We’ve all been there. We’re all trying to find an escape from the routine and mundane. For some, cracking a cold one with friends would do the trick. While others, pigging out on comfort food. Or a retail therapy session is all that’s needed. As for me, it’ll be gaming.
The first video game I played was Super Mario on the Micro Genius, a knock-off version of Nintendo. I was barely nine when my dad got the gaming system. I had one of those many-games-in-one cartridges, and played many of the classics such as Dig Dug, Elevator Action and Space Invaders. Just like any other kid out there, I loved every second of it.
A game about defeating monsters by inflating them? Yes please! (source: r/gaming)
I remembered having to strike bargains with my dad. I would do extra chores to even pretending to look the part of a studious child just to reunite with my love, a.k.a. Micro Genius. Back then, it was all about beating a high score, or the game as a whole. The sense of having bested the game, that accomplishment was a high akin to a kid on sugar rush. It was pure ecstasy. But still, it was only a part of the many facets of my life. The severity of it being a device of escapism was low at best.
Then came adulthood.
It’s been years since I’ve left college, yet here I am still prioritising video games over almost… anything. I’d still hang out with friends and attend social mixers though my nerd tendencies left my mind to wander off, longing to battle bloodthirsty Deathclaws while venturing the post-apocalyptic Mojave. Or watch that RIP-Tire decimating the entire opposing team, turning the tide of the match to our favour. Truth be told, I would rather opt out of any social obligations, or from this reality for that matter; where the progression or regression of one’s life is linear and permanent.
I mean, why wouldn’t any gamer wish their life was more like a video game? Took the wrong course while you were at college? Reload the last saved file or checkpoint and reselect your course. Didn’t hit it off on a promising date? Reload the last saved file or checkpoint and apply those winning moves and woo the pants off of them. Killed a person that would ultimately hold the answers to the secrets of life? No worries! There’s always the last checkpoint for a do over.
But in real life, you don’t always get a do over. The outcome is preordained. Mistakes and consequences that may cause devastating ripples that trickle into every aspect of your life remains a stain in your memories. The troubled past that haunts us with every waking moment of our lives that may not always be rectified. Reality.
This is why video games will always hold a special place in my heart. In a world where regrets exist; where vices strictly define one’s constitution or the lack thereof, it’s no wonder why people long to live in a promised reality. To live a life worth living. To live it perfectly. And for some, to even live at all.
This post was submitted and written by Kevin Ch’ng. He is on Instagram at kev_chng.