Last December, one of Grant’s friends lost her father. Afterwards Grant was determined that he wanted her to have a Nintendo DS with a particular game that he knew she loved. This is a pretty generous gift, and when I offered to pay for it, he insisted that it would mean more coming from him. I recently stumbled upon this essay he wrote for school which gives more insight into his thinking.
Everybody needs an “escape”. The kind of thing you turn to when nothing in your life seems to be going your way. You might take refuge in a favorite TV show, delve into the pages of a favorite book, or simply go on an hour long internet surf, anything to help relieve you of the monotony of life. My escape comes in the form of an incredible device, which allows me to traverse worlds beyond my wildest imagination, discover strange creatures, and meet new people. A device so amazing, yet small enough to fit inside your pocket. It’s a little invention known as the Game Boy.
While you may scoff at the idea of a toy very clearly designed for young children being enjoyed by someone who should’ve outgrown it by now, there’s a strange charm to the little plastic brick. It’s the odd feeling one gets when they flick the small switch nestled on the toy’s left side, watching as the screen slowly lights up and hearing that familiar jingle.
The pixelated sound of pure joy coming to life in the palm of your hand. It doesn’t matter if you just lost your baseball game. It doesn’t matter if your parents just got into a huge argument. It doesn’t matter if you just found out you got a low score on the latest math test. The small electric heap of plastic you hold in your hand is here to make you happy, if only for a brief moment. Any sadness left in your body is drowned out by the familiar click of the two big red buttons. Any stress is relived when you hear the familiar sounds of Super Mario Bros. emanating from the tiny speakers beside the screen, where all the action is taking place.
The next thing you know, you are completely immersed in a world that makes no sense. A world where everything is colorful, where you are the hero, and where everything goes your way. Until finally, your mom comes up to your room and tells you it’s time for bed.
You can say what you want about video games. Say they’re a waste of time (an honestly pretty valid claim), say they’re only for “nerds”, and say they’re only for antisocialites. But I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that the small handheld waste of time has gotten me through more sad times than any cartoon or toy could. It’s escapism in its purest form, and whether you think it’s good or bad for you, it’s made me the happiest little nerd in the toughest of times.