Literacy Narrative ImageWhen I was about five years old I played my first video game, it was called Quake 2. This game was played on the PC and I sucked. I kept playing my little heart out as often as I could. I would play for hours in hope that one day I could beat the game, this determination led me to the life long hobby of playing video games. This hobby taught me that no matter how many times you fail, keep trying and never give up. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn.

When I was young I remember watching my dad and older brother Dustin play video games on the computer all the time. The two most memorable games they played were named Quake 2 and Diablo. They were two totally different games in terms of objects, but both intrigued me. Quake 2 was what my dad called a “shoot em’ up game” and Diablo was a RPG game where you battled the forces of evil, eventually fighting the devil himself. I would always bug them to play, but to no avail. They would simply say “No, you are to young. You wouldn’t even understand how to play” Fortunately I knew how to get my way. I simply went to the one who wore the pants in the family, my mother. I would just have to say, “Mom!! I want to play, and they won’t let me!” My mom would go to yell at them and tell them I should be allowed to play to. After about a million times of snitching out my dad and brother. I was finally allowed to play. I sat my little butt down and instantly lost. Dustin was usually there watching me, and as soon as I lost he would say “See!!! You can’t even play” I tried harder and harder until I was eventually able to play the game without dying every 5 seconds.

My favorite game to play at the time was called Quake 2, it is a First-Person Shooter game and the objective is to complete the level and beat the occasional boss (surprising right?) I quickly discovered that I could change the way my character looked. I decided to do what any normal six-year-old boy would do, I played as the naked woman! A few days later my dad sat down to play some quake and shortly after I heard “What the Fuck, Daniel were you playing as the naked lady!” I unfortunately was no longer allowed to play my favorite video game. By the time I could play video games again, I had a few new choices of games. We even had a new system. It was called the Super Nintendo.

The Super Nintendo seemed like it was a god send, playing video games was no longer limited to only one person at a time! This console had two controllers which allowed me and my brother Dustin to play together. Instead of him always teasing me he helped me get better at video games, probably because it benefitted him. There were three games we frequently played. The first two were called Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Brothers. Those games were two player games, or at least we would take turns and work together. The third game we played often was called Mortal Combat, this game was not a team game and it was two players. This was a fighting game where the two players would have to fight against each other. My brother and I loved to play Mortal Combat. Yeah, you guessed it, most of the time he would win. Those few times I managed to beat my brother felt magical, but every loss I learned from. After sinking many hours of my young life into this I got good at it, I was able to play on single player and beat the entire game with no assistance. Dustin wasn’t even able to beat the game. I started to really like playing against him, because the tables were now turned in my favor. I was finally able to win most of the games we played. I was now the one saying “HA! You suck I win.” I got to be the one doing the finishing moves in Mortal Kombat. These were special moves you can do when you won the round. My two favorite moves were to violently rip off the head of the opposing character or to kick them into a spike pit below a bridge we fought on. I was able to get that sweet moment of taunting Dustin, rubbing it in his face that I was victorious. It felt great to be able to tease my brother who is five years older than me. This is when I learned I was able to get pretty good at video games.

As I got older we acquired more systems and a very large variety of video games. I made it my personal goal to beat every video game I could, no matter the type or how difficult they are. By having this goal, I excelled at playing video games. Soon enough my gaming skills were leagues ahead of my brother and dad. My skill had grown so great I was basically able to play any video game with ease and had the ability to beat many on hard difficulties. When I was 11 years old, my dad bought me a computer. This was a huge game changer for me, because when I was younger most of my video game experience was on consoles. Consoles used controllers and the computer uses a mouse and keyboard. The play style was drastically different and suddenly, I was like a vacuum and sucked.

When I first got my computer my brother Dustin already had a computer and a few games. He had the newer games in the series I used to watch him play as a child. Some of these games were Quake 3: Arena, Diablo 2 and even a new game called Starcraft. I watched him play a few times, but I never asked to play them. I decided to ask my brother if I could play his games. He loaned me two games, Diablo 2 and Starcraft. Diablo 2 was a revamped version of the Diablo game I used to watch him play and Starcraft was a strategy-based game. I instantly fell in love with these two games. I sunk most of my play time into Starcraft. Starcraft was an extremely hard game if you wanted to be good at it and you could play against other people online. You could play with just the mouse, but you don’t really play all that well. If you wanted to be truly great at a strategy game on the PC, you need to learn how to use the keyboard very well. These types of game are full of “hotkeys” which are keys on the keyboard that make something happen in game, its much faster then clicking. Starcraft has about 30 different “hotkeys” that were part of the game by default. It sounds easy to learn the “hotkeys” but it’s not like you just press a key and you’re done. To use them to their max potential you had to have precision timing, it’s almost like a repeated cycle of the correct pattern. After a lot of perseverance, I was skilled at using the keyboard and mouse simultaneously while still making split second decisions. I was like a well-oiled machine, constantly making precision movements.

To this day I still play video games and I still think about all those experiences I had as a child from being a naked woman to online gaming. Every so often I still play some of the old school games, I love the nostalgia from it. I would be a different person than who I am today if it wasn’t for video games. They influenced my decision to get my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, because I love the way they enthrall the user. Video games give the player an endless challenge, constantly teaching them how to be better. It is extremely interesting to see how a game goes from the drawing board to a fully immersive experience.  I plan to develop video games when I am out of college. I want to work for Blizzard Entertainment, my favorite game studio. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for my love of video games and the valuable lessons they thought me. I learned patience and perseverance from all those times I lost and had to wait for loading screens or repeated the same level, until finally winning. I also learned that no matter how impossible the level or objective seemed. You always need to keep trying, learn from your mistakes and never ever give up.