Video games have always been a part of my life. My earliest memory of playing a game was my family and me playing the “possum game,” it is essentially the same as the quiet mouse game but I refused play the latter one. We would play games like this in the car… mainly because I was a very talkative toddler and that was the only way to quiet me. Now the first video games I ever played were The Legend of Zelda, Excitebike, and Duck Hunt on the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), and few more such as a Punch-out, but the first threegames mentioned were my favorites. We then got a Sega Genesis and I played such games as Echo the Dolphin, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Sonic. Finally the Nintendo 64 came out and I had a blast with Super Mario Kart, the Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, and Super Mario Brothers. Up to this time I was used to playing a wide variety of games, but when I got my Playstation 1 in 5th grade my taste in games narrowed, to that of RPGs (role-playing games). After playing Final Fantasy 8 on a Pizza Hut demo I became hooked and I started playing and collecting RPGs for the amazing PS1 console. I now own almost every single Final Fantasy game that has existed (and most of the soundtracks as well… gotta love Nobuo Uematsu) and many other great RPGs such as Chrono Cross and Xenogears. When Xbox came out Halo became a favorite, I played that game until Halo 2 came out. By this time I hadn’t really been exposed to online gaming, but with the advent of Xbox Live and Halo 2 I decided to try it. Once I started playing Halo online my gaming habits became very concentrated… primaly playing Halo 2 online with friends and enjoying the social atmosphere just as much as owning noobs. In 10th grade I decided to try out the World of Warcraft, a very successful MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), I thought it was neat and in addition was a nice combination of RPG and online/social elements. Since then WoW has dominated my play-time, it just feels like no other game can compare to the perfect mix of questing, grinding, PvP and social environment that WoW can provide.
Video games provide much more than simple entertainment for me. When I was younger that might have been true, but as my tastes have evolved to include the social Xbox Live and MMORPGs I believe that video games can provide much more than just entertainment. Socially, online games allow me to meet new people and new cultures; in WoW I have met people from all over the world such as Australia, China, Japan, Europe, and even Sri Lanka. Video games can also be used as a tool to meet new people. When I meet someone new in real life, and I somehow know that person plays video games, we automatically have something in common, . This is certainly true here at Vanderbilt, when I find out that someone is a gamer or plays online games, it is much easier to start up a conversation and it helps to break the ice. Also when I like to annoy or confound my noob friends I start talking in leet-speek and say such things as “noob”, “leet”, “roflcopter”, “I want to go AOE grind my 36 prot spec pally” and other such jibberish to the layman’s ears. Although few video games provide any form of academic achievement, I believe that videos help my grades. Ever since I started playing WoW my grades increased and I think this is due to the fact that I have a nice break from reality whenever I need it. I never let it overcome me and prevent me from doing my schoolwork, but when I need a break from writing a research paper I can always turn to a fun endorphine-inducing game. I believe this allows me to return to my work with a clearer and more open mind. Instead of ruminating over all that has to be done, my mind gets a nice break from reality. All-in-all I believe video games are beneficial to people, contrary to what many of the older generations think. I once interviewed an orthopaedic surgeon for a research project and he told me that he firmly believed videos games are great learning tools, and that the doctors from my generation will be much better equipped and much more skilled at fine surgical procedures than older generations because of our experience with hand-eye coordination using controllers with video games. I am not ashamed to tell people that I play video games because I am proud that I am a gamer.