Monday, June 9, 2008

I Owe It All to Video Games

I was killing some time before heading over to the Apple Store and I read Fred Wilson’s blog post on how the world is changing and how video games are an integral part of teaching these days.

Amen. Reading his post almost made me cry, and that might just be sleep deprivation, the thought of getting a new iPhone or the thought that of course they won’t really be available *today* and even if they are that just probably means my generation 1.0 iPhone will turn into a pretty paperweight (hey, at least I’ll be able to use the $100 rebate to buy the new phone!).

But really it was this: every good thing that ever happened to me probably happened because of video games.

I didn’t have much disposable income when I was a teenager and young adult. But in 1980 I could figure out a way to scrape together the bucks for an Atari 2600 game console. I was hooked instantly. I couldn’t afford the TRS 80 or later the Atari 400 or Atari 800 or an early IBM PC, but I did wind up being able to scrape together the funds for a Commodore 64 and a tape drive peripheral and the game Frogger. I still remember my delight when the thing FINALLY loaded up and the Frogger theme music came on. Several months later I got my first modem and when I finally got it working the very first thing I did?

Connect to a BBS and download some games! My first online social networking was definitely around video games. The very first person I met off the computer in real life was a guy I wound up exchanging video games with. Illegal? Ok. Was I a young hoodlum? Probably. But here’s the thing: it wasn’t like I was taking money away from the computer hardware and software manufacturers. I was spending every spare dollar I had on computer hardware and software and this “fueling of my love” ultimately led to probably not just thousands of dollars spent on electronics and computer hardware and software but well, well over $100,000.

I have a PS3 and an XBOX 360 and while I’d like to chalk up the fact that I’ve turned neither on in over 9 months to being consumed with doing my fair share to build TVbytheNumbers, I may just be getting old.

My love of computer games though fueled a desire to learn how to do stuff. Ultimately I got an IBM PC-XT and parlayed my learning skills into teaching myself how to use Lotus 1-2-3. By 1986 or so that was a very useful skill to have and there wasn’t an abundance of people who had it.

My passion for video games led me online, which in the end, became my bigger passion. That led to a lot of good things for me personally.

So yes, as a matter of fact, I really am grateful for Space Invaders.

1 comment:

fred said...

check out the comment i reblogged over at

a guy said that 100% of then men in his comp sci course said that they got into programming because of their love of video games