The Wide Angle: Yeah, I play video games. What of it?

Published 6:30 am Saturday, November 14, 2020

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I had a hard time concentrating when I started to write this week’s dribble.

Waiting for me at home was my newest game to my PlayStation 4 game library.

For those of you that may be surprised, yes I play video games. For those gamers out there, I can’t afford a PlayStation 5 so don’t look down your nose at me.

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I’ve been a minor player in the gaming world for a long time now — in some fashion or another.

I grew up in the golden age of gaming when one could still consider the best part of going to Pizza Hut was sidling up to the tabletop game and play me a handful of quarters worth of Pac-Man. Prime gaming I tell you what.

I am old enough to remember Pong, Frogger, Double Dragon, Star Wars, Bad Dudes and a list that continues on.

There was time I was without gaming, but that ended a number of years ago with the purchase of an Xbox 360 and now a PS4.

However, I’m a contradiction of sorts when it comes to gaming. Patience.

I shouldn’t have to explain to you my now famous low threshold for patience. Gaming does not support this threshold. Oftentimes terribly so.

If you’re so inclined, visit YouTube and just this once avoid looking up cat videos. Instead type in “gamer rage compilation.”

Should you do this, I should say that I’m nowhere near this bad, but I can admittedly be somewhat trying.

In my life I’ve broken one controller because of anger. The $50 price tag quickly taught me to not do that again.

It’s interesting that those life lessons with money attached are often really good teachers of lessons.

But back to the original point. I like games, always have. I was the perfect representation of the children you see in pictures, lovingly holding their freshly unwrapped gift of a Nintendo.

After years of telling me I would not be getting a video game system like my friend Cory, who had the highly coveted Atari 7200, my parents shocked me with my own Nintendo game system complete with Duck Hunt and Track and Field. These games came with a gun you used for Duck Hunt and the trackpad for Track and Field. This allowed you to run to play the game as you competed in your own awkward form of the Olympics through the interactive act of running in place and jumping in place.

There were no extra points for the flowers that fell to the floor because of my bouncing.

I spent many fun hours running, shooting and pounding on the controller and when I could, escaping to arcades.

You don’t see arcades much anymore, but when I was a kid, a trip to Sioux Falls or Sioux City wasn’t complete unless I was let loose in an arcade for a couple hours.

There was something cathartic about playing at a console with nothing but a joystick and between 2-4 buttons.

It was the routine and the rhythm of the lights and sounds, but it was also the imagination.

Games can take us away from the world with its stresses and boy do we have stresses.

Instead it introduces us to all kinds of new stresses.

Games are givers that way.