My earliest memories all begin with a flickering light then the comforting words of my brothers cooing in my ear, “Kill the ork! Kill the ork!!” I did. And I do.
From the time I could hold a controller, I have dedicated my life to video games. Beginning with the original Sega Genesis, through the disaster that was N64, and now in the joy that we mere mortals call the xBox 360, these gaming consoles have been my closest friends, my confidants, my life. All of these influential gaming systems led me to this moment, submitting to your college to pursue a degree in Applied Video Gaming Studies.
At first, my brothers obstructed my playing of video games because they thought I was incapable of appreciating them as fine works of art. However, they were wrong. I saw the games as masterpieces, and every chance I got, I would sneak downstairs and play Madden ’98, ’99, and ’00 until my fingers almost bled.
Never once did these games bore me or seem repetitive. The speed, the colors–everything was beautiful. The freedom of a world where anything can happen, where your wildest dreams can come true—they all came to life on a 52″ television screen.
Once my brothers fully understood my overflowing passion for video games, they shaped my more sophisticated understanding of the art form. I grew up and developed my own unique taste in single player games, and I am proud of that. Never once has a game collected dust in my home–I would never allow it. Every game is precious, and each one has taught me a valuable life lesson: Mario Kart is a modern day exploration of the Sisyphus myth. Bond exposes how self-delusional MI:6 really is. And above all, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess shows how anyone can defeat the forces of evil with only a sword and a heart of gold.
Zelda‘s story lines can be described as heart-wrenching, tearful, even depressing. I’ve felt so attached to these fictional characters who go through such terrible turns of events, yet they push onwards because of me—The Gamer.
Before I started playing Zelda, I was very frail and gave up quite frequently. I didn’t have many friends and shared nearly no common interests with those around me. But now when I play the game, I become the main character, Link. Link is a hero. He does whatever is in his power to save those he loves. Through Link’s strength and gallantry, I have learned to overcome fear. I am not the kid I was before. I no longer cower in failure, and I certainly never hesitate to begin a new adventure.
When I play video games, I want to be immersed in that world. I want to instantly feel my accomplishments when I find a hidden treasure. The world inside the game is vast, and invisible restrictions and barriers can’t stop the player from experiencing the extreme pleasure and gratification of saving the princess at any cost. The thrill of those emotions–frustration, sadness, doubt, fear, relief, happiness, exaltation–those are the types of emotions I want to feel without ever having to leave my parents’ basement.
While I have endeavored to understand the world of Zelda, others around me have misplaced their opportunity to experience an ecstasy of that magnitude. I have a cousin who spent three months on an archeological dig in Peru; she came back with an intestinal parasite and early crow’s feet. A pair of twins down the block routinely volunteer at a shelter feeding homeless people despite my warnings that this could only lead to exposure to tuberculosis and other such communicable diseases. How can anyone compare the intricate series of thumb taps leading to the fatality of a worthy opponent in Mortal Kombat to the mere of a handle of a spatula or trowel which does but one thing and not well? It seems to me they are all destined to live a life of fast food servitude.
But I am not one to denigrate my fellow peers. They may be lost for the moment, but perhaps the work I plan to do at your institution will give them hope and a forum to grasp that they too can be champions and not saddened by world of physical limitations, a world they cannot change or hope to comprehend.
Where they have misspent their youths coming to conclusions that life is full of lost worlds and lost souls, I on the other hand, do not feel this pessimism for I have seen the glory of Zelda and in that found a possibility of heroism unbound.
Please consider my application to the MOOC degree program in Applied Video Gaming Studies with a minor in Internet Podiatry.
With sincere appreciation,
Humbly known as The Gamer