We never had video games when I was growing up, even in the arcades. The most exciting game we had was skeeball. It’s a game much like bowling only the balls went into holes with points associated with them. The more points you accumulated, the better your chance of winning a plastic necklace or a deck of cards the size of a matchbox.
Now there are video games- both the kinds you find at the arcade as well as the ones you hold in your hands. I’m not that much good at them but most people nowadays from the age of four and up can spend hours advancing from level one to two to six, seven or eight. The prize? A great learning experience.
The first time Mario appears, he scouts out the area. Go left or go right? Before he has a chance to think - ZAP! He’s eaten by a giant on his left.
Next time out, Mario looks left, jumps, avoids the giant then continues down the road. Two seconds later (that’s about all the patience the player has), a raindrop is falling. Jump up, grab it - BING! 100 points. A second later, another giant - ZAP - and Mario is down again.
Learning from experience, you, the player, remember - look left, ZAP, walk right, BING, look left again, ZAP again. And so the adventure continues, encounter after encounter, level after level.
If only life were as predictable. Help an old lady cross the street - BING - a Lexus appears in your driveway. Fail to give a poor man a quarter - ZAP - you step ankle deep into a puddle.
Unfortunately, life does NOT work that way. Sometimes the person who helped the little old lady misses his bus to work and gets balled out for coming in late and the guy who didn’t give the quarter to the poor man uses it buy the winning lottery ticket that pays mega-bucks.
Not every giant is bad and not every raindrop is good.
So how are we supposed to know how to live life? I wish we had a Book of Instructions like the one that comes with the Gameboy.
(I’ll let YOU fill in the next line).
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February 21, 2012
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