My life as a non-gamer from Atari to PS3 and beyond

As a “nerd” I enjoy playing video games, however I’m not what most people who play games (gamers) would call a real “gamer,” in fact I suck at playing video games. I can remember the first video game I ever played, it was Pitfall on an Atari at my friend’s house back in the early 1980s. My friend had other games, but this was the first game I ever played. The first time I ever play, I died instantly, a stupid crocodile ate me and that was it, game over. Of course at the time other popular games included Pac Man, Miss Pac Man, Pac Man’s slightly retarded cousin Qbert, etc.

I never owned an Atari, yes I was deprived, but I did get a Nintendo in 1985 or whenever they came out. Prior to that I had spent countless hours in the game room of a local cafe dumping quarter after quarter into the Super Mario Bros machine. I was able to save a lot of money after I got the game at home. Not really, then I was busy saving up to buy another game cartridge. Thinking about it now, back then games cost $50 or so and that’s about what they cost today, actually when it comes to video games today, I’m a cheapskate and I wait until they go on sale or buy the discount games.

In high school, I had friends who had Sega game consoles but I didn’t really get that excited about it. I had the Super Nintendo at home and I was content renting a game or two occasionally and playing Tetris on it. Honestly, I was still happy playing my Nintendo games, and still hadn’t gotten any better so I got the Game Genie, I even went as far as to subscribe to the monthly newsletter that was mailed out and provided new cheat codes. (This was before the Internet, kiddies).

I had friends who were obsessed with playing Mortal Kombat in the arcades or at home. Mostly because they loved seeing the quasi violence, especially when the voice comes on after defeating an opponent and says “Finish Him.” My friends new all of the finish moves, I may have known one or two, but I rarely got the chance to use them.

As the years went on, in college I really didn’t play games, I left my Nintendos at home, (actually at my parent’s lake home, where my nephews and nieces would play it. It’s still there and I believe it still works, my daughter played it the last time we were there).

After I first got married, the Sony Play Station had already come out, I had no interest, the Nintendo 64 came out, and for Christmas one year my in-laws gave us one. I enjoyed playing that, but I never passed a game on it. I still have our Nintendo 64 and my daughter enjoys playing video games on it.

A few years ago, again my in-laws were ever so bright and got us a Nintendo Wii, this thing is awesome. I began to become a “gamer” although, I still sucked at playing. I was able to purchase a download of my favorite game of all time, Super Mario Bros and play it on the Wii. I must admit, I think I’ve only passed the entire game once, but who cares, I just have fun playing it. I love the Mario series. I also love just playing most games on the Wii. When I was teaching a class to retired Military Veterans, I brought the Wii and showed them Wii Sports and had them play bowling.

Last year, I couldn’t resist anymore and I purchased an iPod Touch. It’s a great platform for playing games, it’s portable and the games are inexpensive and some cases free. What I didn’t expect was that I would be buying two more similar iPods for my daughter and my wife. It started with my daughter constantly borrowing my iPod Touch to play games. Then my wife decided she wanted one after first having me purchase another device that didn’t cut the mustard (a Nokia n810 Internet Tablet). I was getting annoyed at not getting to use my iPod at home, so to gain my iPod back this Christmas we decided to get my daughter one for Christmas.

My most recent experience with gaming is what most people would call “hard core,” maybe, maybe not, for me it is hard core. I convinced my wife to buy us a Sony Playstation 3 or PS3 system. We needed a Blu-Ray player for her collectors edition Blu-Ray version of the Wizard of Oz. I told her the best Blu-Ray player is the PS3. She fell for it, I mean she listened to my advice and purchased a PS3. She said she didn’t want me buying a bunch of games for it though. I ignored her advice and purchased Star Wars Force Unleashed and Little Big Planet. After playing both, I’m much more of a fan Little Big Planet. I must say playing the Star Wars game is fun but it’s also difficult. I used the cheat codes I found online, but discovered with using them you cannot save your game, so I gave up on playing that game for now. Little Big Planet is difficult but it’s also fun to play. After you pass more and more levels you earn materials to create your own levels. This is exciting to me, after seeing all of the levels that have been created by other users via the online community built-in to the game.

I could go on and on about my gaming experience, but what I think is important is that I play games. My professor at the University of North Dakota while pursuing my graduate degree in Instructional Design and Technology was and still is very interested in gaming and how it relates to learning. There are many links on this page that have information about gaming and learning. I will write another blog post about this in the future but I thought I would introduce it here.

Play on!

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