Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Video Games Have Shaped My Life

From fashion to accomplishments, from skills to marriage, video games have impacted my life. Our culture is one that has been built on electronic images. Nobody can understand what life would be like without electronic images because everyone alive today has experienced it through one form or another: movies, TV, print advertising, etc. Many understand how powerful movies can be - the social impact they can achieve. Similarly, the social strength of video games is not debated. Instead of watching, you actually take control of your character, becoming the persona.

What is debated is whether they bring positive or negative consequences. The favorite argument given is that video games are harmful because someone that played first-person shooters killed some people. To my knowledge, there is not a game in which you can be a pedophile, but there are too many of those people out there. I doubt they can pin their disgusting behavior to Halo or World of Warcraft. Even so, I concede that video games can have a negative impact on a person. But I just don't see that as the majority.

Personally, my life is filled with representations from video games. I started playing video games at two years old. The system: Atari 2600. The game: The Empire Strikes Back. I soon graduated to Mario Bros. on the Nintendo. I rescued Toad way too many times in search of the Princess, now known as Peach. As games progressed, graphics became more realistic, and the music became gripping (Nobuo Uematsu has scored much of my life through the Squaresoft titles).

I have a 1st Degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Not because I knew anyone with that skill, or because I needed protection. The reason? The Tekken series. I saw Baek from Tekken 2 fight one time and wanted his skills. The style was graceful, fierce, and fast. My desire to emulate an emulation drove me to acquire a skill I am proud of (and helped attract my wife . . .)

I own a handgun. Time Crisis is to blame. Hiding behind objects amidst a battlefield of innumerable uniformed guards was intense and exhilarating. The best part was holding a replica gun with recoil action. It gave me a desire to own one for myself. Now I have the equipment to protect my family.

My favorite (and my wife's) coat that I wear today was based on the one that Squall from Final Fantasy VIII wears. I actually searched for such a coat for seven years before I found it. But I did. (Anything familiar about his name?)

But, on to more important things: my wife. 
Seeing the world of archeology from behind Lara Croft was a fascinating thing. She is strong, agile, quick, courageous, and independent. The character of Lara Croft was no doubt created for a male-centered video game market. However, Tomb Raider was wildly popular with both males and females. For women, Lara Croft personifies what they desire if they could stay away from work or stay away from home. For men, Lara Croft personifies the external attitudes of what they desire in a woman. Unfortunately, most men couldn't (or wouldn't want to) handle a strong-willed, independent, quick-thinking, do-it-herself woman. However, this personality is one that I desired. Of course, without the quick-tempered, gun-blazing consequences of disagreement.

I somehow found just what I was looking for. But my wife is hotter than Lara, even when she is dressed like Lara (Halloween proved that to me). Another thing that Lara doesn't have that my wife does is the ability to play, and beat me, in Tekken

I stopped finding toads and finally found the Princess, now known as Saundra. My wife and my relationship is like that of Mario and Princess in Mario Kart: Double Dash. She holds on to the back of my cart while tossing obstacles at my competitors and shoves us away from cliffs as I power-drift us around the turns of life and on to victory. 

 . . . all because of the power of video games.


  1. I am not a current fan of video games but, I am a fan of your writing! Great piece and great transition into the importance of Saundra in your life. I like it!!

  2. This is such an amazing way to see how video games impacted your life Jonathan! I really like the way you laid this out. Very Compelling!! (And when I saw that pic of Squall, I thought that coat looked familiar.)

    Before reading this I did not know how much of my husband came from his interactions with video games so I would just like to say...thank the Lord for video games!!! My husband is perfect in every way and apparently it's because of video games?? Although, I think some other things also had to do with it! :)

    Let's go play Mario Kart!!

  3. I'm not a fan of video games, although I like them. The only one I sort of know how to play is PacMan. I've purchased plenty games over the years for my children and do not regret it.