Now that Club Nintendo is closing its doors, it's safe to wonder if this will be the end of the physical reward system. We go over a brief history of some of the rewards granted to gamers from Nintendo Power strategy guides to soundtracks and weigh it against the digitized reward systems.
Sadness and Gaming
I’m a human. A severely flawed human. That’s okay. I mean, who’s perfect? As the most complex creature on the face of the Earth, humans have a wide array of emotions that kick in as a response to just about anything. Some of us might try to block out those emotions, but at the end of the day, we have to acknowledge that those emotions do exist in every one of us, no matter how little of it you might see in someone. I consider myself as somewhat of an emotional person. I wear my emotions on my shoulders, and though I might try to hide them, people notice when I’m happy, or when I’m angry, or when I’m completely mellow.
It’s 2009. I came back from the hospital after having the right side of my face checked out for any fractures. It was swollen from the two punches I received earlier from someone who went on to steal my phone and my iPod from my bookbag. I felt depressed, and there was no way around it. Even today, I find myself feeling uncomfortable when I’m walking by myself to any place, thinking the same thing could happen at any given moment.
I get home after a rather long train ride, and I immediately go to my mom and I cry. I feel miserable, empty, alone. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone, and so I go to my room to seclude myself. While I just sat there, staring at the blank LCD screen of my computer, I realize that my brother let me play his copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I load the game into the Wii, I grab my Classic Controller, and I sit, waiting for the game to load to the menu. I select Kirby as my fighter, as I usually do, and I made it so that it was a 4-man free-for-all, with the CPU set to the highest levels.
I start laughing. I start cheering. I start getting involved. I call out the awesome deaths and the funny ones. I threw items in the mix to make the battle even more hectic, and it sure as hell did the job. As soon as one got the hammer, we were all sent flying to the deep abyss that is the stage’s background. I use Kirby’s super move, which involves throwing almost every competitor into a pot of stew, cooking them for a bit, then since it’s so hot, they just do a Team Rocket and blast off again.
I took breaks here and there, but for the most part, I spent the remainder of my night playing Brawl. Because I had school the other day, I didn’t continue past midnight, and so after calling it quits, I went to sleep. I woke up the next morning, completed my morning ritual, and walked outside. It was cold, but not as cold as it could have been had it not been for Brawl.
For some, including myself, video games provides a perfect escape from the pressures and problems of real life that we may be dealing with. What magnifies the effect is the interactive nature of video games: you play them, experience them, have emotional connections with the game as a whole, as well as the characters. You don’t have to worry about how you look, or how you behave, or how you think of yourself. With a video game, all you have to do is simply play and concentrate on the task at hand. However, there is a very thin line between what is considered healthy and unhealthy escapism, and with video games, those seemingly black and white areas quickly become one gray area.
You can quickly become sucked into the world of that video game, and depending on the type of person you are, this could raise red flags. For me, I use video games as an escape from my inner demons, whether they may be my shitty view of myself or my low self-esteem. Still, I have other crutches to use in order to counteract those negative emotions. For some, video games are the only form of escape, which could ultimately prove to be problematic and dangerous.
Having only one way to escape any part of real life is risky business, as it could lead you down the dangerous road of addiction. Still, for those who can not only control their playtime, but also can create other venues of escape that are equally as interactive, video games provide the perfect escape. For some, video games transcend the simple genre of entertainment into the realm of tranquility and serenity. No matter the genre of game, they can all bring equal levels of comfort.