Prologue: Escape Reality

This will be a first for a series of posts regarding my spectacular adventure with Video Games.

My experience goes back to my childhood days. It is quite confusing to me as I do not remember a lot of the greater elements that could put this into a clearer perspective. What I do remember however, is that I was a very active kid, who liked the outdoors. For me, growing up in Abu Dhabi consisted of  a few sports activities at school, and the rest of the time at the beach. While that was great, I seemed to be more interested in another activity. An activity that would cause endless rifts between me and my parents about how much time I spent on this new-found passion.

An inexplicable feeling was what drove me to play video games, and I am sure that many other gamers like me will know what I am talking about. But its something we as gamers can’t talk about. There is something about picking up that controller, grabbing a pack of Capri-Sonne orange juice and playing Sonic the Hedgehog for hours.

I do not think much people can relate to such an experience, but for some, it has been a gateway to something more. More in the form of interesting characters, compelling stories, and engaging experiences.

Such is the price we pay in the social arena. I was not really interested in being cool in school, which for others was the presumed road to “success”. Nor was I particularly interested in sneaking out into the staircase with friends to try our first cigarettes. I was just like any other kid who enjoyed a specific form of entertainment which didn’t happen to be a sport, music or something else. It was a source of fun for me and a small group of friends spending countless hours in the living room. On the other hand, that fun came at a  steep cost when it came to expanding my existing group of friends, or having the guts to ask a girl on a date.

Obviously, my experience is not without flaws. The price I paid in the social arena was one, and there are many other prices I’ve paid as well. I love playing football and tennis for instance, however the most form of training has ended up learning how to aim in first person shooters, rather than on football fields and tennis courts. I also don’t play any instruments, neither do I draw, nor am I a great chess player. Playing video games has seemed to replace many other skills that I could have learned.

Gaming has become an essential form of entertainment. Long gone are the days of that 16-year-old kid, spending endless hours in front of a TV screen (an overused stereotype, trust me, I would know). Gaming has become multi-platform, multi-player, multi-generation and increasingly social. Whether you’re a parent (16% of gamers play with their parents), in a relationship (17% play with their significant other), or just the classic gamer (the average gamer is now 30 years old), its time to pick up that controller and enter the virtual world.

It certainly looks much better than some of the things we have out here.