Like most of the American generation born between 1975-1985, I grew up in the golden age of video games. Starting with an Atari 400, moving to an Atari 800XL, an NES, and finally settling with Sega consoles throughout much of the 90s, I became a “gamer” at an early age and remain one to this day. Recently elitists and exclusionists have hijacked that term, but to me a “gamer” is still just someone who enjoys playing games. Any games from the board variety, to the cellphone kind, to the newest console release. Whether they play once a month or 24/7, whether they’re hardcore MMORPGrs with hundreds of hours logged or they just play the Sims on their PC, it’s the pure enjoyment of playing a game that makes one a gamer. Not how high they’re ranked, how many accessories you own, or how many noobs you’ve pwned. At it’s heart, gaming is just entertainment; it’s not life or death. So to all my generation who live and breathe by their gear, their rankings, or their e-reputations … seriously … it’s just a game. Kick back and have some fun.
During my long gaming history I have learned a lot of lessons, lessons that apply to both the real world and the virtual world. Real world lessons aren’t always apparent, and the games that teach them can sometimes be surprising. Virtual lessons are more about the peculiarities of the gaming world, ways you learn to interact with a world of invisible walls and filled with store clerks who never leave their desks and repeat the same two lines over and over for all eternity.
Since this is the first post of this type, I thought I’d keep it light and start with a virtual world lesson:
If You Are Ever Injured, Seek Out Turkeys, Apples, Pizzas, Pork Chops, and Sodas Hidden in your Environment … and EAT Them Instantly!
I know what everyone’s thinking … eating found food doesn’t sound like a good idea but, trust me, I spent a lot of time playing Castlevania, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Streets of Rage 2 & 3, and Final Fight. Found food will help you immeasurably. A turkey found in a garbage can you’ve just smashed into a fading, dented version of itself after breaking heads all over Metro City or a roast uncovered after you’ve whipped some brick walls of a Transylvania castle into rubble will save your life! This is one of those lessons I’ve always questioned as I’ve played games, but it shows up again and again. I can’t imagine grabbing food out of the trash or a crumbling castle being good for one’s constitution, but don’t take my word for it; ask Simon, Donatello, or Axel…it’ll bring you back from near death.
Now, obviously, game programmers and designers probably got a little sick of using medical kits and vague red crosses as health power ups. It still seems strange that food as a medical restorative was and still is so popular. In the amazing fantasy world of video games it’s one of those things we just take for granted. But who says it can’t be applied to real life? I say we all give it a try.
So lesson learned. Next time you feel life slipping away and the world (or a gang of thugs) is beating you down, break open a nearby sign, rock, garbage can, or potted plant and eat the tasty contents revealed. Instantly. And watch the profound impact on your health!