My earliest - though not necessarily my most inspiring - recollection of gaming comes in the form of me waking to my parents paying the NES that was hooked up in my room as a child. It was probably Super Mario Bros., the memory is hazy. It was weird, because that was the only time I'd seen them take an interest in the medium. Regardless, it had sparked mine. The NES releasing a full six years before I was born meant that other, stronger systems were out when I first played my dated console, but my interest in the worlds depicted by that dusty grey box outweighed my want for higher fidelity. Forgoing outside excursions and spending time with friends, I found myself absorbed with each flickering pixel displayed on my tiny CRT.
The thing about gaming that had truly grasped my then hairless balls and has refused to let go ever since came later, in the form of a Game Boy. Another early, cherished memory I have is of playing Pokémon Crystal during a late night ride home from a relative's house. Upon seeing an Ariados (a weird, pink spider pokémon) for the first time, which can only be found late at night, something clicked. Not having heard of or seen it before, I was in a state of wonderment. And at that young an age, I discovered that games had the potential to be so engrossing as to provide new experiences every time they're played, to harbor secrets anywhere, even behind that reused tree, and that there may be a rare, pink spider that only seems to appear around midnight when travelling home from Grandma's.
Of course, most games have predictable and repetitive gameplay. Most games will have a grass texture behind that tree. And there's a 20% chance you'll run into an Ariados at night no matter where you are in real life, you dumb kid. Despite that, well-crafted games can reawaken that childhood wonder that got us all hooked on them to begin with, which remind us of why we've stuck with the medium through all its growing pains.
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