Let’s go on a journey through time to explore my experience with video games, shall we?
It starts when I was twelve years old, and my family took an enormous trip out East to explore American history. I had a family of cousins that lived in Virginia, and one of them was my age. He was a gamer.
Before that, I played a lot of computer games – like a ton – but they were all the educational ones (e.g. Math Blaster, Yukon Trail, Dr Brain). I also played a TON of Minesweeper and I am still creepily good at it.
But now, my cousin introduced me to Nintendo.
That was me. I liked to play Bowser because I thought he was cute. I tend to adore things that others think are ugly. Like sloths.
Except I was never in 1st place against my cousin because I didn’t even know where all the buttons on the controller were and what they did. I was the one in the corner trying to reverse and failing miserably.
For one glorious week, I played a TON of video games. In addition to Bowser, I also fell in love with Link.
Check out those muscles. What nerdy girl isn’t in love with Link, honestly?
A few years went by and I made a lot more guys friends, and they were pretty much all gamers. So I got introduced to Super Smash Bros, Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and most importantly Rock Band, a game I was actually good at (on all parts, too!) because I still sucked with all the different controllers. Then the Wii came out and I got even worse with the controllers. Ugh.
Throughout college I didn’t have as much access or time for video games, except Rock Band which I sought out and played a ton. Then in my very last semester I was a TA for a literature class. One of the papers the students had to write was an analysis of a story – any story. Not just literature, but it was open to films, newspaper articles, graphic novels, poetry, and video games.
One of the students analyzed the hero archetype in Master Chief from Halo. And my paradigm shifted.
You see, up until then, I had been playing storyless games. Mario Kart, Rock Band, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, the arena levels of Pokemon, and only the free-for-all bloodfest on Halo that my guy friends wanted me to play with them because I was the easy target stuck in a corner shooting the sky or the ground or myself (I did eventually reach a point where I was able to kill other players; I think the most I ever killed was 5 though). I had boyfriend after boyfriend who played Left 4 Dead or Call of Duty and the like, but all that looked like to me was shooting, and my thing with zombies prevented me from paying more attention. I had seen Zelda played many times, but never from start to finish. I had seen the Super Mario games, but never from start to finish. And when you just drop in on those, it looks like you just get thrown into level with a hoarde of creatures to kill and maybe you open a treasure chest. What’s the overall goal? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
But reading this paper on Master Chief, I saw that there was a point to the games. They did have a goal. And the goals were actually interesting. This could be more than just a social pursuit (which it was for me, cause for some reason those lanky gamers are so attractive) or a hobby to waste time with (cause everyone needs one of those). You could actually learn from games.
Then I took the Interactive Media course in my master’s program. And the depth of the gaming world opened up before me. And I was excited about it!
So when I came home from Scotland, I began to play Skyward Sword of the Zelda franchise. Because Link was still my ultimate gaming love. And I’ll tell you, I STILL suck with the controller. Apparently my movements are too extreme for the Wii controller. It takes me so much time to get anywhere in the game because I fall off ledges and walk into traps constantly, and specifically in this game, I fly that dang bird in circles because I am apparently tilting the controller too far. Sorry that I move my hands with enthusiasm, Nintendo. Sorry you can’t handle it.
But the story of Skyward Sword is fulfilling, and I am really enjoying learning gaming skills. And now I am working on writing a game. My knowledge of gaming is still woefully miniscule, but I am super stoked about this project. Honestly, it’s a thrill I haven’t gotten from writing for…well, just a couple months, but still. I am loving it. I don’t know how much of a gamer I’ll become, or if I’ll just keep gamer guys around a lot, but either way, I now have a rapidly growing appreciation and respect for this delightful form of screenwriting/entertainment.