Ed's Story - Edward's New Game

 

Edward's New Game

A Gamer Story by Ed Bredin

I started out life as a shy, lower-middle-class, unathletic, small child with almost no friends. Thanks to video games I am now a shy, lower-middle-class, unathletic, tall man with at least four friends…well five if you count my mother. Nintendo, PlayStation, and Microsoft - the holy trinity of gaming - have helped to shape the man I am today. In many cases, they also helped open me up to new friendships or helped comfort me in bad times.

As mentioned, I was no Casanova, nor was I even a Pizza Nova, as a teenager.  I was more of a McLovin from Superbad, and high school was not a fun time to look like McLovin. I had a hard time transitioning into high school and was bullied, especially as an awkward grade nine McLovin. It was tough, and I was taught to not talk about these things, but to just put up with or deal with them, and I chose the former. I didn’t understand how to deal with problems like this, and let’s face it seniors will always pick on grade nine kids regardless of how good our problem-solving skills are. I’d later learn how to stick up for myself and to distance myself from your Nelsons and your Malfoys and other stock bully archetypes. At the time, though, I fell in love with Chrono Trigger as a way of helping me deal with the stress and anxiety.

Speaking of my first love, most boys’ high school sweethearts are memorable, and mine is, too. She had beautiful 16-bit graphics and an inventive active battle system. The characters and time travel captivated my mind and the gameplay ensnared me. I loved the art style designed by Akira Toriyama - the creator of Dragon Ball Z - and the game itself was designed by Square (before they where Square Enix). It was a crazy and beautiful love child of two Japanese greats - one in Manga and one in gaming. I fell deep into this game - I’d think about it all day and rush home, sneak a pop into my room (sorry Dad), and then play on my Nintendo DS. It was a little relief -  a moment’s respite from the hardships of that day. While I tried day and night to “fit in” and make friends, I knew that when I got home I had something to look forward to, and that made things easier.

But even so, I would be remiss to not mention two other games that helped shape my life -  Pokémon and Super Smash Bros. Melee. Pokémon helped form my best friendship with my friend Sunny. We had been friends, and fallen out for a period, but we always loved Pokémon. We played through every game, pretended to be Pokémon, and watched the show and movies. Melee helped me find even more friends. At Sunny’s place we would often play a game of Melee or Mario Kart and invite friends over. As we got older that turned from ordering pizza to having some entirely legal drinks. We’d have parties and at the center of them would be a few good games of Melee. I met many of my now close friends through those parties, and nearly ended a few friendships when as Donkey Kong I carried them off the edge to win a game.

In summation, video games may not be the right medium for you. You may prefer movies, books, or just listening to music or looking at art. But everyone has some medium that they consume that brings them joy, helps them find a community, and experience something new and engaging. For me, my first love was video games, and like anything in moderation, video games can have a real positive impact, and in excess can be harmful. (See Van Gogh if you don’t think excess art can be harmful).

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