I was a hyperactive little scamp, to say the least. Always looking for the next big thing to entertain me. My Snes used to be set up on a small portable TV in the kitchen. This is where I could be found at pretty much any given time. Taking for granted I wasn‘t running amok with my friends in the back yard, I’d be knee deep in 16-bit action and adventure. The real world sat a few feet away from me, but I was usually much happier in these fantasy worlds. Fighting thugs while brandishing a lead pipe, rescuing damsels in all types of distress, and saving planets from impending doom at the hands of random evil bastards; this was day to day life for me, and I loved it. My father, on the other hand didn’t.
Dad never really understood video games. Never really got what they were all about. He saw them as a drug or a disease of some kind, and had no problems in letting my know his views on this.
There were countless times when he’d inform me how playing these would warp my mind, and leave me as nothing more than a shell of a human being. When I used to run out the door with my pocket money to play some of my favourites in the local arcade, he was convinced it was a form of gambling. I’d tell him how there was no money to be won on these machines, and it was a simple case of paying 20p to have a shot at beating some high scores or have a few fights with the other players. He didn’t understand this though. Being from a different generation, he just couldn’t seem to grasp how this worked. When sitting in the kitchen playing Mortal Kombat II, he’d bitterly tell me how the random high pitched sounds Liu Kang would make were bullshit, and how they made no sense. I’d defend my favourite pass time by saying how these sounds were part of his fighting style. Again, Dad didn’t want to know.
There were some good times attached to this too though. When the Nes was in our how, my old man used to love playing Duck Hunt. Armed with the Nintendo Zapper, he’d blast through the high scores of everyone else in the family. Constantly cracking jokes about it along the way. I distinctly remember him being blown away but the graphics on the original Starwing (or Starfox, as the Americans knew it) as I fought my way from Corneria to Venom , and even more so on that faithful Christmas morning when I first got my Playstation. He was stunned watching me play through the demos of Wipeout 2097 and Die Hard Trilogy.
It’s been a few years since my father passed away, and a lot of things have changed since then, both in my life, and in the world of gaming. I’ve inherited a few of his traits, the stern brow, the stubbornness, and the laugh that can be heard from be heard from about three doors down. Games have grew and grew over the years, and are a completely different beast now from what they were when my dad would have seen them. The stories are huge, the graphics are realistic, and the likes of Mario and Sonic are household names. I’ve grown too. Leaving behind a lot of my old life, and constantly striving to be a better man in every way possible.
One thing I’d never leave behind though, is gaming. It’s been such a huge part of my life since such a young age, that to take it away now would be equal to taking away a part of me. These are my things, and I’m passionate about gaming in the same way that my father was about reading.
I’ve been attending competitive gaming tournaments in an attempt to improve my skills. I’ve been co-running this very site with Richie, which has lead me to a spot of creative writing. I’ve also been making a lot of new friends through the likes of Xbox Live, and a bunch of online gaming forums, not to mention the people I met through organising tournaments myself too, trying to bring more gamers together. This makes me wonder what my old man would think of it all now. If he were still here, would he support me as I tried to take on the world through these tournaments? Would he listen to the pod casts, or even read the reviews and blogs? Would he see gaming as something more than a pixelated drug intended to screw up the minds of it’s players? Or would he simply be continue to be stuborn, and shun it away, calling it bullshit because he doesn’t understand it? Would he be proud of me?
I’ll never actually find out the answer to these questions, but they often cross my mind…