Saturday, October 10, 2015

How Video Games Made Me A Badass


Video Games.  I love video games!  I love the satisfaction of solving a puzzle, or beating a boss, or furthering a story.  

I.  Love.  Video Games.

I first got into video games when my dad bought a computer in the early 90’s.  We had games like Mixed Up Mother Goose, where you got to choose a little sprite (computer cel-shaded character) who vaguely resembled you in gender and hair color.  You had to go find the missing components of Mother Goose’s various tales - like Jack’s candlestick, or Miss Muffet’s tuffet.  It was awesome!  Then there was Treasure Mountain!, another educational computer game where you had to solve riddles and find clues that consisted of words or shapes  in order to find the kingdom’s stolen treasure.  I was hooked.  There were a number of other educational computer games my parents got me hooked on, and as much as I enjoyed being a smarty pants, what I really enjoyed was progressing through the levels, facing harder difficulties, and working through the puzzles.

My dad brought home a used PlayStation he bought at a pawn shop when I was in 4th grade.  This was super exciting, because I’d always had to play video games at friends’ houses.  My first game was Parappa the Rappa.  This was a game of following directions and timing.  I was terrible at it, but I was determined to get better.  Unfortunately, since the game was scratched, and I didn’t get to finish due to it constantly messing up and/or resetting.  But I was hooked!

 From the PlayStation All Stars Wiki

And then!  Oh, and then in 6th grade my parents bought me a Nintendo 64 with the Legend of Zelda:  Ocarina of Time game.  It was all I asked for, and I was so stoked to get it.  To make things better, my two best friends also had the Nintendo 64, and the same game.  So at our sleepovers, we’d each take turns playing our games, or getting one or the other to help us through one of the trickier temples (I always had to have one of them get me through the Water  Temple - that place was hard!!).  

From this point forward, there was no going back for me.  Enabled by my dad, who loves all things techy, I bought or was gifted system after system - Gameboys, PlayStations, Nintendos, even the Xboxes - and game after game - Zelda games, Final Fantasy games, fighting games, puzzle games.

And my computer.  My first love, the computer.  In college, I was introduced to online gaming - Final Fantasy, Guild Wars, and World of Warcraft - by my roommate.  I could not allow myself to play Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft - they had monthly subscriptions, and I was poor.  Guild Wars, however, was free to play, after buying the game.  I.  Was.  Hooked.  I got to design and create characters, and I got to play them however I wanted.  It was glorious! store

My senior year of college, I started dating this awesome nerd.  He was perfect.  He introduced me to some of my favorite console titles (Mass Effect), and he introduced me to World of Warcraft.  He had two accounts because he wanted his last girlfriend to play with him, but that hadn’t worked out very well.  So he paid for a month to let me try it.  It didn’t stick very well, because my laptop was old.  But later, after we got engaged, we tried again.

Hooked, I tell you!  Not only was the game addicting, but so was playing with my fiance.  Let me tell you, there is something to the saying, “couples who play together, stay together.”  My now-husband and I play World of Warcraft constantly - we even raid together in a guild that finds us completely adorable.

We’ve all heard about the negative impacts of playing video games.  However, I credit playing video games with building my memory retention.  I also credit video games with honing my problem-solving skills, and practicing thinking outside the box.  

Janes, video games are more than just alternative forms of entertainment.  They can also be implements for education, and tools for training our minds.  They’re good for socialising - I’ve met some awesome people on Guild Wars and World of Warcraft, and I get more satisfaction playing with my husband than I do playing by myself (although I enjoy that, as well!)

Not to mention, my husband finds it sexy that I play video games, which fuels my enjoyment of video games.  After all, who doesn’t enjoy doing something that makes your significant other drool over you?  

So, Janes, I am asking you to give video games a chance.  You don’t have to become an avid gamer to enjoy games.  But you could find a good free-to-play game online at, or pick up a cheap used game and system at GameStop.  If you want more one-on-one help, feel free to email or message me.  I love talking games.  :)

Margaret Jane

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