I grew up in Fullerton, California, where the chilliest it got was 59 degrees on weekday mornings before school. I spent a ton of time outside -- exploring nearby parks, walking around neighborhoods, climbing on buildings, getting in trouble for climbing on buildings -- but as many weekends spent with my brother and sister playing handball in the backyard, we spent just as much time huddled in front of the living room television on this old beat up kindergarten rug, screaming and hollering as we frantically wore down the thumbsticks of our poor N64 controllers.
Video games have always been my escape from reality. Might sound silly, but it's true. I’ve always been a little of an outcast. I enjoy doing my own thing, carving my own path. I like to think I’m not swayed by the thoughts or opinions of people around me -- I tell myself that but it’s not always true -- I’m a bit of a loner and I need time to recharge from social interactions. Don’t get me wrong, I also love going out, dancing, singing and be crazy or going on adventures and escapades! However, when things are too overwhelming, video games are my ultimate sanctuary, my true safe haven. Somewhere I can go when the world and people don’t make sense to me. I can jump on a device and know that A means jump, B is attack, and A+Z is ground pound.
I grew up mostly on Nintendo 64 and GameCube -- dabbled a little in Dreamcast and Xbox as well -- Diddy Kong Racing was a staple in my house. The five of us would all take turns trying to beat each other’s high scores, play through the story, and battling it out on the four competition levels. Bedtime stories usually consisted of one of the Harry Potter books or Lord of the Rings novels, but occasionally, my dad would confidently tell my sister and I about how he and my mom (before we were born) would stay up for hours just trying to beat each other’s scores; and how he would always win. So, of course, all my brother, sister, and I wanted to do was to get the highscore and get rid of all the “D-A-D” and “M-O-M” on every level. As the three of us got older, we slowly started beating their scores and wowza were they mad. These were some of my favorite memories as a family growing up.
Another one of my all time favorites was and is Luigi’s Mansion. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve played through this game….really, I can’t even count that high. Everything about the game is great. The story line, the villains, the hidden gems, the game dynamic. I LOVE it all!! Not only is Luigi my favorite Mario Bro, but you get to go around as a cartoon ghost buster trying to save your brother from certain death from unknown terrors in a haunted mansion. If that doesn't hook you I don’t know what will. My only critique would be it’s a hassle walking up and down the many flights of stairs, but that’s what you get in a mansion. This game was something my little bro and I played through together and how we really connected at a young age. We didn't really understand each other until college, but we always had Luigi’s Mansion :)