28 Days of Black Joy: Video Games Are a Wonderful Thing

Illustration for article titled 28 Days of Black Joy: Video Games Are a Wonderful Thing
Photo: SFIO CRACHO (Shutterstock)

I could never take naps as a kid.

Nap time was really just me quietly playing with my toy Batmobile (the Batman Forever one, because I know you were asking) while my mom tried to catch some sleep between work and school. This allergy to rest would inadvertently lead a 4-year-old me to encountering Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the first time while the other kids were napping in daycare. Daycare in this case being family friend Ms. Christine’s house.

Fast forward one year later and for my 5th birthday, my nana got me the original PlayStation, much to my mom’s chagrin. I tell you this to make one point clear: I literally can’t remember a period in my life where video games haven’t brought me joy.

I have so many good memories associated with video games. Whether it was my mom inexplicably working me in Mortal Kombat and X-Men Mutant Academy 2, betting ice cream cones with my dad in Crash Team Racing, or me and my cousin Tevin trying to have the craziest hell in a cell match in Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain, so many of my formative years were spent playing video games.

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The thing I probably love most about games is the communal aspect of it. I’ve had long standing friendships form over a mutual appreciation of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Skyrim. You’d truly be surprised how effective of an icebreaker “Yo, you fuck with Kotor?” was during my college days working at a movie theater.

The best games invite you to wonderful, fully realized worlds, filled with compelling stories and interesting characters. You’re not passively consuming the narrative, but instead you become an active participant in it. Shit y’all, with virtual reality, now you can actually feel like you’re the lead of the show. Watching space operas is great, but getting to shape your own in Mass Effect 1&2 is still something special.

Whether it’s Ghost of Tsushima, Call of Duty, and Final Fantasy VII: Remake helping make this prolonged quarantine bearable, Mafia III and Red Dead Redemption II letting me fuck up the Klan for laughs, or Halo, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, and Virtua Fighter 5 bringing me closer to my friends, games have consistently brought immense joy into my life.

Maybe one day I’ll start taking naps, but as long as people keep making dope games, I doubt it.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

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