Growing up, we keep telling ourselves we'll never be like our parents. In some cases, we strive for it. We want to be better than them. But, there are some things we cannot avoid.
Growing up, when we did laundry, if there was an unmatched sock, we put it in a pile on top of the dryer. Eventually, we would go through that pile and pair up any matches, and every now and then we'd throw away the unmatched socks. (Made me wonder if there really WAS something in the washing machine or dryer that ate them).
A few years back, I was doing laundry, and there was an unmatched sock. Subconsciously, I threw said sock on the dryer and said to myself, "The other half will show up."
I stopped myself right there, went and hunted down the match, and put both in my dirty clothes basket. It was one less thing I wanted to be like my parents with.
I don't know why that side-story is in this post. It really is supposed to be about video games. In fact, I don't even know how I started on that. Anyways, let's let my ADHD go aside and hit the topic at hand. What was it? Oh yeah, video games.
Kids these days complain about how hard video games are. With all their cheat codes and gabillion lives, and let's not mention how many times your character is allowed to be shot, stepped on, trampled on, or whatever before you actually lose a life, what can you complain about? Then, when you regenerate your life, you're halfway through the level.
Back in my day, you got hit once, your character died. And when you regenerated, you were back at the beginning of the level. Oh, and we had a frog that couldn't freaking swim! What the flip is up with that, Konami?
And, let's not forget the imagination you had to have! If you look at Donkey Kong, he seemed terrifying to me as a child. I plugged in my Atari recently with Donkey Kong, and... well... laughed at him. What kind of crazy fool climbs some whatever that is supposed to be, and just stands there throwing barrels? (and I don't think he really did it... they just magically appear out of nowhere, it seems.) And, when you get closer, he doesn't do anything until you get next to dude's girlfriend? (And, seriously... an ape and a human... I don't get it...)
And who here doesn't know the swirling staticy noise that's at the beginning of a level of Defender? Seriously now!
Now, we had games that made absolutely no sense (Yars' Revenge, anyone?), but we still loved them. Except for maybe E.T. the Extra Terrestrial -- I think I was the only person who liked that one. But, no matter what, we had imagination to make it seem more awesome than the 8-bit graphics allowed.
Then video games progressed and we had games (like Super Mario Bros) that had never-ending pits. Not particularly realistic, but neither was The Mushroom Kingdom. In this unrealistic game, there were never-ending pits. You fall in one of them, and heaven knows where your character went. You never see the splat. But it was still hard because there were these mushroom people that killed you if you touched them any way but jumping on them. But there was this star that went "dat-dat-ble-dat..."
Nowadays, video games have to be extremely lifelike. But, they've gotten away from the things that make them truly lifelike. If your character gets shot, the chances of it being able to continue on and save the world are slim to none. Seriously. And we wonder why kids are getting in trouble "due to video games."
I liked them better when they were more cartooney. No way in our mind's eye that it could be real. We had to use our imagination to understand what was going on. If we forced our kids to go back to level of imagination, who knows where we'd be. Kids would probably do better in school because they're flexing their brain. Creativity would go up since they're flexing their imagination. The would could become a better place if we weren't focused on making video games "look real"