There are many cases where people are motivated to explore new things and pick up new hobbies from the films they watch, books they read, music they hear, etc. Video games certainly can do the same. However, video games tend to get stigmatized, and are not usually pictured as something that can affect somebody in a meaningful way. The primary purpose of games is to entertain, but that does not mean that games are solely produced for mindless consumption. Games can tell stories and inspire just as well as all the other communication mediums, if not better. This is because games are in the unique position of engaging an audience that film, books, and television could only dream of achieving.
Let me share five games from my childhood which have positively influenced my life and even propelled me to try new things:
5. Harvest Moon 3
I never bought this game, but I did burrow it from a friend during my middle school years. I’ve never played with a Harvest Moon title before, so I had no idea how entertaining a farm simulation would be. Yet, I found the process of growing vegetables so fun, I was inspired to grow my own garden in the backyard. I did my research, gathered seeds, and prepared the soil. With great success I had a bountiful garden full of vegetables. I would grow more successful crops in the years to follow. I have my green thumb thanks to Harvest Moon 3.
4. Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing for the Nintendo GameCube was a game I decided to buy on a whim. It is a game that never truly ends. Life in Animal Crossing moves along just like real life in real time, complete with holidays and seasonal changes. Players get a house which they can upgrade and furnish. They can also do tasks for their neighbors and modify the town as they see fit. This carefree game got me interested in bonsai and interior design. Outside of the game, my living space is often subject to my inner designer and I have my own bonsai collection.
3. Pokémon Red Version
When Pokémon came to the U.S. in 1998, I was among the first to purchase a copy of Pokémon Red Version. I was going to get Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, but a silly VHS tape that arrived in the mail from Nintendo convinced me to give Pokémon a try. This game is the main reason why I play with handheld game systems today. Also, the popularity of Pokémon introduced me to many friends, and still continues to do so. In the long run, it would be thanks to Pokémon that I got an opportunity to travel to beautiful Hawaii.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
One day an old friend of mine brought over this game to play on my Nintendo 64. As I watched him run around Kakariko Village, I knew that I had to get this game for myself. I loved this game and its music. I wanted to play the tunes I was learning on the virtual ocarina in real life. Therefore, I decided to learn music. I learned how to play the clarinet and performed in concerts. I also sang in choirs and acted in musicals. I’ll be learning music theory next semester! Without a doubt, Ocarina of Time is a major contributor to my appreciation for music.
1. Super Mario World
It was a fateful Christmas morning when I unwrapped the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Mario World. I can recall being terrified of the giant wooden pillar in the first castle that would fall from above and crush you. Obviously, that didn’t stop me. Little by little, I made my way to Bowser and defeated him. Being the first game I have ever beaten, victory tasted so sweet. Super Mario World introduced me to the world of gaming, something that I can’t deny was influential. If it wasn’t for Super Mario World, I may have never played any of the games listed above.
Games can and will influence someone to play more games, but they are capable of much more. In my own examples, games have inspired me to grow gardens, play music, collect bonsai, and design rooms. Are you able to name 5 games which were influential during your childhood? Let me hear them in the comments below!