At 60 years of age, I should be forgiven for not knowing about the latest video games. It isn’t like I wasn’t involved with them at all. It’s just that I grew out of them. There are a lot of things I would rather do than stay glued to a screen of some kind for hours at a time playing one video game or another.
I played arcade video games in San Diego, California, from 1979 to 1981. It was just one of the things I used to do to kill time when I wasn’t working. Although I preferred going to the movies, there wasn’t always something I wanted to see. The closest arcade was inside the bowling alley at MCRD San Diego. That’s where I first played Asteroids, Pac-Man and Space Invaders.
The next was on Midway Drive near the base. The last one was downtown, on Broadway Street, near the movie theaters. I was transferred to the air station in Yuma in 1981. There, I played at the arcade on 4th Avenue. It was called the “Gold Rush”. I think that’s where I first played Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. (before Super Mario Bros. existed) among other games.
I didn’t even see another video game until I was stationed in Yuma the second time, in late 1984. Someone I worked with sold me an Atari 2600 console. I ended playing only one game on it, but I don’t remember the name. And then I didn’t see another game until 1988, after I bought the first Nintendo Entertainment System for my family, while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
In the mid-1990s, I played the shareware versions of Doom and Duke Nukem on my PC. When I grew tired of them, I gave up video games almost completely. Over the last 20 years on so, I would occasionally play a video game with Jon (he was still living in my house in the Philippines until 2012). It was always one version of “Soulcalibur” or another.
My older son, Joe, and my younger son, Jon, can play video games forever. Joshua and Michael, Joe’s sons, can also play video games for hours. Joe and his children play on Xbox consoles, while Jon plays on PlayStation consoles. Ezra, my youngest grandson, isn’t old enough to know what video games are yet, thank goodness.
I really have nothing against video games. It’s just that people spend way too much time playing them, excluding things that are much more important. Joe and his wife, Diann, use the loss of media to discipline their children. When that happens, I tell them there’s a much better game available, and it’s called “outside”.
I don’t play “real” video games anymore. I just watch them, and I’ve watched everyone in Joe’s family (except Diann) play “Fortnite” and “Rocket League”. Joshua and Michael like “Minecraft” enough to watch YouTubers playing it. There’s a couple of games with Legos and superheroes that the kids played a couple of years ago, and I haven’t seen them playing either of them since I’ve been here this time. I could go on, but I won’t.
Way back when I played text-based adventure games on my Commodore 128, the games would tell me that I couldn’t carry any more than I was already carrying. That rule doesn’t seem to exist these days. I once watched Jon playing (I think it was) “Skyrim”. He was carrying four suits of armor. No one in the real world could possibly carry more than one.
When I watch the “Ultraviolet” movie from 2006, I noticed the main character shoving weapons into some kind of pocket dimension. When she was later scanned, they mentioned that she was carrying “many” concealed weapons. To the casual observer, she wasn’t carrying any at all.
Pocket dimensions, unlimited lives and unlimited respawns are the reasons I can’t stand to do anything but watch these days. And now we have movies about video games that don’t even exist. Just more to watch.