There's a lot of negative spin on the gaming industry. Violence, destruction, over sexed situations and characters. Much of this is unavoidable. Games like Grand Theft Auto, God of War, or the infamous "Custer's Revenge" really don't offer much in the way of wholesome moral stories or life lessons. But with broken and split families, personal tragedies, and other tribulations that the current generation and those before and after have suffered, many children and young adults turn to video games as a means of expression. It's an outlet for our much needed anger, sorrow, anxiety, disappointment, or frustration. Just like a book or a movie, we get to see a hero rise in the face of adversity and (possibly) triumph over conflict. While it would be impossible for me to list out everything I've learned from the digital medium, I'd like to highlight the best qualities. 


In the real world, we're faced with difficult decisions. We start to see this in high school and then later on into adulthood. Sometimes there are some people who we must sever ties with for our greater good. In our world, friendship is more often than not, a liability. But I don't believe that, not for one second. Games like Mass Effect, Gears of War, and Kingdom Hearts illustrate the virtues of loyalty. You never leave a friend behind, ever. Past all the bravado, loyalty is a key aspect we seem to be losing. You always hope that what ever troubles a person is going though, they can over come it, and one day they will reach out to you. You never turn your back on someone who cares about you. And most importantly, when all else fails, your friends will stay by your side, not only to repay the kindness you've shown them, but because loyalty inspires something greater in all of us.


Some days, I feel like I live in GTA. I've met so many people that treat others like throw away cards. They treat sex and people with no regards, leaving themselves and other people empty in the aftermath. Hearts are broken every day in reality, and so little weight is put on the consequences of that action. Now, part of this is just rose colored glasses, but video games aren't like that at all. Any installment of Final Fantasy has a love story, The Force Unleashed, Kingdom Hearts, The Legend of Zelda, and Shadow of the Colossus are all driven by a love story. But it's not just a plot device, it's not just a relationship. These people are in love. Sometimes you do crazy, even foolish things for love, but real, honest love is so hard to come by. And when these characters have it, they hold on as tight as they can for the time they have. It's not cheap, it's not "convenient". Maybe it's hopelessly romantic, but it's better than nothing. Can you imagine if Tidus or Yuna just kind of shrugged off the ending of FFX and said "Eh, it was just a moment of passion under stress" or just moved on? It would cheapen the whole experience. A lesson that people in the real world need to learn. If you cheapen one part of love, more often than not, you cheapen it all. (However, it's also necessary to note to not confuse genuine love with obsession. That's a completely different NEGATIVE thing to learn.)


Sometimes you have to learn to let go of all the crap that brings you down. Sometimes, just sometimes, something can be so serious that if can wear you down over time. A good friend or lover can help you deal with bad things, but a great one can make you laugh despite them. Watching a girl play Mass Effect as Female Shepard (it would be weird if she didn't... wouldn't it?) and listen to Joker cut some situations with some sexually tense humor lightened the mood 1000 fold. The whole Halo ODST crew backing you up in a firefight and then riding your ass in one liners makes a hopeless situation seem... well hopeless, but at least it could be worse.


S*** is going to be scary in games and the real world. You can do one of two things, act or don't. This is maybe one of the hardest lessons to take to heart though. It's easy to restart a check point or waste a life, but the real world has real consequences. But sometimes you have to step through that door, sometimes you have to get your *** kicked. Go talk to that guy or girl you like. Usually it's much worse to never try than to try and fail. Sora could have stayed on the island, Zidane could have never made moves on the princess, Tifa could have just been a damsel in distress, and Master Chief could have sat down and died. All these things they could have done, but aren't you glad they didn't? Someone has to have the Triforce of Courage. Might as well be you.

(dont care if he's not a video game character, it works!)


To quote a song from Memphis May Fire "You don't have to be the person you were yesterday". We've all done things we aren't proud of, but I believe that it's never too late to turn your life around and become someone better. You can always atone if you try. Look at Revan from Knights of the Old Republic. He or she nearly destroyed the entire republic when they fell to the dark side, but with help, they returned to the light and saved everyone. Redemption isn't easy to achieve, but it's worth it. And the hardest part is learning to forgive yourself.


I would say the most important and difficult lesson to learn. It's difficult to forgive in a game or in the real world alike, especially if we were hurt beyond imagine. I'd be lying if I said i forgave everything that happened to me in any sense. It's easy to be angry, it's easy to hold that grudge, and it's easy to want revenge. But we must always recognize the difference between justice and vengeance. And the hardest part is realizing when there's nothing left to forgive. Zeus from God of War, Sovereign and the Reapers, a sociopath. These things are empty and there's nothing to redeem. But forgiving a person for reacting out of fear, being weak when things are bad, or just being foolish can lead to a greater outcome than you'd hoped for. Just try not be misguided. Final Fantasy IX displayed forgiveness, Shepard showed compassion to his enemies and innocent alike, and Mega Man showed mercy, even when others didn't deserve it. Learning this lesson is what defines the difference between the hero and the villain.

(Insert your own picture here.)


I won't lie to you, hope is a hard thing to maintain. In games and in reality alike, hope can be difficult to find and near impossible to keep. But in the end, it's all we have. And however misguided, I have hope in people, friends, love, and myself (most days). Without hope, there's little point to anything else. And there's always someone who has hope in you.

Bam! If that doesn't make you happy, I got nothing. I'll try harder next blog.

I hope you all have fond memories and experiences from gaming.

-Sincerely, Mattboy.