It’s Your Turn: Level 2 – What is Your Quest?

This post is part 2 of the #YourTurnChallenge based on Seth Godin’s book What to Do When It’s Your Turn

Previous Posts: Day 1

its your turn seth godin ship video games

What would you quest for? What is more important to you?

It’s one thing to be willing to die for a cause, but there an entirely different level of commitment required to be willing to live for something.

It’s easy to stand up against something, to criticize, to oppose – but standing for something take a different type of energy. Finding solutions, not just fault is difficult.

When I look across the video game landscape, I notice that heroes all have a cause – something they are fighting for.

Mario is fighting to rescue his love, Princess Peach.

Guile is looking to revenge his fallen friend, Charlie.

Samus is a bounty hunter, driven by justice.

Nathan Drake is seeking fortune and legendary treasure.

What about you? Have you considered your “why,” the thing that drives you?

What I Am Fighting For

I want to help others succeed. I enjoy learning new ideas, growing, developing, and then sharing them with others. I especially enjoy translating concepts into ways that others can have a deeper understanding or appreciation at the end.

Almost 1 year ago I launched to combine two passions of mine: Personal Development and Video games.  I know, they really don’t seem to go together at first glance.

But this paradox makes perfect sense to me. Because in many ways, it is me.

For almost 30 years I have enjoyed video games as a hobby. I’ve never bothered to count the hours that I have invested (more on that later) in video games and related activities, but I promise it is quite a bit.

My Gaming Journey: The Early Years

I grew up with an Atari 2600 and a stack of games taller than I was at the time. Combat, Space Invaders, Pit Fall, and Pac Man remind me of a simpler time. As I grew, so did my love for video games.

In the mid 80’s the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) arrived. This console still has a special place in my heart. The original Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt that came packaged with the game was a long-time favorite.  I was a big fan of the many great series that started around this time: Mega Man, Castlevania, Metroid, Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninja Gaiden, Contra, Ikari Warriors, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, and the list goes on.

About the same time, I saved up my hard earned money and bought a Nintendo Game Boy. This was mostly a pragmatic decision, since the games were typically cheaper, and the system was portable (we only had 1 TV in the house, so access was pretty limited). I have many great memories with my Game Boy, even though the screen was terrible, hard to see, and was only 4 shades of puke green. Oh, and the sound was pretty bad, and there were tons of terrible games on the system. But all was forgiven when I played Metroid II or Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

I Fell In Love at 16 (bits)

I entered my teen years at the same time as I entered the 16 bit era. The Super Nintendo holds the dearest place in my heart as well as the strongest memories. The first time I saw Super Mario World in 16 bits of glory I was amazed. I could not imagine a video game ever looking, sounding, or playing any better. In fact, Super Mario World still holds up today as a fun game, and thanks to its fun graphic style, does not feel as dated as many other video games that are also 24 years old.

The SNES brought me great joys in games like the Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, Street Fighter II, Killer Instinct, Metal Marines, Super Contra, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Mario Paint, Final Fight, and Final Fantasy VI.

Final Fantasy VI (originally titled FF III) is one of the most influential games I have ever played. I have very fond memories of this game, as it redefined what I thought video games could be. It captured my mind and heart, and didn’t let go. I was pulled into the world of the game, loving the story and characters, revisiting this game over and over.

I knew the release date of the game, and I have been saving up to buy it. $75.99 was a lot of money for a teenager in 1994, but I gladly paid for it. On the way home from Target, I began pouring through the beautifully illustrated manual (art by Yoshiyaku Amano), trying to understand the complex instructions detailed in the game. I unpacked the fold out double-sided map, scanning the vast world that awaited me. Once I arrived home, I fired up the game to be greeted by an introduction that outshone anything I had experience in a video game before. Just imagine seeing THIS is a 14 year old (if you can’t wait, skip to the 4 minute mark). I spent over 99 hours game time on my original copy of this game – there was so much to see and do.

As the 16 bit era drew to a close, rivals Nintendo and Sega were about to gain a new serious competitor: Sony.

Live In Your World. Play in Ours.

After a short period of time where I took a break from playing video games, I was reintroduced to the excitement that I had been missing in the form of next console: the Sony Playstation. I had been mostly a Nintendo fan up to the point, but all it took was one evening at a friend’s house and the game Resident Evil, to convince me that it was time to pick up a controller again.

Some of my all-time favorite games were released on the Playstation, seriously competing for my study time in both highschool and college. Final Fantasy VII-IX, Parasite Eve, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Castlevania Symphony of the Night, Street Fighter Alpha 1-3, Parappa the Rapper, Dance Dance Revolution, Metal Gear Solid, and the list goes on.

Why Games Matter

A lot has happened since the Sony launched their first console, but in the years that followed I have learned a special appreciation for the hobby and my fellow gamers.

Many of my peers are like me, now in management or leadership roles in professional organizations. Many of us also still play video games, and if we are parents, we play video games with our kids. Some of us let our nostalgia get the best of us, as we collect the games and systems from our childhood. I personally have collected over 30 different consoles and over a thousand games since my reintroduction into the gaming world.

What I am trying to say, is that video games are here to stay. They are no longer a “nerd-thing,” they are everywhere. Every smartphone and computer are just a tap or click away from any type of game you can imagine.

Since games have become ubiquitous, what are we doing to make the most of the media?

Not enough.

But there are some shining examples out there, and I will take a closer look at them in my next post.

Until then, keep leveling up.