Video Game Culture

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.

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*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?

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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7 Responses to Video Game Culture

  1. You totally just described my take on video games, right down to the “this is why I SUCK at mariokart.”

  2. Amianym says:

    re:Let’s Plays, personally I find them incredibly valuable because my processing speed and stuff is way too slow for me to play most games. I get to learn about this awesome story people keep talking about without… randomly acquiring cognitive skills I lack!

  3. Lindsay says:

    I had this problem, too, although in my case it wasn’t because my parents refused to buy us videogames. It was because I wasn’t able to play them: solo games, particularly in the Mario franchise, were just too hard, and I got tired of jumping down holes and dying all the time, and multiplayer games were usually competitive and my brother was a whiz at video games, so playing with him was no fun, either.

    But I definitely felt a bit of a cultural disconnect, even though my non-gamer status arose from my own lack of aptitude and wasn’t unjustly imposed by parental overlords.

    (Fun fact: Mariokart was one of the few games I could play, and stood a chance of beating my brother at.) The lack of holes to fall into helped.)

    And now I have Skyrim, which gives me no trouble at all, and which I enjoy hugely.

  4. jetzt says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on gambling. Regards

  5. I feel your pain. My parents kept me in a complete media blackout until age 13. I didn’t really get any kind of socially useful computer access until I was 15. Fortunately, I’m good at learning languages 🙂

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