The Origin of Addiction

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I have three godsons. Two twin boys that are 16 years old and one older, grown ass kid that’s 19.

If you want to get them to do something. ANYTHING. Just say these three words:

Xbox Live Points.

Like crackheads trying to secure their next hit they will clean the house, mow the lawn, study for school, cook all the meals, perform a heart transplant. They’ll do whatever you want because they know that the reward will be whiling away hours in a blaze of gunfire, carjackings and infinite mayhem via the conduit of Xbox Live.

But be warned. Without those three words (Xbox Live Points. I’m telling you. If you have boys these words will open up a whole new realm of control in your parenting) you’re destined to a looonnnnnng existence of eye rolls, procrastination and stupid questions like ‘Why I gotta’ and stupid excuses like ‘I was about to do it but…’

I sometimes look at them and ask myself ‘Why do they become zombies for this fuckin’ game?’

And then I’m reminded of this guy.

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First; Shut Up.  Second, I remember when I got my Nintendo back in the 80’s. 1987 to be exact. I was the very last person out of all my friends to get one. That’s a sad enough statement, but the saddest statement is that I was the last one to get a Nintendo out of all my friends’ friends as well. And I vividly remember one of my homie’s had a sleepover for his birthday and as soon as he broke out the Nintendo the other boys started talking about which games were their favorites. Then the dreaded moment came when they turned to ask me, and I informed them that I didn’t have a Nintendo.

They all looked at me like I just told them I have three breasts.

So when I finally got my Nintendo on Christmas Day I played it for hours to make up for lost time. I would come home from school, turn that shit on and zone out in 8Bit happiness until my mom got home. She would peek her head into my bedroom and ask “Benji…did you do your homework”

“Uh, I’ma do it soon” I’d reply, knowing damn well that I had all intentions of failing EVERYTHING. Shower’s became 1,2,3’s (where I’d hit all the funky spots with soap and a rag then keep it moving) and I basically ignored anything that didn’t look like this. I was a Video Game junkie at the tender age of nine. And it all started with the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo game.

This is when my love affair with the words ‘Bitch’ ‘Shit’ and ‘FUCK!’ began.
(S/N I know I look like Super Nerd in that photo. And I was. But dammit if I couldn’t curse like a sailor back then. Still can mu’fucka)

I used to play Duck Hunt first as an appetizer for Mario. Whenever I would miss one of the targets and that nut ass dog would come up and laugh at me I kept shooting at the screen like I would magically overpower the Japanese technology and kill the dog for trying to play me.

Super Mario Bros. was definitely my vice during 1988. Then, Double Dragon. Then, Super Marios Bros. 2 (which wasn’t the real Super Mario 2, but I couldn’t stop playing it).

And then Super Mario 3 came out and fucked my whole world up.

Sleep didn’t exist anymore.

Me and my man Nitty used to play that game everyday, all day. I blame him for my addiction, since he was the one who got me hooked on Nintendo at that damn birthday sleepover. I repaid him by introducing him to alcohol when we were teenagers (You’re Welcome).

Nintendo also had accessories that came with certain games (like the gun I tried to use to kill that damn laughing dog from Duck Hunt). My cousin Moe had a PowerPad for her Nintendo and we used to play Track & Field all the time, running in place, stomping on the floor like we were actually running in the game. This was wayyyyy before the Wii, but the concept was still the same. Our Aunt lived in the apartment underneath hers and everyday she called upstair screaming into the phone “Y’all stop all that damn noise! Sound like you’re coming through the ceiling”

My love affair with video games started with the Nintendo so I can sympathize with my godsons when they become Power Points hungry addicts destined to sit in one space for hours, moving only to pee, eat and sleep (and not necessarily in that order) because I used to do the same thing.

A lot of my fondest memories come from the hours I spent playing Nintendo with my cousins and friends because historically the Nintendo changed everything. Sure, there was Atari and ColecoVision back during the early 80’s but those systems pale in comparison to what the Nintendo had to offer. It started an entertainment revolution. The Nintendo ushered in an age of infatuation with imagination. As kids we used to play with toys and have them running around our front steps and grass shooting things and getting into all kinds of mischief. The Nintendo took that concept a few steps further by unlocking a world where a stodgy plumber and his not-at-all identical brother could run around dodging fireballs, eating mushrooms and racking up their coins to save a bitch that was never in the right castle once you beat the boss.

You know how frustrating that shit was????

So I understand where my boys get their love affair with their Xbox Live Points because video games can be intoxicating and cathartic.

Still, I wish the games were as cheap as they were back in the day because just like any drug playing these games can become a very expensive habit.

Time for those boys to get jobs and buy their own damn Xbox Live Points.

 

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