When I was five years old, my parents came to own a Nintendo Entertainment System. They didn't go out of their way to buy it for their children. They did not acquire it for theirselves. They won it. If I remember correctly, they won it in a raffle sponsored by Target. This chance prize bestowed upon my parents has altered my life in ways I can not begin to contemplate. At the very least, it has influenced the goals and aspirations of my life, and at most it has made me who I am today.

What can video games teach us?

The first video game I played in my life came bundled with the prize package; it was Super Mario Brothers. Ha! I don't remember the first time I picked up that rectangular, grey and black control pad, but I do remember never being able to beat the game. I also remember not being concerned with the fact that I never won. At the age of five, the lessons we learn are simple, and video games seem impossible. At the end of each world, our hero, Mario, storms the evil king Bowser's castle to try to save his beloved Princess Peach. Mario's self sacrifice, his struggle, and anything a five year old could do resulted in the same thing every single time: I'm sorry, but the princess is in another castle. To this day I have never saved my princess, but I have always loved that game.

In life, we often struggle to reach our goals to no avail, but sometimes working towards our goals is all we have. We must not only accept this, but learn to enjoy it.

In 1997 I had a problem; this problem was Final Fantasy VII. I've always loved video games, and this game was an escape for me. My parents recent divorce stressed me out in ways no thirteen year old should have to deal with. The game was amazing by the way. It had a great story, amazing characters, and over eighty hours of life draining gameplay. I was addicted. I spent the following spring vacation with my mother, and I hated her. We spent a week away from home. We needed a vacation, a break from all the epic bullshit of my parents's separation. I didn't let my family have it. I was too busy playing that wretched game. I became immersed in a virtual world. What else could I do? I was a fucking kid.

Always leave the house at least once per day, especially if you don't feel like leaving the house. It is always better to regret something you HAVE done.

Sometimes you just have to get out, go outside, be with your friends. You know? Then again sometimes you wish you stayed in. I broke my leg once. Shattered my leg is more like it. It was my first year of college, Thanksgiving break. I fell off a skateboard, and Ben made me walk it off. You certainly don't do that playing video games. How many people pick up a few metal plates and some surgical-grade stainless steel pins playing a video game? I set off metal detectors now. This is beside the point. For several months I couldn't do jack shit. I mean I could hobble, but what's the fun in that? I quickly took up addiction in video gaming again. This time it was Halo, SSX3, TimeSplitters 2, Duck Hunt, Grand Theft Auto III, and of course Super Mario Brothers. Four months off my leg, and I still couldn't finish that damn game, but I had just as much fun. The game is cool, but it's only a game. What I'm trying to say is, it's about people. People I love. I mean isn't that what life is about? Having fun. Seeing friends. Doing something... or even nothing.... as long as you can rally around it with someone you know and care about. Hell, you can even meet someone new. That's life, isn't it?

Enjoy yourself. This is of the utmost importance.

--Live a life you love--

--Play the games you want--

--Don't take it all too seriously--

What can video games teach us? Everything.

It should be noted ascorbic supplied me with quotes on moral lessons and that the lush knows how to cure typos well.

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