Gaming: My Beautiful Escape from the Real World!
Updated: Apr 16
Gaming...this word holds a lot of weight in it. This word might just have 6 letters within it but what it holds is far greater! I have always had an interest in fantasy, stories and the like and when I first discovered games through the old Mitashi console that almost everyone around had, I was completely blown away!
It was amazing what we could do in games, for me, it started out with an old shooter by the name of Contra. I know I died a many times in-game trying to complete it but the hours of fun and the frustration at not completing the levels fueled my love for this beautiful medium! It made me go back and play that game multiple times and in doing so, I just lost myself in the screen with the characters. But this was just the beginning...a step in my journey as a gamer because I still hadn't been acquainted with this amazing console called the PlayStation 2.
The first time I ever saw the PlayStation 2, was in the USA. I had been in the states because of my dad. He was touring around the country performing in various cities while my mom and I tagged along! I think it was the best vacation of my life, I got to meet new people, hung out with tons of kids and here's the real kicker - I got to play the PlayStation 2 for the first time ever! And I'll let you in on a little secret (not really a secret), it was love at first sight!
Who knew an inanimate object could understand me better than anyone else! XD
To set the scene, on a warm summer night, we were visiting one of my father's friends, we had just gotten to their place where we met up with him and his family. They were really sweet people and welcomed us as if we were family. They had two kids and initially, I was nervous to even speak to them, looking down at my feet sitting on a couch. I was getting bored, to be honest, while the adults were all catching up. It was then that the older boy amongst the two children came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to follow him to the other room. Perplexed and a little intrigued, I ended up following him and entered the living room which was just adjacent to the dining room. There, on the big TV screen in the living room was an animated version of Spiderman, swinging around above buildings and fighting bad guys, it was as if I was watching a movie I had never seen before, but then I looked below the screen and saw the younger brother with a controller in hand actually controlling what Spiderman was doing on screen. It was then that I realized, they were playing a game and the moment I looked at the console, it was as if the world had stopped and violins started playing in my ears! I know this sounds over-dramatic, but for an 8-year-old, it was the best thing I had ever seen! XD
The three of us ended up playing all night and since we were staying in the city for about three days, I went over to their house every day just to play this game! This was the start of my beautiful relationship with gaming. Even though I had played on a console at home beforehand, it was never this real, this immersive and this exhilarating!
I ended up buying the console in India and started playing on it at home! For a kid who was meek and quiet in school, this was my only solace! I played so many games, from God of War to Downhill Domination, from NBA 2003 to Fifa, it was some of the best times I ever had. The best part was, I got to share these experiences with some of the closest people in my life. My friends and my cousins! We laughed, cried, got angry at each other, swore at each other and fought as well! But this only worked to strengthen our bond!
This wasn't the only console we played on though, we also had our gameboys with us, playing Pokemon, trading with each other, battling gyms and living in these fantasy universes that just made us incredibly happy!
We were free and we allowed our childlike minds to fly away into the realm of these games, playing for hours on end. I remember during our holidays after our 10th Grade finals were done, I used to spend entire weekends with these guys playing Call of Duty and Fifa without a care in the world. It was just us and the games...truly the best of times.
Growing up, going from a quiet kid to an awkward teen and now an adult who still has childlike tendencies, gaming has been a constant in my life no matter what. It has let me live a life I otherwise wouldn't be able to. Something funny about this is that, after 7 or 8 long years, in the year 2018, two games came back to the PlayStation gaming systems, this time on PlayStation 4. These games were God of War (my favorite game ever) and Spiderman (the first game I ever played on the PlayStation). These two games being released again made me feel like a child again. The amazing thing here is that the stories these games tell, and the characters we get to know through these stories, are hands down some of the best stories and characters I have ever seen on screen. I cried at the end of God of War because I was that invested in the game and its characters. I grieved with them, laughed with them and got angry for them. These were just characters on screen, but they were able to get that reaction out of me. In Spiderman, I was able to become Peter Parker again and swing around the city stopping crime. The joy that the feeling of swinging gave me was truly overwhelming. I was able to enjoy myself through the story and truly get to feel what Spiderman is and who he is. It allowed me to become Spiderman, and that was truly beautiful.
Most recently, I got to play a game called Shadow of the Colossus. Its a game about trying to change the past, you play a character who is trying to bring back a loved one they lost and in the process, you end up losing yourself. It truly is a beautiful story and one I got to know about because of a YouTuber who goes by the name of JackSepticEye. Without him, I don't think I would have ever learned about this game, I wouldn't have been able to feel the pain of the character, the grief, and desperation he has to bring back his loved one. The regret at the end of the game seeing what we have become. There is so much beauty in gaming, and I am really happy that I have been a witness to this beauty.
Finally, I end this article by urging you to pick up a controller and just play one game, give it a shot and see where it takes you... Let us know if you do end up playing a game whether to be on mobile, console or PC. What was your experience like?
This is 1000minus7 signing out, I hope I was able to give you a glimpse into what I feel about gaming and why I say it's the best relationship I've ever had. We speak more about this topic on our podcast where you'll get to hear both our perspectives on this topic.
You can listen to our podcast here: https://bit.ly/gaming-nostalgia