I remember the good old days: staying up till the sun rose, slaving over a hot keyboard trying to make that last digital buck so I can buy that digital prize I’ve wanted for a few hours. It brings me back to a time of chaos, wizardry, and ‘slight’ obsession that to this day, I really hope to not go back to. My addiction to games was more of an insatiable hunger that needed to be constantly fed and the latest and greatest games were the only known cure. But it wasn’t always like that.
Growing up, I was the typical bookworm, always doing my schoolwork, reading books until after bedtime, and just was loved by my friends at school and the faculty for my cheerful attitude. I wasn’t a gamer back then, despite my dad owning the Nintendo Entertainment System or the Sega Saturn, and having a very large collection of games. Sure, I’d pick up the controller and play some Legend of Zelda, with its shiny, golden cartridge (which I still keep to this day) or Sonic the Hedgehog, but I was firmly into my studies and straight As in school. That was until I came across the greatest of all evils (or the bringer of fantasies, depending on who you talk to).
The Hunger Rises
My father, as an act of good faith for me getting straight As in school and seeing no harm in it, one day for a summer break present bought me the Playstation system. From that moment onward, my life was soon enveloped in the joys of fantasy worlds, and slowly but surely my grades started to wane and my schoolwork, while still at a very high level for my age, started to show signs of decline in quality. What started The Great Decline, as my parents have come to know it? A little game called Command & Conquer, a strategy game where you build an army and attack your enemy with your forces. I absolutely loved it and still occasionally play it’s current iterations to this day. But back then, things only got worse.
Soon after, more games started arriving that I couldn’t let go of. Games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dino Crisis, Gran Turismo, and the most known game of all, Final Fantasy. I fiend for all of these games like a bloodthirsty wolf, fighting with my sisters and father, sometimes physically, to play even for a few minutes of the game. When my father took away the console controllers, I moved on to the family PC, where I played games such as Warcraft and Starcraft, two games which were similar to Command & Conquer but in a fantasy world I liked, or the bloodiest culprit of the entire gaming industry, World of Warcraft.
I could write books about my exploits and adventures in World of Warcraft, or WoW as it’s known, both inside the game and outside, fighting tooth and nail with my father to play the game at night. The sweet, innocent boy they once raised and praised was now gone to a world of spells and online monthly fees. Oddly enough my mother still payed for years despite my outwardly violent behavior. Until that one faithful day.
Friends, or Games.
You may ask what made me give up such a lush and fun vice in my younger days. The simple truth, I gave it up for love. My best friend since the third grade was soon to have back surgery to alleviate crippling pain. As she was going in, I started to take a hard look at myself and my gaming and wanted to change. Soon after, I heard she had a complication, but thankfully she would be alright, just needed some extra bed rest. As i stood over her bed, I made the sworn oath that I would never let a video game ever come between me and the love of a good friend. And to this day, while I still play games for fun with friends from school, I still hold true to that promise I made to her long ago.