We’ve all heard the vicious lie. “Video games are useless forms of passing time.” They wag a finger at us. They tell us that continuing to play said video games will render us hostages, slipping into the depths of a mind numbing abyss, in which, we will vegetate until our skin peels off and our eyes bug out.
Wait a minute. Since when was exercising your prefrontal cortex a bad thing? Not only is it a proven fact that gaming improves memory function, video games can actually become a world that we, as the players, control at our own fingertips. Or thumbtips. The scientific evidence that playing video games could shape your way to become a surgeon, awesome as that is, pales in comparison to the fun of gaming.
For some of us, the memory of our first gaming experience was a personal one. Maybe your first game console was a birthday present, all your own. For me, I was a girl bugging her older brothers to play. Do you think I ever really got any game time in? Ha! Not until much later, when they were bored of playing. (By bored I mean, I had to sneak in on their games while they paused for bathroom breaks. Bored takes on many meanings when you are game hungry.) For the most part of my early exposure to gaming, I observed. I observed that no matter how many times they played the same level, the outcome was always different, because they were in control of the visual art on the screen, which is something about video games that I find incredibly fascinating. I also learned that there is a “zone”. I have kind of been there before, although I’m kind of sure you have to be a more skilled gamer than myself to reach the real zone. Later, I learned that I could spend an entire day playing Donkey Kong Country,with my little sister. Tag teaming and cracking barrels. I can still see Donkey and Diddy slapping fists and monkey grunting. (Maybe I should speak to a shrink about that.) At the end of a day of continuous play, beating level after level, it’s like you just conquered the world together.
Now, sappy as it may seem, I think at every gamer’s core is that place where you have fond memories of your early gaming experience. Mario Brothers maybe. Or maybe even Pong. We all have them, basic and reliable memories, that close the age gaps, the gender barrier. The racial and cultural differences, all fade. I can see it now, a room full of gamers, at the boss level, everyone’s on the edge of their seats,( This may be 1993 but, that’s ok) and finally, you did it. You won your virtual world. It’s the best feeling. Yeah, this girl got all sappy, but hey, even if you aren’t moved by all of this, I bet you are thinking what I’m thinking. Being hostages, slipping into the depths of a mind numbing abyss, in which, we will vegetate until our skin peels off and eyes bug out, kinda sounds like fun. They should make a game out of that.