I don’t believe it’s possible to truly judge a person’s character until you have seen them play a video game. Particularly, until you see them play against family members.
It’s a good way to test your own moral fiber. If you’re relatively comfortable playing video games, how much rage simmers inside you when an unskilled commoner defeats you?
Maybe it’s the required player orientation that comes with using a TV.
You could look your opponents in the eye sitting at the table playing a ruthless round of Uno or The Game of Life (Star Wars edition — in elementary school, we’d watch exactly one hour of Star Wars at night before bed like it was our job). But with video games, your opponents – your flesh and blood, who love you despite your inability to lose or press the ‘A’ button fast enough to win your team mini game – are transformed into pixels with annoying voices.
“Idiot, Peach!” was yelled at my digital self on more than one occasion.
But we loved it. The family losers, typically my mom and I, would experience a high like no other when we beat my nimble-fingered sister. We’d also have to remind ourselves we really did love my dad on those nights when he’d beat us all, basking in victory with a surprised but gleeful, gloating smile on his face.
We’d go to bed with our thumbs sore and our egos hurt on those nights Dad was able to pull off a triumph, but we were better off as a family for those hours spent in front of the TV, working together, solving problems and comparing Mario impressions. To this day, if the moon is just right, I can almost hear the echoes of our unrelenting chants, “It’z a MARIO, I LOVE-AH PIZZA!”
Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer, editor and mother of two boys.