Computer and video games were a big part of my childhood. I have fond memories playing games with my friends and family. I especially enjoyed my original Nintendo game console. I spent countless hours rescuing the princess in Super Mario Brothers, killing game in Duck Hunt and running for gold on my Power Pad. When I wasn’t home, I had the ability to continue playing. I brought my Game Boy and Sega Genesis portable with me everywhere.
Computer games were also one of my favorite pastimes. I tracked Carmen Sandiego’s whereabouts and built the infrastructure of new cities across America thanks to Sim City. We seemed to spend endless hours in middle school playing Oregon Trail. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to the game with 2,245 members appropriately titled I Just Tried to Ford the River and My Fricken Oxen Died.
Looking back at those years, my life as a gamer seemed to end abruptly. I began to think of video games as dorky and a total waste of time. Oddly enough, one of my main clients today is a major player in the entertainment software space. Each and every day I spend countless hours writing about technology and how the industry is playing an increasingly important role in our society. Although I spend much of my day thinking about computer and video games, I never get the opportunity to play them and actually experience how far they have come. That briefly changed for an hour or two before the Christmas holiday. My coworker brought in The Beatles: Rock Band. I won’t deny it – I was super excited about the opportunity to jam with my all-time favorite band. I picked up the guitar and selected “I Am the Walrus” and joined John, Paul, George and Ringo on stage. I was lucky enough to meet Paul face-to-face in 2002. This was almost like the real deal.
I’ve heard quite a bit about Second Life and thought I’d give it a whirl and immerse myself in this new world. I flew around a city, ran into some walls and found myself in a lounge sitting on the bench of a white grand piano. I felt as though I had escaped my own life. I was in a magical land far, far away from reality. I also checked out Persuasive Games and was absolutely amazed by the selection of fun, interactive and educational games available. I gave Killer Flu and Debt Ski a shot. Next on the agenda – Fatworld. Computer and video games have certainly come a long way. I look forward to learning more about the mobile and online video game space in tomorrow’s class.