Gaming for most of us has been there since our early years. For me, it started with a very special woman who planted the seed for one of my biggest passions.
Everyone has their story of their early days of gaming, right? Well, I figured I might as well share my early days of one of my biggest passions. To be honest, it was my grandmother who got me into gaming. The first console I had was the SNES, and my grandmother and I would play Super Mario World for hours, and other games like Legends of Mystical Ninja, Super Mario Kart, Sunset Riders. These were the formative years of not only becoming a gamer but memories that I look back as a younger kid thinking it was so cool that my grandma played video games with me. We’d talk about levels and what we did to beat them and what our favorite part of the game was.
When she would get her hair done, she would drop me off at the arcade with $5-10 and I’d go play the old cabinet games like Turtles in Time, X-men, Altered Beast, The Simpsons, Smash TV. To this day, I still get the same feeling when I walk into an arcade and hear all the sounds of the games and pinball machines, and buttons being smashed by gamers who are on their last life. I don’t think there’s anything like placing a quarter up on the gaming cabinet calling your next spot. A part of me is a little sour about the decline in arcades, though there are some still hiding in our local shopping centers. Some may mention Dave and Busters or other restaurants with the same marketing idea. But to me, that’s not a real arcade – that’s like saying Chuck E Cheese is an arcade.
I remember when I was about nine years old, and I stayed home from sick from school, and my grandmother went to Blockbuster and rented the Nintendo 64 (That was actually a thing). That was when I experienced Super Mario 64 for the first time. Of course, my adolescent mind was blown away laying sick in bed at the thought of walking around in an immersive world like the Bomb Omb Summit. Later I went onto Ocarina of Time, and I think it goes without saying that that game helped shaped a lot of people in one way or another either as a gamer or as a person. For me, it made me realize the feeling of gratification of setting goals and accomplishing quests and missions and the game overall.
I learned how to apply this determination, heartache, and persistence into finishing what I started and understanding the hardships of getting to my overall goal. I still use video games as a reminder that true defeat doesn’t come from a game over, but it comes from walking away and giving up. I still feel close to my grandmother because of gaming, thinking about what games she would like, although I don’t think she’d be into the newer, flashier games. But, I have a strong hunch she would love the resurgence of older graphically aesthetic games.
When I was beginning gaming, the concept of gaming was more local with close friends. Gaming has become so much more in such a short amount of time, and I have met some amazing people through this community and share some amazing stories. Moments and memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Especially now, I am more involved in the industry and it couldn’t be more surreal. I get to meet some wonderful people and get to pick their brains on their creations and what their problems were and how they remedied to fix what was in front of them.