The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or lovingly known as E3, has already descended upon us and the Gods of Gaming have kindly boarded us on to the hype train. And, if you didn't get any of that, what I'm trying to say is that it's basically open season for gamers, and so many stops have been pulled out by tons of game publishers to pump everyone up for their upcoming titles. And, your next question might be, why do I care? Well, because I love video games.
As a young kid, I watched my older siblings, and myself, ocassionally, play classics like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, the Kingdom Hearts series, Sly Cooper, Zelda and Pokemon of course. We spent family nights trying to fit as many of us as possible on a couch and screaming at whoever threw the blue shell in Mario Kart. I'd stamped my tiny feet on enough Dance, Dance, Revolution mats and stretched my tiny fingers on enough plastic guitars to be sucked in and never be pushed out of the world of gaming. Fast forward to me now, listening to the bits of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV soundtrack as I write, and last night, when I was the first one to play the new Doom game. Oh, and tonight, my brother and I are going out to buy me a new DS. (There's new Pokemon on the way!)
I've managed to keep my love for games on the downlow, as I dabble a bit more in theatre and writing and such, but be assured that I just finished a couple rounds of Rocket League about five minutes ago. My lonely nights are spent in front of a screen, when it's not a good time for friends or real life. So, in honor of me coming out as a Game Nerd, I thought I'd talk about all the awesomeness that video games have given me. With so much negativity floating around games, every now and then it's important to bring them into the light. So, without further ado...
1. Video Games Connected Me to My Family
As mentioned before, my love for games was passed down from my siblings, who were cool and kind enough to always engage me in a night of gaming. My sister Juliana and I often embark on adventures in Arkham City, and have never been closer than when we ridiculde the Riddler together. My little brother John, already better than I'll ever be at games, always cower in the dark at horror games together and our screams turn into laughs and those laughs into bonds. Lauren taught me all I know about the Pokemon universe, and we've giggled enough in the aisles of Game Stop to appreciate what these games do. And Marc has taught me the basics to every first person shooter out there, and I'm all the better for it. So is he. Even my mom or dad we'll dance a bit with the Wii, or make fun of us as we scream during a
murderous light hearted game of Mario Kart.
2. They Gave Me a Sense of Adventure
A lot of people don't like video games because they keep people restrained to a couch and a screen and indoors, but it did the opposite for me. My favorite video games are RPGs, and I just love roaming an open world and fighting off monsters and exploring and discovering new places and secrets. But a part of me remains jealous and craves adventure for myself. By exposing me to countless possibilites, I always call on my friends to go out to just wander and explore, even in such mundane places like the little town I live in. Video games pretty much taught me that you will never see anything, but you might as well try. I intend to try for my whole life.
3. Games Inspired Me Creatively
The greatest and most iconic video games out there don't come out of nowhere. They come from intelliegent, creative and passionate people. There are grappling storylines and characters to feel for and fight for and they look so interesting and move so differently. There are weapons created that you never could've imagined, monsters you only vaugely remember from your nightmares were finally conjured on screen! There are stories worth playing and worlds so beautiful you don't wanna look away. All of this has made me more aware of my own creations; there are even games that are planly for creating! I see what people have done and want to do more. I know so much is possible, and want to expand on everything I create and make sure people want to keep watching, learning or playing.
4. They Taught Me Right From Wrong (Good from Evil)
Almost every game I've played has had a clear good versus evil storyline, and my moral compass is all the better for it. As as young kid, I played games that put me into the shoes (or paws or whatever) of a hero. The good guy. I learned what was unfair and worth fighting against and for. Watching evil charaters hurt others and take what doesn't belong to them taught me to recongnize the same characteristics in kids at school or people in the world, and understand that it wasn't good. Spending my years now and then as a fictional hero has built and will continue to build me into a hero in real life, and I can hopefully fight off the bad the same way I have virtually.
5. Video Games Made Me Smarter (Not Dumber)
Okay, I'll admit before I explain this point that there are plenty of games that are just mindless fun. And that's just fine. But on the other hand, games require thought and strategy. They need you to make decisions, sometimes life or death ones quickly and correctly. Your brain becomes sharper with every thing you memorize, every command you learn, you have become smarter. Every move you make to avoid bad luck is the smarter move. Oh, and I've answered a few questions in school based off some interesting trivia I get from games. Level up, indeed.
6. I Learned to Empathize
So many characters, so many stories, so many feelings. And I've learned to understand them all. When you're lucky enough to play as a developed character in an excruitaing storyline, you learn to see the world from many view points. You understand why they feel the way they do when you live their life. So, when I finally take a step back from the screen and face people in my life who i may never understand, I try to remember that they're playing their own game and that I have no idea what's going on, and maybe it's time to learn.
7. Games Taught Me About Teamwork
This one is good and bad. I've learned how awful it sometimes may be to work with others. I learned that sometimes, nobody will listen to you and sometimes things don't go as planned. But I've also learned that almost nothing can be accomplished alone, whether you physically need the extra manpower or just encouragment from behind. Games like Brothers, Ratchet and Clank, and Kingdom Hearts that give you companions and partners through the game emphasize that you always need someone to lift you over a wall or heal you just before you die. Other games where you can venture online and create teams with strangers near and far emphasize communication and cooperation, skills that have helped me developed as a person and helped me create successful teams when particpating in real life.
8. I've Learned to Never Give Up and Persevere
There are times when I have wanted to, and have, thrown a controller or a console in rage. I have died so many times and tried everything I could to win but I just can't do it. Unfortunately, and fortunately in the long wrong, with games there's only one way to continue and that is to win. You can't make it to the next level without winning the first, and you don't get to see what's through the door until you unlock it. Despite my losses and rage quits, I've always come back to games and completed what I believed to be impossible. My constant curiosity of what is beyond has always made me force myself forward. And it's always worth it, too. To recieve a new keyblade or discover a secret passage way is always rewarding. My ability to keep going has only strengthened through gaming, and now in life, I learn to keep going and move forward, because in the end it is the only way.
9. Not All Games End Happily, and Neither Does Everything Else
Sometimes you just don't win. You put all you can into a journey and adventure only for things to turn out terribly. You will not always get what you want, or what you expect. You will lose things things and people along the way, and sometimes even then things at the end are bad. But it doesn't mean you lost. You still got to grow and learn and prepare for the next journey, which hopefully will end better. Some games you die in the end. Sometimes you never get to save the princess. And I've learned to deal with things the way the come and take them as they are, because unless you unlocked the secret ending, that's as good as it's going to get.
10. There Will Always Be Enemies in Your Way
Whether you're on your way to save the world or walking down the hallway in school, someone is going to want to stop you. But they only do because they know you're on your way to someone or someplace better, and going to become stronger. If the game stops and throws you into battle, it's only because you're going the right way. And if someone tries to quiet you in real life, it's only because you're saying and doing the right things. So, just whack 'em with a keyblade and get going.
That's ends this list and my long hiatus from blogging. I hope E3 was everything my fellow gamers hoped for and that life brings you lots of stars and coins and gems and rewards! Happy Gaming and adventuring. And remember to spread love.
- Mia B.