Picture an old man, wrinkled like a dried prune, standing only because of his cane. The neighbourhood kids run to the old man’s front lawn. “Hey mister”, they say, “will you come play video games with us?” “Humph! Games are just for you kids,” replied the old man. He slammed the door, walked away and mumbled something about “more important matters.”
I’ll never be like that old man. Video games are so much fun that I will play them even with grey hair, and my love will remain constant. Yet it took me some time to fall in love with video games.
When I was kid, video games were low on my list of interests. I’m sure sugar rushes and running around were higher priorities. There were plenty of things that also grabbed my attention. I had GI Joes to collect, sports to play, knees to scrape, friends to see, bikes to ride, stories to read and school. It seems like there was not a minute left for games.
I found time to play the NES as a kid, but I did not fall in love with games at that point. In those days, you might have seen my avatar walking in circles and dying often. These deaths pulled me out of the game and made it hard to fall in love. Also, when I played NES, I didn’t find many other enthusiastic gamers. The NES was my big brother’s console, and he was not patient enough to explain how to play most of his games. I occasionally played with friends and parents, but they might only join me when they had nothing else to do.
My family didn’t have any special feelings for video games. Growing up, I didn’t always have the latest console or all the latest games. You see, in my family, a new console was a luxury reserved for a special event. In all my childish wisdom, I thought a new console was as major an investment as, say, a car. I always felt games were beyond my piggy bank budget too.
Then, in 2006, I got an Xbox 360 and fell in love with games. It stopped being all about me. My love affair with games blossomed.
I think there were a couple of reasons why I fell in love with games in my twenties. I’m mature now. At least I think so. I mean, mature enough to sit still, to manage my time and to appreciate art, music and good stories. At the same time, I feel like games have matured or at least improved. Games like Mass Effect 2 told engrossing stories that I hadn’t experienced before. Games like Journey even made me reconsider what makes multiplayer and voice chat. Most of all, games are a great way to have fun and keep a child-like joie de vivre as an adult.
So you’ll find me in the old folks home, rocking in my chair, playing games.