood, I don't remember anything. Well, little glimpses of dumb stuff here and there, but for the most part, I can't remember much. We had some actual consoles that did the same thing, but they were only temporary and when I left the house, I left them.
Another example was 9th grade. Naomi, Zack, Urvi, Whitney, and I would all play Mario Party DS after lunch in Biology because we had silent reading to do every day. Our teacher let us do whatever as long as we were quiet, so we just played DS together. It was fun and everything, but then my mind started getting corrupted by the idea of the portability. Soon, I was playing it in every class I could, cleverly trying to hide it. My grades shot to dirt. I had straight D's. It was awful. I could have actually put down the DS and either talked to my friends about random stuff so I can know them better, or I could have actually done some of my work. I was so drowned in the mobile gaming that I could barely do anything.
If any of you reading this have played Disgaea, you know how much of a time investment playing it is. If you haven't, I'll give you a quick run-down. Basically, Disgaea is a Final Fantasy Tactics with a lot more options, customization, actual tactics, and the level cap is 9999. So yeah, the game takes a good while to actually get anywhere. I was absorbed into it. There was so much to do, the replayability was insanely good. But it took away from everything else.
My family has to make about 4 trips or so a year, each one lasting about 6 hours (That's to and from), to drop off me or my sister or pick me up or pick up my sister. My parents are divorced, so that's how things worked out. And when I was going to drop off my sister in St. Louis, instead of hanging out with her during our last time together, I just turned on my DS and played it like crazy. I didn't stop for a second to look through the window to see the landscapes, I didn't pay attention to my own family, I just sat there and played away.
Portable gaming obsessed me. Everywhere I went, I had a DS or a game boy. I didn't pay attention to the world around me. I lost all of my social skills. I couldn't communicate properly with anyone because I was too absorbed into gaming. I even started saying things straight out of the video games that make me embarrassed to think about now (You baka!). I should have really let go of the handhelds. It was a mobile poison to me, anywhere I took it, I lost contact with the outside world. I was in my own world, and anyone I wanted to be in there was in there. I imagined people hanging out with me in my own room at night because I couldn't get any real friends.
And here I am, 17 years old, going to be a senior on Thursday. I sold my DS, which I still kind of regret, a little while back. I'm not saying don't buy handhelds, by all means, they're an amazing source of fun. But I got carried away with how portable they were. I took them everywhere and played them everywhere. I lost contact with the outside world, the reality. But now, I am back in reality. Gaming is strictly limited for me now, because I refuse to go back to how it once was.
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