Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Grateful for Nostalgic Video Games

My late days at work used to mean that I had extra family play time before going to the clinic late. Now that my wife is teaching again (and taking our girls to childcare before school), I ended up with some me-time each week that I'm not used to. In true dad fashion, it's nice to get some chores and to-dos completed without my three-year-old running around "helping" me clean. The goal is to get as much cleaned as I can before allowing myself an hour of video game time. And boy that gaming time has been refreshing for me.

With two little girls at home, I rarely take out my gaming consoles. It's also the same reason I've yet to buy myself a Nintendo Switch (that and money.....). And without that state-of-the-art gaming system, I'm limited to just my nostalgic games--I'm very okay with this as it turns out.

I started out by playing Spyro the Dragon originally for PlayStation (now available as a remastered trilogy). Never played this one growing up, but I’d played the last game in the trilogy, Year of the Dragon. So it’s been a nice mix of a nostalgia (since the games are so similar) and a new game. It’s been in my video game collection for years, so why haven’t I played it? I don’t have an answer, but I’m glad I pulled it out at last. 

Once I’ve finished the game, I’ll definitely have some commentary. In the meantime, it’s been amazing how this video game nostalgia has helped my mental health on certain days. I remember day I felt depressed and low while I should have enjoyed my me-time. Pulling out the old PlayStation and popping in my game, I felt my mood rise. Even though I hadn’t played this particular game, the feeling is there. There’s something calming about playing a familiar game. I’ve heard it said about rewatching TV shows but I think applies here too—we know what to expect so it’s calming. But there’s also joy of feeling like a child again. I can picture the basement where my brothers and I first played Year of the Dragon. And with life as hectic and heavy as it is, I’m grateful for something light that can bring me that joy again for a moment. 

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