Gaming in the Time of COVID

Photo by Fabian Albert on Unsplash

Tiffany White
by Tiffany White
5 min read

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✴️ First: A little backstory

I’m old, so I started gaming with the NES. My favorite franchises and games are still from the 8bit platformer era of games.

I remember in 1988 or 89, digging through a Nintendo Power Magazine, that a company called NEC was creating games in 64-bit. They weren’t console games, just arcade games1 and I remember thinking, holy shit. This changes everything!. I was 10 and my cousin2 and I would game all day, all night when his family came to town. His little sister would want to do anything else, and we were using the Contra cheat code we found in Nintendo Power to get 99 extra lives or where the 1UPs were in Super Mario Bros 3.

I was good. I was good because I played everyday. Every damn day.

We went to see The Wizard, a movie sponsored by Nintendo3 where a kid breaks his brother out of a mental institution only to find out he was exceptional at video games. They travel across the country to go to the World Video Games Championship where the young boy beats out the crew’s arch nemesis and win $50,000. This is just a basic overview; they picked up a runaway girl on the way. The only cast member I know the name of is Fred Savage because he was in my favorite show as a kid, The Wonder Years.

Anyway, I dreamt of going to the Nintendo World Championship and showing my chops. I was a bit arrogant about my skills but I truly was great at video games.

They were an escape for me. The worse the depression and my home life got, the more I wrapped myself in the comfort of Super Mario Bros and Zelda.

Fast forward to the year 2001. I am home for Christmas and that same cousin has a PlayStation 2. I was lost. I didn’t like any of it. I didn’t know the controls, I was foggy as far as my brain and mental health goes, and Grand Turismo is not the right game to get back into gaming shape, especially with more controls, like the left and right joysticks and a bunch of new buttons.

I played for a little while and left gaming altogether.

4 years later I picked up a GameBoy Advance SP and began playing MegaMan games which were kinda like Pokemon rip offs but I had never played Pokemon so I was none the wiser. I played these games all day and all night.

I was in my mid twenties, had no job, and wasn’t really able to work at all. I was really not well mentally. I was going to a partial hospitalization program to get more intensive care, and even there, I played the GBA SP during breaks, during therapy sessions. I had a buddy who played it too, he was a few years younger. But we played through the whole day.

When I got well enough and started going back to school, I found that the GBA SP was taking away from my studies. I was a physics major at that time and that shit is hard and I needed time to dedicate to it.

I gave my GBA SP to my ex boyfriend and went on with my life.

But I still missed gaming.

My mom picked up a PS2 for me right after the PS3 came out. She wouldn’t have been able to afford the PS3 so I asked for the PS2.

I would go up to a friend’s apartment and watch him play Madden 05 and I decided I wanted back in.

So I got a PS2.

And I loved it.

I played Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Castlevania Curse of Darkness, all the Splinter Cells and Metal Gear Solids. I. Was fucking. Hooked.

✅ Now onto the story 

PS3 anyone?

One of my friends got a massive payout from Social Security after having to reapply after being unfairly laid off by GoodWill. It was my birthday, 2009. He asked me what I wanted. I hedged a bit; the PS3 was still pretty expensive. He told me not to worry about it. So I got it4.

I was gaming almost non-stop, while going to school, and moving to Pittsburgh. I gamed in Pittsburgh, a lot. Too much. And I sold my PS3 and games5 and dedicated my time to writing then coding.

Pandemic

I got laid off last year. I had more time that ever before to sit and think. I kept applying to jobs, getting nibbles, code challenges and failing them or not doing well enough to land a job. I decided I needed to buy a console to de-stress. I knew that I was responsible enough to balance my time between gaming and doing actual work, something I wasn’t able to do when I was younger.

So I picked up a PS4. And I plan to blog about the games I’m playing over at the Game Reviews page on this blog.

       
One of the greatest games ever made, Uncharted 4, A Thief's End
  1. Only arcade hardware could run something so large and processor intensive. 

  2. Also a nerd, also an engineer, only he works with plastics. He’s a couple years younger than me but we both old Jay don’t get it twisted. 😂 

  3. Basically an ad for Super Mario Bros 3 and the NES. 

  4. Okay so it might be good to mention he had a massive crush on me. He was 15 years older than me and had a hangup about attractive young people and, at that time, I had lost a fuckton of weight, dressed like a star, and so yeah, he had a crush on me. He also had an infatuation with my long time crush and sorta kinda boyfriend, a man who just. Holy fuck that man was good looking. WOW. And kind. He’s kinda dadish now but I still love him. He is my best friend. The man that bought me the PS3 passed away from medical hardships that put him in a nursing home. He was only in his early 50s. The pandemic hit and well. We think he died of COVID, like so many at that home. 

  5. I had no job when I moved out there and it’s expensive as hell. I sold it to eat, ngl. 

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