Has there every been a time when video games have come in to save the day? Something tragic or traumatic happened to you and video games helped you get through it? When I was around ten years old, my mother and I lived for the second time in a collection of army bunkers turned into duplexes in Los Angeles. One day, after school and work, we came home and found our place completely torn apart. Someone had broken in through the bathroom window (which is one of those small ass horizontal ones) and rummaged through everything. They stole a lot of my mother’s jewelry and the living room TV. They probably stole more but that’s all I recall. My mother called the police and they went through the house, asking questions, investigating and searching for clues, I suppose. I was surprised that this had actually happened and I was constantly checking my room over and over again, looking for something missing. They didn’t take my TV or any of my clothes. My book shelf seemed untouched but I was still uneasy. Most people feel this way after having their house broken into. You feel vulnerable, violated. The home is supposed to be sacred. Nothing you don’t want gets in and nothing you want to be kept secret goes out. I asked the cops to check my room to see something and check the placement of my stuff, claiming that they had been moved. I was basically paranoid.
My mother called my other mother Cynthia and she came over to comfort and console me. She also brought me a brand new copy of Earthworm Jim for the Sega Genesis. First thing I noticed is that it was brand new. As a gamer with a family who wasn’t rich, most of the games I played were rentals from the local independent video store. When I did get to buy games, they were usually used, either from Blockbuster Videos or from a pawn shop in East L.A.. So a brand new game, with the case, instruction manual, and smelling like fresh hard plastic was an instant wow factor. I immediately plugged the game into my Genesis and was blown away. Jim was such a cool character and the levels looked so weird and the enemies were these deranged creations that looked like they were pulled from a cartoon. Instantly I forgot about our ransacked house and lost myself into this game. Later, my mother and I cleaned up the house, now cool, calm and collected. The initial shock and stress of being robbed had left and I was able to handle the situation with a clear head and logic. To this day, Earthworm Jim is one of my favorite video game characters and I always remember how the first game got me through a hard time by distracting me so I could recollect myself. I would love to hear about a video game that helped you through the tribulations of life. Leave a comment and let me know of a story you have.