If there were a game that I could credit for my life long addiction to video games, it would have to be Donkey Kong. The game was simple. You play as Mario and your sole purpose throughout the game is to rescue your beloved sweetheart from a menacing giant gorilla. Run, jump, run some more, jump, grab the hammer and smash away at Donkey Kong’s annoying minions. Quarters and hours lost on such a simple yet addicting game. Passing levels at first seemed difficult, but the more quarters you invested into the box of wonder, the easier the preliminary levels were. Even as a young child I began to notice the game’s tendencies and I began to develop patterns for certain levels. Knowing when to jump over a barrel or double barrels was essential to surviving a level. Climbing ladders, jumping over pies in the pie factory level, running over trap doors on floors to stop pursuing minions from ruining your quest to link up with the fair maiden were just some of the things that you had to do to survive. Even at a young age I knew that I was not only financially vested in the game; I was emotionally vested as well. I needed to see what happened next for I had no idea that I was already wearing final fantasy shirts inside my personality. It was an amazing game adventure of my life. I have to know more. I have to discover more.
Wait Your Turn
The phenomena of video arcade games were unlike anything else I had ever experienced in my life. At my local 7/11 there were two games, Donkey Kong and another of my favorites Galaga and both always had lines of kids waiting to play. I, like the rest of the neighborhood kids, lined up my quarter on the game screen reserving my place to play, which at times took 30 to 40 minutes before my turn came up. I was known at the time as one of the best Donkey Kong players in our neighborhood and with that came spectators. My best friend stood by me reminding me of hazards in the game, a bully heckled me to make himself look cool, the teenager running the 7/11 stood by to see if his score would be broken and finally the crush of my childhood, Samantha, watched with her girlfriends as I played the game. This was my turn. My time to shine and to show Samantha that I was someone she needed to take notice of in her life. As my score crept up to the high score taped to the side of the arcade game the anticipation from the spectators grew, my heart raced and the adrenaline in me seemed to allow me to push the jump button and move the joystick with amazing accuracy and efficiency. Finally, I had beaten the score that had stood unbeaten for over a month and now I was the champion. My prizes for such a feat were fitting. I was praised by all the neighborhood kids and even the bully laid off me for a good week or so, but what mattered most to me was that Samantha had taken notice and I was no longer a passing hello, I was now “Hey Vic….cool score.”
It didn’t take long for my high score to be beaten by Chucky, the teenager that ran the 7/11, but for that week or so that I held the high score, I was the man. I had for once tasted what real victory was.
Reminiscing on my life I find that no matter what was going on; good or bad, video games were a major part of it. Still, Donkey Kong for me is what turned me into the gamer that I am today. Now I only wish my wife would accept and understand my passion I still have for video games. There is nothing wrong with an almost 40 year old man playing Modern Warfare 3 at 2:00am hyping up members on my team to dominate point “B” on the map with authority. “Honey, turn the lights off, I’m getting ready to level up and I don’t think I’m getting much sleep tonight!”