Video Games

As I stated in my post titled, “I’m Bored,” I was never allowed to play video games until after my parents divorced when I was 15 years old. My uncle bought my family a Super Nintendo for Christmas. I remember absolutely loving games like Donkey Kong Country, Zelda, Metroid, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Kart, etc. They were super fun.

I especially loved the RPG games, even in their pixellated form. Final Fantasy and especially Zelda, with all the puzzle solving, story progression, character progression, etc. was my peach pie.

My mother bought me a PC version of Final Fantasy VII when I was in my late teens. It barely ran on our old family PC, but I LOVED it. I would get very immersed in the characters, the dilemmas, and the story line.

After that, I played the Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time on our newly bought N64. I actually played through that game several times. From there, I progressed to the other Final Fantasy games.

I don’t remember how we got it, but we owned a small game on our PC called The Dig that I played through over and over as well. It was another RPG type problem solving game. It was hard but so fulfilling when you solved the puzzles that led you deeper into the story. I miss that game.

I married a man who was surprised and delighted to find a girl who loved to play video games (something not as rare these days as it was when I was first married). After we had our first child, he bought Windwaker for me on the GameCube. Loved it.

Then, my brother gave me a copy of what would become my favorite RPG for a very long time. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I played that game for years. My first child, our son, was a wonderful baby. He would sleep for hours and hours and I stayed home and played Oblivion all day in my pajamas, only getting dressed when I realized my husband was likely on his way home from work and I’d better make dinner.

Years later, my son was trying to play Minecraft on the Xbox 360, but he was having a hard time figuring it out. I thought the game looked weird and lame, but I finally deigned to help him with the game…and I didn’t give the controller back for 5 hours. I was so hooked, hahaha. My husband still makes fun of me for that day. It’s all good, though.

Finally, years after I had played and replayed Oblivion, Elder Scrolls came out with version 5: Skyrim. I had eagerly awaited the release of this game, and I even stayed home from a family trip with my newborn daughter so I could play it. I spent a lot of hours in that game. I loved everything about it; the music, the environment, the characters, the quests. Oh my goodness. I never thought I would find a game that would top Skyrim.

Then I played Dragon Age: Inquisition. Oh my goodness, if I thought the story and integration in Skyrim was good, this was even better. I love it when I can play a female lead character within an RPG, and I loved the role I played in it. I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of RPG’s. It was epic.

There are many other favorites that I go back to on a regular basis. One of them is ARK. It’s more of a survival simulator than an RPG, but it’s still a lot of fun, even with its many challenges, which all revolve around staying alive. You can starve to death, die of dehydration, exposure, illness, or be eaten by a dinosaur. Yes, a dinosaur. The best part of this game is that you can tame dino’s to help you. Some dino’s are good for collecting resources so you can build a home or base to protect yourself from encroaching predators. Others are good for riding into dangerous caves to find your goods. Still others are fliers that transport you to different places on the island much faster and safer than on land.

It’s a great game, made very frustrating by the fact that it’s HUGE, needs a very up-to-date PC to run it, and is extremely buggy as well. It can be a very frustrating game to play, and my husband is constantly stymied when I go back to it after a particularly vehement rant at the developers. It needs a lot of work in the back room, especially with optimization, but I don’t know much about that…really.

The thing about video games is that it’s another avenue to take a break from the normal world. Or it can bring you closer to your loved one (for example, running through a multi-player RPG with your partner is a great way to bond), family, or friends. We love getting family together to play games like Super Smash Brothers, or Towerfall. Good family fun.

I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding video games, but for me, most of the experience has been positive. I’m surprised how much my kids have learned from the games themselves (we do strictly supervise what games our kids can play (I prefer open world creative ones like Minecraft for the kids (in small doses))). The only problem we have is when it’s time to get them off the games.

But if I’m honest, that’s also my biggest problem as well. Just ask my husband.

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