Monday, January 23, 2012

The Helpful Side Of Gaming

I've decided to do a slightly more personal piece today. Don't worry, I'm not always this serious. Next time will be a bit more cheery and draped in a load of sugary anime or something. Promise.


I've never told many people this, but early in my life I suffered from bouts of depression. This never really came as a surprise to me as my whole life I've basically been overweight. When you are overweight your entire life you develop two things very quickly; thick skin and a sense of humor. But sometimes the thick skin wasn't enough. Sometimes the negative comments got through to me, penetrated deep and forced me to face them. While I've never taken medication for depression, I can see why some people would want a way out from it. Depression is a terrible thing, especially when you know that in your mind there is a sane person who wouldn't think some of the most exhausting and degrading thoughts.

Being fat sucks for anyone and everyone, but being fat as an adult is way better than being fat as a kid. As someone who has lived both sides of the coin I know for sure that the constant string of crap heading my way via the other kids at school or in my neighborhood was a constant attack on my self preservation. When your an adult people will leave their hateful or abusive comments to themselves, but as a kid it all just comes out with no filter as to whats going too far or what is acceptable to say.

With all that said, I was depressed quite a bit as a kid. I only had a few safe havens in my life at an early age, and the most influential of them was probably video games. Video games got me through a lot of dark times in my childhood. The escapism of the interactive medium took my mind off the negativity and cynicism that surrounded my school life. I this was the start of my attraction to video games. Unlike books or movies, you were in control of the game and you set the pace of the story. It made me reestablish what I knew about stories as I knew for a fact that video game would one day be as big a thing as movies or books. A welcome escape, and essential as I went through life.

With all the video games I played and books I read I probably would have become a recluse if it hadn't been for the fact that I loved entertaining people. The friends I had would always be ready to do stuff on any given day to go walking the neighborhood or playing some Super Nintendo. After I moved away from my hometown and started middle school in Georgia I was lucky enough to find like-minded friends right away. So while middle school and high school was as degrading and perilous as it could get for a fat nerd I was lucky enough to have a steady supply of friends, anime and video games to get me though it.

I can still remember clearly an incident when I moved from Georgia to Florida. I was going to high school there and riding the bus. I was having a stressful day and the bus was dropping us off at our houses. Throughout the bus ride there were people making fun of me and one of my friends, and this started to eat away at me. While I went to get off the bus at my stop, I passed one of the people who called me a "fatass". I got off the bus, turned around towards the window of the person who called me that and banged on it. I shattered the window.

Needless to say I got in quite a bit of trouble for that, but all I really had to do was pay for the window and do a bit of community work (I went to an animal shelter for a few days to help). Looking back on that incident, I remember countless occasions where things could have gotten out of hand. The countless number of time being picked on during lunch or after school. The time where me and my friends would be playing 'Magic: The Gathering' only to be harassed or to have people mess with our cards. I would keep my cool, but I was always defensive for my friends sake.

I like to think that I found mediums of entertainment that have not only I have enjoyed, but have also benefited me as a person. Video games taught me heroics and courage. Video games taught me that everyone is different. Video games taught me that facing problems can resolve issues, but you should always pick your battles carefully. Video game helped me in times of trouble and torment.

I fell lucky to have grown up with video games in my life.


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