Archer came into our room the other morning, and picked up one of my Playstation 3 controllers (left on my floor from the previous nights Fallout 4 session). Its the first time he’s even acknowledged the controller, normally choosing to step over them or brush them aside on the couch. He picked it up, and turned it over in his hands, examining the buttons and the joysticks. He even held it the right way up, and after putting it down on my bed, started bashing away at some of the buttons.
I could have died right there. Him doing something even as small as that, filled me with so much pride. For as long as I can remember, I have been playing video games. Given I am the youngest child in my family
(by a considerable way) my older brothers already had a games console. I remember at a very early age
playing an Atari 2600. I distinctly remember a tennis type game, as well as pong. The simplistic mechanism of the game paddles (they weren’t even called controllers back then) and the 8-bit graphics were basic, but cutting edge at the time.
The next console I remember our family getting was the Sega Master System II. It came pre-loaded with Alex Kidd in Miracle World (a game that, still to this day call Alex the Kid). I also remember games like Spy vs Spy, Bubble Bobble, and Mickey’s Castle of Illusion. Then came Sonic the Hedgehog. This game single-handedly shaped my childhood. I became obsessed with it, and after many many hours spent playing, I had finished it. Now, I wasn’t the sort of child that spent hours and hours and days and days in front of a tv or video game in one sitting. I was more content to read a book, or go outside and climb a tree or swing a swing. But there was something about video games that just spoke to me more than any of that other stuff.
Video games made me use my brain differently than how I’d been taught. How I’d been told. Without video games, my interaction with media was very one-directional. Books would be read, and remembered; television too. When I first held a game controller and was able to affect what happened on the screen, I felt in control for the first time in my life. My brain would be tested about action, consequence, timing, reaction, and relative space and distance. I push button A and Sonic jumps on the screen. I push the right button, and sonic runs to the right. I combine the two, and I can get sonic to run and jump over those spikes to reach the end of the level.
I want to introduce Archer to video games in the same way they were introduced to me. I want them to push him to experience the world in a different way. I want him to use them to learn about actions and consequences. About tenacity and never giving up, despite how many times he falls, because I’ll always be there with a couple of extra lives for him.
Thank you for reading,