When I was a kid, I loved video games. I also loved candy and baseball and hugs from my mom. And now that I’m a grown ass man, I can’t be bothered by such childish things. When we’re younger, we have all the time in the world to devote to these things. But now, do you think I have time to get a cavity filled? I do not. Nor do I have 4 hours to watch a boring ass baseball game, let alone 162 over the course of what seems like 3 goddamned calendrical seasons. And I most certainly do not have time for the warm embrace of my loving mother.
As for video games, well, I used to love Super Mario and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out and Zelda. The thing that was great about those games is that you got 3 lives. That. Was. It. There was no “save” option, no memory card to store your progress. You could earn additional lives, but you most certainly needed them to win the game, which you could probably do within an hour or so. And that was good, because I needed to get back outside to play. Because that was way more fun that playing video games.
I have nothing against video games now, but they’re way more involved than they used to be. You can play with friends (or make new friends in-game), which is kind of cool, I guess. Except, I’d rather hang out with my real friends in-person, and I definitely am not looking to make new friends. Basically, I’m not a gamer, and I’m fine with that.
Last year, however, we decided to get my children a Nintendo Switch. Seemingly, the biggest task would be to effectively monitor the kid’s playing time. We created downtimes on the WiFi router (this doesn’t stop the gameplay, but disconnects from servers or other online play) and downloaded the Switch app, which allows you to set time limits (unfortunately these come in the form of notifications rather than locking the player out of the console). Little did I know that the hardest thing would be to monitor my OWN gameplay.
It started innocently, just a little 2-player Luigi’s Mansion to help the kids get through a particularly difficult section of the game. Then during some downtime (remember when I said I had no time? apparently if you look hard enough, some things open up a little) I found myself playing by myself. I admit, it was fun, and nostalgic, and I swear to God, I can quit any time I want to. The biggest red-flag came when I purchased a game for myself. Sure, the kids can play, but this is MY game. It was a callback to my original love of video games with my absolute favorite game: Zelda. Only this version wasn’t some 8-bit dude running around with only one sword and three hearts.
No, this was an open universe that somehow captured what I loved about the original game with the puzzles and straightforward battle to rescue Princess Zelda , and turned it into an open universe that was both familiar and unknown. It beckoned me to explore everything the game had to offer, and thoroughly impressed me with it’s incredible graphics. Now, somehow, I’ve found a lot more time to play video games. They’ve even been making their way into my dreams. I’m growing concerned that I’m going to end up on a viral video where my wife destroys the Nintendo, possibly with a Trident or equally obscure, yet referential weapon, and brands me a degenerate loser in front of all the Internet. Until then, my boy Link and I have some monsters to kill in honor of Princess Zelda.