I was thinking about how I learned all the things that help made me the individual that I am. Articulation, strange sense of humor, common sense, even the way I see the world. And how did I learn all this?
Video Games, Cartoons, Nerdy board games, Anime, Movies… and, you know what? I’m happy for that! Heh, allow me to emphasize using just video games…
One of my favorite video games is Final Fantasy, and it’s one of the most world-renowned Role Playing Games in the world. The very first Final Fantasy game gave you the choice to create a party of 4 characters, using 7 different individuals with their own unique traits and powers. You had the Fighter, the Black Belt, the Thief, The White Mage, the Black Mage and finally the Red Mage. From the very start you had to decide what combination of classes was best to take on the rest of the world with. And the game itself made it clear that if you were not prepared for what lies ahead, it will crush you. There was no cheat codes, no DLC, not even a strategy guide (at least I didn’t have access to one then). So at a very young age, I learned to be prepared for anything that can happen, and even then, you couldn’t plan for everything, so you’re forced to allow yourself some space to improvise if the going gets tough, and trust me, at 8-bits, it doesn’t get harder than this.
Another video game that taught me an important life lesson is: Super Mario Bros. the very first one. In that game, there really were enemies abound, from corner to corner you couldn’t escape one without running into another just as menacing. But this game taught you that a single mistake can lead to DEATH! No half-way points, no lesser enemies, no extra help. You were faced with the exact same scenario that you died in, it didn’t matter if you were an inch or a mile away from the goal, the moment you let your guard down, you were eaten alive. In this, you learn not to hesitate when the moment calls for it, to take a leap of faith when you’re faced with no time to think.
Other than these obviously frustrating things, but through them, and several others, I’ve learned the interweaving of a story, the twists and turns of a plot, how to build suspense, and how to make the heart skip a beat. Video games have taught me what it means to have Honor, Duty, Respect, Culture, Articulation (from those long monologues from the Bad Guy), this list is rather endless. One thing is certain, “There’s always another way.” This is manifested in various forms in Video Games. “If a Boss keeps killing you, find better equipment” translates into “If something is stopping you from reaching your goal in life, you must find other means to get to it.”- Final Fantasy. “If you’re surrounded by enemies, get a Turtle shell and make a path!” translates into “If you can’t go over an obstacle in life, and you can’t go under it either, then go through it.”- Mario Bros. “If you can’t reach that platform, try searching for something you’ve overlooked” translates into “if you find yourself stuck at a point in life, perhaps you have overlooked something you already have to help you. Don’t give up.”-Legend of Zelda.
If it wasn’t for my playing these games for hours on end, I wouldn’t stare at the night sky and ponder about the various things that lie just beyond this world’s grasp. I wouldn’t have an open mind to accept the friendships of various people from all over. I wouldn’t have gotten important perspectives in life, the dichotomy of good and evil within someone, the importance of being prepared in all situations, the appreciation of a job well done after hours of pain and turmoil (well, virtual anyways).
In the end, we are made up of what we’re born with and that’s a LOT of room for potential. If we are able and encouraged properly, we can take even the most useless wastes of time and forge our own character, one that can withstand all the horrors and pains in this world, and be the Knight in Shining armor, defending the helpless against the greatest of evils.