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The saying, “One of Those Days” is something I’ve muttered a lot recently. However, this day may just take the cake. I’m not sure where that saying comes from, take’s the cake, but I imagine someone dressed like the Hamburglar stealing a crying babies first taste of sugary sweetness is where it originated from. The things I think of when I find myself hanging upside down.

As the cold grip of steel bites into my ankles and it’s evil twin does the same to my wrists I realize that it may not be day at all. It’s dark but that’s only because I’ve been blind folded. For all I know it could be very pleasant out. I’m sure it’s not. It mostly never is. It’s not for lack of trying, no, I try. I really do. But with great trying comes great capturing. Or abducting. Or murdering, although that has yet to be done successfully. So, all of my trying and where does it get me? I wake up to my hair dangling on the wrong end of up and what feels like blood getting ready to drip out of my eyes, ears, and nose.

I sniff unconsciously after imagining blood coming from my nose and get a scent of something very unpleasant. The smell snaps my head back like a Shoryuken from Ryu. I knew the smell. From the first time you smell it there’s not a day goes by that you don’t think of it. It stays with you forever. The smell of death will always haunt you.

Yep.  My name is Wes Andersen and it’s just one of those days.

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The awkwardness of Middle school and High school didn’t end when the final bell rang. It continued, through after school affairs such as sports and clubs that you’re pushed into by your parents. But through all that one thing in my life remained constant: video games. After a hard day of social ineptitude and sporty awkwardness I could always count on the power button to release me from my ever changing world. I was playing Super Nintendo in those days, racing around the track in Super Mario Kart, clinging to vines in Donkey Kong, and hitting home runs in Ken Griffey Jr. baseball. If I had a guilty pleasure game for the Super NES it would be The Lion King video game. I can’t explain it but I have so many fond memories of playing it that game is always the first I think of.

There were so many great two player games that you and a friend could play for hours without an inkling of boredom. As mentioned previously, Mario Kart was one of those games as was Street Fighter. You could use several different characters each with their own special abilities and you wouldn’t get tired of them. That was the beauty of games back then. They were made specifically for two players. Their levels were made to keep you on your toes and make the two players work as a team. What they lack in the graphics department compared to the new generation games they made up for in how they were played.

Yes, my nostalgia sometimes gets the best of me. I know the Super NES shouldn’t be compared to the consoles of today but I can’t help but think that somehow the new gen systems missed the mark on two player capability. And no I don’t mean online, that’s a completely different topic.

Regardless, my thumbs were sore most weekends or rainy days–Especially when the Sony Playstation came out. I was one of the idiots that traded in the Super NES to get a better deal on the PS. Maybe it was the only way I could afford it, but more likely it was the ONLY way I could afford it. Lucky for me my good friend kept his Super NES so I was able to get the best of both worlds.

The Playstation came out with a plethora of games and the game itself was on a disc just like in the music world everything changed over from tape to disc as well. With the PS came my first taste of a Naughty Dog game in, Crash Bandicoot. This system also brought us big franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider. I remember trying to play Resident Evil without my Mom knowing because she said it would be too scary for me and she didn’t want it in her house. And boy was she right. I freaked out. But you’re also talking to the kid who couldn’t watch Jaws because it was too scary. Obviously, I overcame my fears of the walking dead and big, man-eating sharks. My Wife and I play all of the Resident Evil games in co-op mode. In fact that’s what we did on Valentine’s Day. For us, playing video games together is one of the most romantic ways of spending an evening.

The Playstation was a beautiful beginning in Sony’s PS franchise. It further developed my video game addiction. Now, not only did I still play the Super NES, I had a second system with completely different games and construction. Further I went down the rabbit hole in a virtual world where anything was possible.

After High School: Video Game Graduation….coming soon

 

For most people it started early in their life. For some, the addiction didn’t come until they were in high school or perhaps even later in life. It will keep you up at night and sometimes through the early morning hours. The disappointment of defeat or the glory of victory goes hand in hand in this virtual world. You can be anybody or anywhere you want to be. You can travel to France in the 1600’s or you can go to planets in the farthest of galaxies. Anything and everything are in the realm of possibility.

Hi, my name is Brian and I’m addicted to video games. And I don’t ever want to give it up.

My story begins when I was in the 5th grade. I can’t remember when we got it but I can remember how much time and fun I had with it: The Nintendo NES. I will give you my top five games played and would play if I had one today: Contra, Super Mario Bros., Paper boy, Excitebike, Duck Hunt. This system provided the game groundwork for nearly thirty years. I’m enjoying theses same story lines and characters to this day.

Growing up with the NES did more than pass the time on a slow Saturday; it provided my two brothers and me a platform to settle our disagreements without the usual aggression and physical contact. Although, playing the system also caused many other fights. There were many times when my Mother would have to unplug the console and take it away from us. Or she would use it as a bargaining chip to get her three sons to do their chores. And more often than not it worked.

There were many days punching in the Konami code and seeing who could have the most kills or how far could we get as a team in, Contra. Some days were spent challenging each other in, Duck Hunt but usually that ended in a fight because one of us would slide to close to the screen. Those days unfortunately came to an end when the NES over heated and never worked again. It didn’t matter how hard we blew into the cartridges or how hard we slammed them in there; the beast would not wake up.

It didn’t matter. The code was awoken inside of me and my life would never be the same. There wouldn’t be a house or apartment that didn’t have a console in it. I didn’t care if I had to ride a Huffy bike and wear hand-me-down clothes just as long as a video game station was in the living room.

I would always sacrifice for the love of the games.

 

Part 2: The High School Years, coming soon

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