Geek Origins: Video Games

Yesterday the ever-talented and sweet Lauren Orsini tweeted about a new blog series she was starting called ‘Geek Origin Stories’, where she shared her tales of how she became involved in some of her geeky (and glorious) habits. I told her it was a fantastic idea and she encouraged me to blog about my own experiences, and the first thing that popped into my head was my long history with video games.

I will never forget the day when I was a little girl that my mom came home with a shopping bag and zoomed into her bedroom. I followed her, jumping up and down and asking what it was. She said it was a toy for her and my father, and that maybe if I was well-behaved, she would teach me how to use it too. Out of the bag she pulled a Nintendo Entertainment System, complete with the ever-nostalgic Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt combo cartridge, and a gray and orange light gun. My world was truly changed forever. This was my first ever experience with video games.

I became addicted to the challenge, the music, and the fun graphics on the screen. I began asking my parents for permission to use their Nintendo whenever I was bored, and since I was a rowdy kid and it kept me quiet, my parents were very agreeable to it. When I began to get fussy at my grandparents’ house, they hooked up one of their old game systems for me to play with in their basement. Years later when we moved into their house after my grandfather passed away, I found the box with the system and games in it and was shocked to realize that I had been playing an Intellivision II throughout my childhood! When my aunt and uncle got a Nintendo for my cousins, I spent hours in their basement playing Yoshi’s Cookie, which is still a game I love to play.

When my brother was a few years old, he began wanting to play video games too. My parents had bought me a Sega Genesis, which kept me occupied mostly with Disney games and Sonic the Hedgehog, which is still one of my favorite series’ to this day. They thought it smart to get him a different system so we could both share. They got him a Super Nintendo, and I quickly found myself obsessed with it as well, and I wound up playing it far more than my brother did.

I began saving up my allowance to go to my local Blockbuster as well to rent games, since it was so much cheaper than buying them. I have so many memories of looking down the aisles like a kid in a candy store, picking games out with my little brother that we would both want to play so that we could share and use that excuse to get our mom to let us get one or two more titles. Those memories are incredibly vivid in my mind even now.

I stayed with these systems as I got older, just playing them for fun. It wasn’t until I picked myself up a PlayStation and a copy of Final Fantasy VII that I realized there was so much more out there in the world of video games to explore! My next purchase was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and it encouraged me to try all different kinds of games, and when I began to discover things like GamePro Magazine, I realized there was an entire industry behind this stuff, and I started reading magazines and surfing the Internet looking for info on what the hot upcoming titles were. All of this eventually led me to be the video game nut I am today.

I always thought of the purchase of my PlayStation as the moment when I became a serious gamer, but looking back now as I write this, I realize that I was just as passionate about video games back then as I am now. Games are simply a lot different now then they were when I was a kid, and a lot of the games I loved back then probably wouldn’t thrill me now, but every time I play a Sonic game, I still have memories of falling into the purple water in the second zone of Sonic 2 and running to hide behind the couch because the sound of the drowning countdown petrified me (I’m fine with it now, before you all start mocking me!). I look back on such memories very fondly.

Now I wonder, what drove me to love video games so much? Everyone has different reasons why they take so well to certain hobbies. I think I took to video games because as a child, I had very little friends (the reasons why are plentiful and could fill up several more blog posts, so I will only say that I did not fit in with the children in my town in any way, shape, or form) and when my brother was born, they naturally had to spend a lot of their energy on him, and it was just easier for them to take my little hyperactive ADD-ridden behind and plop me in front of a game system. I began to memorize levels of games like the back of my hand (ADD children happen to have a fantastic memory of the things they actually do pay attention to), and my confidence in being able to beat those games comforted me and let me use that confidence in other areas of my life.

So there you have it, some reflection on the origin of my love of video games. I do have a few other Geek Origin stories for you guys, and I can’t wait to share them with you!


1 Response so far »

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    […] Inspired by my Magic The Gathering geek origin story, both John B. and The Ginachu put up their own geek origin stories! I’m […]

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