Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father bought a brand new Super Nintendo (the old one, Super Nes) for her and for her brother to play on. The first game that they both had ever played was Aladdin. Of course, since the girl was older and this is how siblings rule over each other, she got a say in who plays first and who does what. Her brother would sit next to her, wide eyed, watching the colorful screen perk up in front of him as his sister defeated guard after guard in her quest to get to the horrible Prime Minister, Jafaar, who was keeping Princess Jasmine with him.
They had only known the Atari before the Super Nes, the one that their uncle owned and played ping pong on. Whenever they'd go to their grandmother's house, fights with their cousins over who got to play next erupted. Magically, though, whenever a game would start, they would all turn quiet and stare at the screen, bewildered by what was going on, encouraging the lucky family member who got hold of the joystick to defeat the unruly pixelated monsters appearing on the screen. Encouraging the family member to win, and to do them proud.
Yes, this is how those children were. They would fight over who got to win the game and show off his or her video gaming skills, but after that would be resolved there is peace for a few minutes while someone is taking their turn. When the game is over, the same cycle repeats itself all over again.
Then, with the passing of time, technology developed and more advanced games were made with more players being able to handle more joysticks and have joint games. By that time, the girl and her family grew up a bit. She would defeat her elder male cousins and their times in games, and to prove herself further, engaged in real rough combat with them on the streets whenever they played. She would be the only female member of the family to be seen between a sea of white kandoura's and black slippers. Her uncle would sometimes see her there and tell her to enter the house and play with plastic figures with her other female cousins. She'd nod her head in respect, and as soon as she'd spy him leave the house, she'd run back out and finish up with her cousins. Once, she even tolerated the severe burns of a rash on her hands caused by her catching a fast ball kicked by her cousin who was the best football player around them as she was playing goalie. She held back her tears, raised her head up high, curved her red sweaty cheeks and smiled. They all cheered for her. It was one happy moment for her.
Her envious female cousins would tease her about spending a lot of time with her male cousins. The reason, she explained, was because she thought that this girly stuff was boring. She liked life with a bit of spice and action, not one spent making imaginary dreams of what Prince Barbie would marry and what clothes would go with her pink makeup. Once, one of her female cousins was playing a video game and she gave the girl the joystick so she would see what she would do. At first, she laughed at her because the girl was just making the character of the video game walk around in circles. Later, though, she became awestruck as she saw how far the girl had made the character progress, it was something way beyond her expectations. She began to see the young girl in a new light, and held respect for her.
Then, when the girl would go out into the yard and onto the grass to play football with the boys, her female cousins would cheer on her and encourage her to stop balls and throw them (she was usually chosen as a goalie for her apt skill in that area). Later on, though, the girls found the guts and came out from the stands and onto the field where the games were played. They started participating, and for a short period of time even made their own girls' squad.
Those girls grew up, and so did the boys. They all went their different ways, hardly ever meeting at all as young adults, for they're each busy with their own lives.
The girl though, the main character of this tale, grew up to appreciate the small pleasures that such games give. She learnt that even the simplest things in life matter. They would remind her of the old and dusty days, and still give her the same feeling of excitement and joy for finishing yet another level and defeating yet another boss that she used to experience when playing Aladdin for the first time.
Such pleasures never grow old...
Breaking the Chains:
"Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music"