I haven’t written a blog post in awhile (sorry about that), but I felt that I should today. I was sitting awake in bed last night thinking, and I realized something. I’m about to tell you what I’m most thankful for, and the answer may shock you.
I am most thankful for video games.
Now, before you’re all, “Oh, how shallow,” or, “That’s stupid,” let me explain.
I was given my first console when I was at the tender age of four. I don’t remember asking for it, or really even knowing what the NES was prior to that Christmas, but my mom being somewhat of an early gamer herself bought it under the guise that it was for me. I had played Intellivision games before, but never in my life had I had an experience like what I had on Christmas. A whole new world was opened up to me via Duckhunt and Mario Bros. that I hadn’t ever imagined existed. Shortly after, my first true love was found in The Legend of Zelda. Time passed, and I continued playing. Golgo 13, Ninja Gaiden, Renegade, The Adventures of Link, Mario Bros 2 and 3, etc. I played with my younger brother, who was 1 when I first got the NES. He actually started beating the games before I did, and even learned to read after I got tired of reading all the text to him. (He was almost 3.)
Fast forward to elementary school. Still a gamer, and at this point I have the SNES. Of course I’m teased about it because I’m a girl, but I don’t let it bother me because I know that those people are missing out. After bringing the map that was included with our Illusion of Gaia game to school, and presenting an oral report on ancient ruins with it, I realized that games were educational as well. Oregon Trail was in my fifth grade class, and it was the first computer game that I was exposed to. This game was a blast to play with people gathered around, and helped me break down barriers put up by my social awkwardness.
The first console that I got that was just for me was the Sega Genesis. I remember playing on that in my room, and loving every minute of it. Though it was actually a couple of years that I did anything other than jump around in the water in Ecco the Dolphin, other games like BioHazard Battle took up my time as I played with my brother and any friends that came over.
N64 brought us 007 Goldeneye. I remember ten or more kids in our den at the time, all gathered around as we took turns in multiplayer, cheering on people who were currently on the controllers.
Later on, I ended up purchasing Conker’s Bad Fur Day on my own. Barely 17 at the time, it was then that I realized that games were more than just toys for kids. They were entertainment devices meant for the masses, just like interactive movies. That game single-handedly changed my outlook on the industry as a whole.
Skip to a few years later, and I’m in the Air Force in tech school. I have an XBOX with me, and I hook it up to the common room television to play with everyone. It was in tech school that I met my future husband. He introduced me to Ultima Online. Although I hated it, it was my first foray into an MMO experience. Prior to that, my only PC experiences included Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, a few random RPGs, and the aforementioned Oregon Trail.
After hubster and I got married, we started up World of Warcraft. We played that for years, and made many friends that we still talk to today, even though we’ve dumped the game in favor of other titles like League of Legends. My brother is really good friends with my hubby, and we all three play together as much as possible.
Now that I have children, I keep a keener eye out on ratings and content, but I let them play video games as well. My oldest is four and my youngest is 3. We make it a family experience when we play, and we always have a blast.
In the long run, yes I’m thankful for my family and friends and what I have. I’m pretty sure that most decent people are thankful for that as well. But for me, video games have been the glue. It’s a way that I’ve made and kept friends, how I bond with my brother and husband, and how I play with my kids. They’ve helped transport me to another world when I didn’t care too much for this one, and gave me someone to play with when I’d moved and hadn’t met anyone yet. They’ve been an ice breaker in conversation, a topic in daydreams, and wishes for Christmas. They’re the reason I write and critique, the reason that sometimes I just stop and think about philosophical or moral issues, and the way that I de-stress after a long day.
So this Thanksgiving I would like to thank all those who’ve made it possible. Developers, artists, writers, programmers, sound engineers, composers. All of you have provided tons of material for everyone to take in and enjoy. Thank you.