Over the past ten years…okay much longer than that, close to 25 years really, I’ve been asked why do I like video games? Video games aren’t for girls.
I remember my first response, to my brother who had the Atari in the house “Cuz they look like fun.” Admittedly I was five years old at the time and the only game I remember us having then was Pac-Man. He, of course, refused to show me how to play and I had to figure it out on my own. To his surprise, I had no problems with it. I was hooked.
Unfortunately, later that year, my brother decided to take apart the Atari. Please note: DO NOT DO THIS. EVER…unless you are a professional.
Fast forward three years to when I was 8 years old. The Nintendo was out and had been out for two years. I kept asking for it for birthday, for Christmas, even for Easter I was so desperately wanting it. I kept being told no, I didn’t need to play video games. However, Santa didn’t listen to my parents and I got a Nintendo. (thank you santa!)
I played anything I could get my hands on then. I still have the first three Super Mario Bro. games, three of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games, Legend of Zelda, Link, Tetris, Dr. Mario, Faxanadu, Lemmings and a handful of other games. I remember renting some from the video rental store too. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t quite realize that video games were good for me to be playing and would either limit my time severely, or grounded me from them when I did something wrong.
Eventually, I got into competitive artistic rollerskating and ironically, this got me deeper into gaming. Roller skating rinks have arcade games. I’d take breaks and challenge folks to Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. I didn’t know the combos. I didn’t know all the stuff that all the boys were saying. I just pressed buttons and won, which frustrated them to no end. I could play with one quarter to their 10 or more and not lose. Unfortunately, I doubt that would still be the case today. Just not as quick as I used to be.
But I was hooked on games for fun from a very young age. When I got a computer, I had a few very basic games on it. When we got a better one, we got a few better games. Then when I was in college, I was introduced to Ultima Online, Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, etc. And unlike many girls (or guys who were acting like girls), I didn’t advertise the fact that I was a female behidn my characters . I played to play the game, not to get free stuff from gullible men.
But the question remains, why do I play video games? And the answer is similar to what it was when I was 5: Video games are fun. They provide an escape from the real world.
Now, I admit, fun is the most important part behind playing games now. Add in the fact I have written for game sites for the past five years or so, have worked with gaming communities and have helped, most recently, with the International Video Game Hall of Fame, video games are becoming more than just a hobby. It’s a part of my life. Something I hope continues to be a part of my life, and my family’s life for years to come.
So why do I game? Why not?