Yesterday evening, after having finished the article below this one about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I received a reply to a message from an old friend from middle school. I won’t mention their name in this article but suffice to say he was in good spirits. Obviously I have been thinking a lot about who I am as a person that plays and loves video games, and I’ve begun to revisit my relationships with other people throughout my life, through those games.
Three days ago I was thinking back on a time in my life in middle school. I wasn’t disliked or unpopular, but actually pretty socially awkward. I know now that I had some social anxiety that eventually resolved itself, but during these years, I always seemed to bounce around from friend to friend. It’s interesting thinking about this, especially now knowing that video games were crucial in helping me find new friends. So with that thought in mind, I reached out to an old friend to reminisce about a time we shared as friends playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time on the SNES.
I remember that day pretty clearly, one of the few memories I can distinctly revisit without fear of losing it some day. My friend and I would hang out fairly often, our parents would talk and cook and this would give us time to play with his Super Nintendo. It was one of those wonderful moments as a kid looking back on it. We had completely different backgrounds in life, but we shared a lot of the same interests in movies, television and of course video games. We sat there for the couple hours it took to beat Turtles in Time, and I still remember the feeling of the sunlight coming through the windows of that room after we defeated the final boss, Shredder.
And the funny thing is, having replayed that game fairly recently, it really wasn’t that difficult of a game. This was especially true if you played with another person. So I like to think this game was made just for that purpose. Usually those games are a little more difficult playing alone and those developers likely knew it. But that’s such a cool thing I think we miss out on these days.
Revisiting these memories has of course made me feel super nostalgic for a time when friends would get together and play games with each other. I really do think we lose something from the disconnected era of a microphone and an internet connection. Seeing a friend face to face, sharing in the common connection that is playing a game together, well, it just can’t be beat.
As a result of remembering these moments from so long ago, I remembered other days I hadn’t thought about in years. I remember playing catch with my friend, talking at school together, and family dinners with his parents and mine. It’s one of those memories that simply makes you smile, and it keeps reminding me how something as simple as a shared interest can connect people. I cherish these memories and I’m again, thankful for the power of games to help create them.