Video gaming is part of one of those controversial activities – or products, such as coffee, or sweetener – that people keep discussing if it’s good or bad for health. Some people say gaming makes players dumb, increase aggressive behavior, and sedentary lifestyle, leading to obesity (well, and so does TV). Others – the US Department of Defense included – believe the opposite: video gaming improves the ability to reason and solve problems. I agree with the latter.
I used to love video gaming, but I don’t play it anymore because there’s little time left and so much to do and enjoy that video game would never be a priority nowadays. When I have free time, I’d rather get out of my place and socialize, go to the movies, or to a bar with friends. Also, the last time I played, I fainted! This is ridiculous, I know. It happened two years ago. I was at my place, seated on a couch, playing Tetris in a Blackberry. I had been playing it for a long time and, when I got to a very advanced level, in which pieces fall really fast, my brain asked for a break and went out of service; I fainted and I “came back” with my ex-husband in panic shaking me. It was weird and a little traumatic. After this episode, I haven’t played again.
But I would say in my childhood I’ve played enough for my entire life. I was five years old and used to spend weekends at my best friend’s place playing Atari 2600. I loved that primitive tennis game in which there were one-dimensional straw players – the blue and the pink – and a squared ball. Enduro was, of course, a classic! Unforgettable! I remember the colors of the horizon changing according to the time of the day… And what to say about Pac-Man? My favorite! I also enjoyed playing River Raid, Skiing, Donkey Kong, and Pitfall, all of which seem stupid even for five-year-old kids but were challenging and exciting twenty-five years ago.
Then, when Nintendo (NES) was released, my father gave me one. I used to play Zelda, Double Dragon, and all Super Mario games. I also had a Game Boy, in which I played Tetris and Paperboy, among others. Now, away from this gaming life, I couldn’t even try Second Life. I was afraid of the terms of service, and gave it up. I know terms of service are like medicine leaflets – we should not read them too carefully, but, anyway, gaming has changed a lot; it mingled with reality, and people are taking it too seriously. Or maybe I’m just too old for them.