I have been inspired by a few recent episodes of Pop Culture Happy Hour and the fact that my younger brothers passed along their Xbox 360 and games to me to write about video games. I had a Nintendo growing up, and before that I played an ancient Space Invaders-style game on a Commodore, how scary is that? Like admitting I hunted mastodons. However, I never had the patience or hand-eye coordination to master them (video games, not mastodons).
However, now that my little brothers have become responsible grown-ups it falls to me to take up the tradition of shooting pixels. And here is where my insight began. When I sat down to play Modern Warfare 3 for the first time in a very long time, I had to choose the level of difficulty. When we were all younger, we attached great pride to beating video games on more and more difficult levels, thus proving our mental acuity and ability to handle invading Russians, Germans or aliens. (That is really how teenage boys think, by the way.)
This time though, I thought What the hell? I put the game on Easy, sat back and commenced to slaughter my way through a world of helpless, bumbling opponents. It was great.
Here’s what I realized: Yes, I am a grown man playing video games. I have REAL challenges, problems to fix, battles to fight. Maybe not battles, but scuffles certainly. Video games are entertainment, not accomplishments. And after a long hard day, that last thing I need to see is my on screen avatar as frustrated and beaten up as I sometimes feel. So from now on, I am setting my games on “a 4 year old could beat this” or the equivalent and enjoying myself.