On My Relationship with Video Games
Dec 26, 2021 • gold matter • ~ 2 minute read • 500 words
I love video games. But it’s a rocky relationship.
as a vehicle for programming
Games are why I first learned to use computers; from ages 4-8, my parents only let me play typing games, drilling into me the importance of computer skills.
Games taught me to code. When I was 9, my parents let me explore video games, provided I knew how to make them. I learned to code in Adobe Flash (CS3, on Vista!), and uploaded my games to Newgrounds, Miniclip, and Kongregate - to poor reviews.
Games pushed me to program more. I dove into Minecraft modding and learned Java to make my own (buggy) mods with Forge. ComputerCraft motivated me to pick up Lua, and I learned logic gates through Redstone and RedPower.
Games were the first type of programming that I taught. In high school, I created a game development class for kids in Scratch.
I cannot emphasize how lucky I am to have learned programming at a young age. Video games gave me the life I have now.
as an art form
Video games created my favourite experiences:
- Portal 2 is my favourite video game. The art, music, and narrative is top-notch; the level design is stellar; the puzzles blew my mind.
- Antichamber made me question reality. This is the modern M.C. Escher.
- Hades is my favourite reimagination of Greek mythology.
- The visuals of Ori and the Blind Forest, Gris, and Transistor are breathtaking; Transistor’s soundtrack is equally mesmerizing.
- Breath of the Wild and Skyrim build worlds that rival the greatest fantasy franchises.
- Minecraft, Terraria, and Starbound are vanguards of creative building.
as a time sink
Addicting is the right descriptor. Both consumed thousands of hours of my life.
Playing competitive multiplayer games isn’t bad. I got too drawn into them, and they stopped being fun; that’s bad.
in the future
I still occasionally play League, and I just finished Gris and started DOOM Eternal. Moving forward, I want to spend time playing games that ignited my passion.
I’ll end by paraphrasing my friend in Discord, while we were playing League:
When I’m 50, I want to still be playing games. Not because they fill something missing in me. Because they’re fun.