How Video Games Have Influenced Me
A story about myself and why I love video games.
My earliest video game-related memory occurred when I was eight years old. My mom and uncle were playing Mario Kart Wii in the living room as I looked on. My mom lost that race and handed me her pink remote. My uncle picked Grand Prix and 50cc and I had to make the biggest decision of my life so far, which character do I select. I had never seen any of these characters and was stuck between the green one with a big nose and the mushroom-looking one. Ultimately I picked Toad and to this day Toad is my favorite Mario character. Obviously, I lost that race and many more after but eventually, I got the hang of the game and won my first race against my uncle. From that moment on I became obsessed with video games.
I only played many Mario games a since the Wii was the only console we owned. From the perfection that was New Super Mario Bros. Wii to the 12/10 Super Mario Galaxy 2. The first game I ever played that wasn't a Mario game was LEGO The Hobbit which I got along with a PlayStation 3. My little 10-year-old brain didn't understand the plot or much of the mechanics but recently I connected my PS3 and got on the save file and saw I somehow completed the game with nearly 3 million studs.
As I got older and my parents got older we played more mature games together. One moment I could be collecting studs to buy an orc in LEGO The Hobbit and the next I would be playing Call of Duty Ghost with my mom and uncle. Now I know Ghost is not the best COD out there but it is my mom's favorite COD right behind Black Ops 4. She hated Advanced Warfare because she never learned how to fly and by this point, the three of us were used to the simple mechanics of Ghost. My uncle was especially mad because he never got to see what happened next with the Ghost Storyline. Eventually, my mom met her future partner and we moved in with her. My mom's partner was also a Call of Duty player and we had some fun times playing all four of us. From there on Call of Duty became a staple in our home.
Fast forward some time, to 8th grade, and Call of Duty WW2 comes out. Like every COD before it, we all got it and played together. This is the year when my mom fell ill and was admitted to a hospital. I was told on the bus ride home from school that my mom needed to stay in the hospital until she received a lung transplant. This news devastated me because my mom was my rock and my support system. I didn't get to see my mom for the first two weeks she was in the hospital and I was getting desperate to see her. I first spoke to her over facetime and she did her best to show me and my brother that she was fine when in reality she wasn't.
The first time we were allowed to see her in person I was ecstatic. I brought her her PlayStation 4 so she could play WW2 with me. I set her PS up in the little tv she had in her room and we played split-screen the whole day I was there. My mom's partner took on more work responsibilities to support us and wasn't able to play with me regularly. My uncle also was busy getting married and having kids to play with me and I was the only person from our original group still playing. It may seem weird that my only gaming friends were family but I was a shy kid when it came to people I don't know from the internet. After about two months of waiting, my mom received her transplant. I wasn't allowed to go and visit her for a few days after. The surgery was a mild success and she was left in a come in a vegetated state.
On a personal level, I tried to maintain my composure at school. I was not an overachiever in 8th grade but I was a solid B student but my grades slowly began to drop. My mental health was also taking a toll when I saw kids from school getting picked up by their moms and the younger kids playing with their moms in the park behind our house. I will admit I was in a dark place and the thought of suicide did cross my mind but I always told myself that My mom was a fighter for her life and it wouldn't be fair if I took mine and left her alone.
Luckily my mom received her second transplant. When my grandma woke me up at 1 am to tell me I was filled with euphoria and the adrenaline prevented me from going back to sleep. My mom's partner and my grandma left for the hospital to be there for the transplant and I was left behind. I spent that entire night playing WW2. That night I reached max prestige. The entire time I was fueled with the hope that my mom would wake up and she would come back to me and we could play another game together. The second surgery was another success, however, she was still in a coma. To everyone's surprise, my mom woke up a few weeks after the transplant.
I remember that day in its entirety and I could go into detail about how I smelled the flowers growing in the park or how the sun was brighter that day but I'll spare the details. My mom stayed in the hospital for another two months doing physical therapy and other rehabilitation and finally she did come home. To this day we still play COD together and enjoy every second of it. Every time we get on a round of Warzone and people hear that she's a woman they expect her to be not a good player but to everyone's eventual surprise she would easily get 9-12 kills.
I will be going to college soon and will miss having to yell at her that there is someone in the building to the south or to chain a zombie so I could complete the Easter Egg but I will always cherish the moments that all the Call of Duty's have given us and how COD WW2 was my support system to get me through some dark times.