I wrote this several months ago and never published it anywhere. I publish it now, on my website.
Video games have always been my preferred method of escapism. Whether I’m taking on the mantle of a silent protagonist, or delving head first into an intricate story with tons of character development, I’m able to let go of my real world stress and enjoy myself. Sometimes I find that my escapism gets the better of me, and I obsess over it. Even when I’m not playing, I’m constantly daydreaming about what I need to do next in the game I’m currently trying to conquer.
About a year and a half ago at the time of this writing, I started collecting NES and SNES games. I played Nintendo a ton as a kid, until I graduated to the PlayStation line of consoles. I liked the PlayStation games, sure, but there isn’t anything that quite takes me back like those gray plastic cartridges. There is something charming about Nintendo cartridges. They have an appealing shape, with some really great, or really terrible, artwork on the label. They feel good when you pick them up and hold them. The texture of the cartridge just feels familiar and takes me back to my childhood. Disk based games just don’t hold the same appeal to me. Sure, games like Final Fantasy VII and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night take me back, but just not the same way.
I received my first NES Christmas of 1989. I had already played Super Mario Bros. 2 on my neighbor’s console, and seen a couple other kids my age play some of their games. I was instantly obsessed. There was something so amazing about being able to control a character on screen. I remember seeing Super Mario Bros. 2 for the first time. The graphics were colorful, and you had a selection of characters to try to tackle each level. When I received my NES later that year, I got to start playing games like Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Duck Hunt, Paperboy, and Legendary Wings. I later got to experience Mega Man and Mega Man 2, Mickey Mousecapade, Ghostbusters, Metroid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and other classics. Sure, some of these games were incredibly difficult, but they were each exciting in their own way.
New neighbors moved in next door to my family in 1992. The first 16 bit games I had ever seen on home console were Gradius III, Ys III, Pilotwings, Super Mario World, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I was blown away. I loved the first two Zelda games on the NES and I was a huge fan of the cartoon show. This was the most realistic game I had ever seen. The music was haunting and amazing. I HAD to have one, and I was given one by my parents that Christmas. Boy, was I a spoiled kid. My first games were A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, and Super Mario Kart.
Throughout the years, I played some amazing games, and I played some stinkers. I fell in love with RPGs when I started playing the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III were mindblowing experiences. There was story, character development, drama, romance, and everything you could possibly imagine. Then you had games like Toys, which was based off the Robin Williams box office bomb. I don’t think I ever figured out how to correctly play that game. It was pretty terrible, if I remember correctly. There was such a wide and wonderful range of games, and I loved them all, even the bad ones!
Video games were a big part of my childhood. They helped me forge friendships and rivalries. They helped me learn how to appreciate a good story. They helped me learn how to solve problems. They helped me deal with stress and escape into a world where I felt comfortable. They still do all of this. I can’t imagine a world without video games. Later!