I never really got to play video games as a child; my family didn’t own any sort of console, and when I pressed my parents (as I often did), they did not view such an expenditure as a worthwhile one. While I found this to be unspeakably unjust at the time, looking back on it, I can see how this decision would make a great deal of sense from their perspective. Video games from the time of my childhood (to those not actively playing them at least), were uninspiring, annoying* things which rendered children sedentary, ruined their eyesight, and caused them to hog the television set when you wanted to watch your programs**. Why would you waste money on such an expenditure? It is a perfectly understandable decision.
Unfortunately, it was also the wrong one.
Because you see, what my parents failed to realize at the time was that, while video games were an inane diversion to people of their generation, they are The Dominant Cultural Medium of my generation. Thus, by not letting me play video games, they were, in effect, isolating me from my peers and rendering me largely illiterate in their language.
I’m not even joking when I say that I was ostracized as a result of this decision. I can remember many occasions during my childhood when I would be invited to a friend’s house, and we would “take turns” playing their NES/N64/Sega Genesis. Of course, given that I had no actual experience playing video games, I found myself lightyears behind my friends, and my turns would invariably be brief. Broad swaths of my childhood were wasted watching my friends play video games, chipping-in every few minutes to ask if I could have a turn and being told “yeah, sure; just as soon as I die.” To this day, I can’t stand to watch Let’s Plays because they remind me of this***. And those rare occasions when we would play multiplayer games would just be torture: (“Boy, hahaha, you really suck at this game!”)
Anyways, all of this is something of a round-about way of justifying to myself and my audience precisely why I suck at MarioKart.
*Remember what eight-bit music sounded like; now, deactivate your mental ‘nostalgia filter’ and try listening to it again. It is, objectively, pretty annoying.
**I assume that this last must have been the main reason, since they never had any problems with letting me play games on the Computer, so long as I came-up for air every so often.
***Well…that and the fact that, when you think about it, ‘Let’s Play’s are inherently pointless: if the game is bad, then they are just boring and if the game is good then…well…wouldn’t you rather just play it yourself?