I have had issues with video games for years. It’s not because I think they will corrupt your brain and turn you into a crazy person on a rampage, because they won’t, but it has to do with the fact that I greatly dislike being bad at things and that I was left out of the video games slumber party.
Whenever you were in middle school and your friends all had a slumber party and you weren’t invited it was the end of your life. The worst possible feeling in the world, you didn’t know the inside jokes on Monday, your nails weren’t painted the awesome new color that theirs were. That is what I mean by ‘wasn’t invited to the video games slumber party’. I never played video games. I didn’t have an older brother and when my friends and I were together we were talking about much more important things. Like where we were going to sit at the football game on Friday or what color of Vans we were wearing that week.
Video games were never an integral part of my upbringing. Not that I would have been opposed to them, I just want exposed to them. When my friends would say, “Hey! Let’s play Mario Kart!!” I would say, “Hey, there’s 5 of us. You guys play. No no really, like you guys really want to play and I don’t. I’ll just hang out. No seriously.” I avoided playing video games, even the easy ones.
There is a certain level of anxiety that comes along with not being good at something. You don’t want your video game playing friends, who have been playing video games with their older brothers for years, to know that you missed the video game playing bandwagon. And I definitely missed that bandwagon.
It’s not like I’ve never seen video games. I’m not Amish. (Sorry if you’re Amish. Actually, I’m not sorry. If your Amish and reading this you have bigger issues that me insulting your awareness of video games. Get back home, I don’t want to be the reason you get shunned.) I am familiar (in my own form of familiarity) with video games. I have watched enough Zelda to navigate that map like a champ. Well, not really, but that’s the only way to convey how much Zelda I have actually watched being played.
I have watched a lot of Mario Kart. I have cheered on epic Mario Kart battles. I have participated in my own way. But the second someone puts that controller in my hands, I get weird. Everyone else went to “Learn What the Controller Buttons Do” school and I DID NOT. Everyone assumes that you should know what the buttons do. They assume you had a cool older brother that taught you these things or that you didn’t avoid video games your entire life because you didn’t want to be bad at them. They don’t assume that your hands are sweaty and you are nervous.
At this point there is no turning back, the controller is in your hands and you are the focus of game savvy attention. This is where I pray the power goes out. I pray that someone way better at this than me will snatch that controller out of my hands and send me back to video game ignorance. That has never happened. I have to sit there and bare my video game challenged soul. Now I’m on some quest through some mystical land fighting pixel monsters and body slamming coins. To this day, I don’t know the point of the coins. Is there a prize counter at the end? Do I get a slap bracelet if I get enough? Can I save them up for the lava lamp? I just don’t get it.
Now that I’m playing I’m trying to grasp the speed of my video game hero. I’m trying to master the doing different things with my right and left hand concept and that’s when it happens. I start to lean. I start to turn my hands in the direction I would like my character to move. I start to lean my body in hopes that somehow, that will tell my pixeled hero how to navigate this mystical map/pipe system/barrel maze.
I’ve discovered that that in no way makes you better at video games. It makes you look really awkward. It let’s people know how challenged you truly are. This is the part of my gaming experience where I bow out and promptly get up to get a Coke because my blood sugar has plummeted so incredibly low due to stress.
So, now you know. I’ve bared my gameless soul for all to see. I am proud of you for your gaming conquests. Just please don’t ask me to play.
To be completely honest, I had a Sega Genesis. I had three games, Ms. Pacman, Berenstain Bears and Sonic the Hedgehog. Not once did I play Sonic the Hedgehog. Not once.