I wish I could tell you guys about the first time I picked up a controller and played a video game. I wish that it was inspiring, that I could tell you that I loved it instantly and people stood back, in awe of my 8-bit prowess.
But the truth is–I don’t remember a time in my life before I played video games. I’m not sure how early my parents stuck the controllers in our tiny hands, but my sister and I were so young that I’m pretty sure we chewed on them a little before we got down to business.
There’s a picture of my sister pointing a plastic gun at our tiny television while I sit nearby in a diaper, intently watching. For awhile, I think, we played Duck Hunt more often than Mario because the one-button controller was easier to handle.
When we started playing Super Mario Bros, though, shit must have gotten real. I don’t remember the first time, though, I just remember that as we aged a bit we played it more and more often.
Mario was a dance, and it wasn’t icky to do it with your sister (though you did have to take turns on the floor). We knew when to jump in the bee level and when to swim lower in the water levels. We instinctively picked up on the fact that warp level were cheating, but sat in awe of our father when he cleared the game by using them.
As for my sister and I–we never finished a single game. That’s what happens when there are no save files, kiddos. Thanksgiving would end, and we’d be packed from one house with a console to the next. We got pretty far at Christmas once, but the last level was just too much. Besides, we had more fun polishing our skills on the lower levels.
That was a simpler time, when we didn’t know that games were for boys or that we weren’t really supposed to be playing them. We didn’t know they were geeky and nerdy, we didn’t know that it made us less cool to spend so many afternoons with those square controllers. We just knew it was fun.
Fast forward to today, and not much has changed. Except now I always finish games, and I can’t play quite as long thanks to budding carpal tunnel. Games have always been, and always will be, a part of life for me. It’s something that my husband and I can do together, and it’s something we can do when we need some alone time.
Moral of the story? Give a writer a blog, and she shall ramble. Other than that, pick up your favorite old school game and enjoy a little nostalgia!