Day 280-- VGA

My parents kept me far from video games when I was a child. This was a wise move. My friends all had Nintendo Entertainment Systems, and the times I had played them while visiting resulted in adults physically pulling me away from a sweat-smeared controller.

Their error was in purchasing a computer. The first one we had was a Texas Instrument Somethingoranothermodel in the mid-'80s, and when I was a wee child I would spend hours playing Hangman or typing games. This seems innocent, maybe, but I think I was in it for the digital adrenaline rush and not-so-much the educational aspect. My folks eventually got new computers when I was in middle school. These computers sometimes came with video games. My mom also got shareware magazines, and mom and dad eventually caved and let me get a few. Mistake.

Wolfenstein 3D started it; I spent hours playing that game, days thinking about it. Then came Doom, which rightly worried my folks (they then un-installed it and forbid me to play it). Then other video games, some fairly innocent in their content. The moral of the story is that I had become a full-fledged Video Game Player. I was a Gamer.

This isn't a tirade against violent video games, or anything; rather, it's more of a weird reflection from a former addict. My floor in college--basement Pearce--was known as the "video game floor" during my time at Geneva. My group of friends played games ALL DAY, ALL YEAR LONG. We talked about it at dinner and lunch and in the bathroom; friends dumped girlfriends over them (exaggeration, but not by much).

While I still own a few games, I haven't put serious effort into a video game in over four months. And I have a feeling that this trend will continue for a while. Sure, there are a few games that I think would be fun to re-install and play. Fallout is one, Thief another, maybe Deus Ex or Half-Life 2...or System Shock 2, my pick for 'best video game ever.' But--interestingly--the most attractive aspect about all of these games are their deep, rewarding well-written STORIES. And regarding that, I'd be fine with just thinking about how interesting the storyline was for those games without every playing them again.

I feel like I've pushed away the game fanaticism, buried it in the back yard and lost track of where the fresh dirt was. It's a great feeling, like I've kicked a costly habit and can now engage it with a casualness of which I would've never dreamt.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 6/12/2007 11:47:00 PM,


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