Monday, March 17, 2014

What Computer Games Taught Me

They say I'm a gamer.

Actually, playfulness is one consistent and deepening yet (for some) inapparent trait I have in me. I guess it's basically rooted in the joys of my childhood. When I was little, I used to wake up each morning with only one goal in mind - to play.

The first time I laid my hands on our first ever personal computer, I almost glued myself to it. I got addicted to Sims (by EA games) - the original old plain one. I marveled at its graphics since it looked so real. Moreover, I loved the idea of building a character and family of your own, of creating and designing a house where they could live, and of manipulating the characters as if you, yourself, are in the game. Since I used to share the same computer with my siblings, I had no choice but to spend limited time playing. Nonetheless, I continued loving the game even until my sisters got fed up of it. So when I had all the chance, I played Sims more than I used to and thought about it a lot that I could say I mastered it. I came to memorize where the items in the 'buy' option were placed. I used cheats without looking at the cheat codes. I learned to navigate the program fast and easy. From time to time, we upgraded the game until it leveled up to an expansion pack. I was loving Sims more with the upscale and all when our computer crashed for the first time. We lost all the files . . . including Sims.

Although I got a bit devastated with my loss, I easily recovered through the online crash cart game, big fish games, 'dash' games, pokemon, Red Alert, Counter Strike and a lot more which were soon installed in the computer. I realized t'was more fun to have it all in variety. Different graphics, different rules, different characters, different of everything. I felt proud for being like a generalist. Unfortunately, one day, a virus got our computer really ill that all the files, including the games, had to be erased.

I played the best computer games ever when, finally, my parents bought me a laptop of my own. Although I promised myself to take care of it and not to fill it in with games like I used to, I still had in it Sims 2, then Ragnarok, then Diablo and eventually, several others which I barely remember. Initially, I thought I was the happiest kid in the world. I had absolute control of my time. I dribbled my fingers on the keys and did heaps of clicks whenever and wherever I wanted to. During vacation, I played all day as if the laptop was on fire.

However, gradually, things changed.

I started to get envious of my characters. I thought that I made them better than me. My sim already maxed her skills, was on top of her career, got a great family and lived in a luxurious house. I wished I was as successful and fulfilled as her. Elsewhere, my Sorceress was clad in highly resistant, durable, gold helmet, armor and boots with full gems and perfectly combined runes in it, was using a gold powerful staff, had its frozen orb at 15 and was in the Great Marsh of Nightmare Level. I wanted to be as strong as her, I thought. My archer got into third job and had become a sniper. She was nicely dressed in a durable and highly resistant to poison armor and got this card clipped in her so she could release arrows as fast as thunder. Her falcon was the strongest bird that could strike 1000+ continuous damages in just a split second. I hoped I was as experienced as her. There I was, bringing these characters to greatness but robbing off myself of it.

Little by little, I let go of the keys and mouse. I lessened my playing time and increased my reading time. Soon, I uninstalled Sims 2 in my computer . . . followed by Ragnarok. (Don't ask me about Diablo) One day, I was left alone in the house. I chanced to spend that time thinking and reflecting. I sat in the middle of the room and looked around me. Suddenly, I realized that I can be just like the characters I've played. I realized that life is like a computer game played in 5D. You, yourself, should be your character. This time, you don't need keyboard and mouse to navigate - just your senses, mind, heart and initiative. Of course, there is the disadvantage of not getting an overhead view of what's happening. But of course, just like other computer games, life has defects and glitches too. You, yourself, are going to feel the difficulty of honing a skill, of hunting useful items, of earning simeleon, gold or zeny, of fighting an enemy, of losing life, mana and stamina. But if you wish to fight in the feared arena and win, or reach the highest level and finish the act, you'd do all you can to resurrect yourself and start over again.

Well, they say I'm a gamer. Indeed, I am.