I believe me, and my brother were the last generation of kids who actually desired to go outside and PLAY. You know, ride bikes, play basketball, play tag, red light green light, Marco-polo, tetherball, kick-ball (if any of these games sound unfamiliar take trip to Google). I don’t want to paint this cinematic picture that we were part of a tightly knit Sandlot styled group of friends, because we were NOT; but around the age of 9 we got Gameboy colors, and was introduced to the world of Pokémon Red and Blue. This was smack dead in the middle of the sheer phenomenon that was (and still kind of is) Pokémon. This craze even swept through our poverty-stricken neighborhood, because NEVER have I seen a fad that literally had every kind of kid completely obsessed! The jock kids, the sports playing kids, the skaters kids, the goth kids, the nerds, the loners like us EVERYONE. I think Pokémon might have inadvertently spawned the “don’t go outside, play with a device” kid. Seeing that I didn’t really have many friends growing up, this newly found outlet really spoke to me. With video games I was able to interactively dive into a universe filled with creative characters, and unique story lines; each one more intriguing and fascinating than the last. After Pokémon I got into Resident Evil (the first 3 of course), and for a pre-teen this was mind blowing! I have never been so afraid and so excited to play a game and explore the seedy rooms, see what’s around that dark corner, and empty my shotgun into an enemy and pray that he doesn’t get back up (because you know, I was all out of ammo). From there I went on to Grand Theft Auto 3. This game along with Vice City and San Andreas marked the point in my life where it was official that I had logged more hours playing these three games, than doing homework. Middle school and high school combined! When the craze of Xbox Live and online gaming started to catch on, it really didn’t do it for me. To me it lacked the depth and mystique of a traditional narrative. I can definitely see how the other kids who had loads of friends at school would take to Xbox Live, and spend hours shooting, beating and cursing each other out. I’m not saying the reason I didn’t care for playing online, is because I had very few friends (even though the couple of friends I did have didn’t play video games anyway), it was more about the experience. Multi-player games were just too mundane for me, and they provided little in the department of escapism (which you could argue is probably not a great thing for a growing adolescent mind, but I digress). The list of single player campaigns that caught me is long, from Crash Bandicoot, to Syphon Filter, God of War, Manhunt, Bioshock, Alan Wake, Max Payne, Uncharted, Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Ratchet & Clank, Firewatch, GTA 5, Resident Evil 7 and the LONG list of Telltale games. Alone time is great, and it’s even better with a good game!