Remember the old days when we would practically kick over our desks after the final bell, topple off of the bus steps, scamper on home, throw off our back packs, and smash the power buttons on our PS1’s, N64’s, GameCubes, GameBoys, etc.? I mean, obviously not all at the same time, but you grasp the concept (hopefully).
For most of us, that was our after school sanctuary. We would become enthralled in ancient and future worlds where anything and everything could happen. Imaginations would run wild as we would slay evil doers, take on daring tasks, and overcome incredible obstacles. In our usually very limited time, determined by worried moms trying to prevent our eyeballs from falling out, we learned some of our greatest life lessons from some pretty cool animated characters.
Some, in fact, that have personally stayed with me into my adult life. So with all of the negativity sparking the internet right now, I wanted us to be able to look back at our childhoods and remember some of the awesome heroes and heroines that taught us some core values as kids. MIND YOU, I am a 21 year old millennial. So some of these characters might not have hit the same years for you as it did for me, but none the less, I hope they mean something to you too.
1. The Pokémon Protagonists: You can be the master of anything.
Our BFF’s Ash and Pikachu have always been fan favorites, but for those of you that played Pokémon Red, Blue, and Leaf Green remember a very different protagonist. Little Red had to overcome a modern day bully and a multitude of expectations to become a Pokémon master and the new Pokémon League Champion. From Pokémon’s beginning, we have always seen how hard work, determination, and a little kindness can take you far. In every region and in every game, you had the potential to reach the top. If playing these games has taught me anything, it’s that with a lot of heart, good-spirit, and determination, you can do anything.
2. Princess Zelda: Brains are BadAss.
The lovely and wonderful Princess Zelda, folks. My first run-in with a woman who wasn’t the usual damsel. Though she differs throughout the Legend’s games, she’s always been one smart cookie. As the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, obviously this girls got brains. Even though she’s got some awesome moves and has a super cool sword, she’s always the one to chose forgiveness over fighting. But as a young girl, Princess Zelda changed the way that I thought about the stereotypical lady. She made me want to pursue knowledge and peace, but have some pretty imaginative duels with the friendly stick in my backyard. Class with a bite – A beautiful combination.
3. Kirby: You can BE anything (literally)
Okay, so this one is a little bit silly, but Kirby sure sparked some awesome games of pretend. But that’s exactly why I chose him. Kirby could swallow something whole and become the essence if that thing in .2 seconds. Why couldn’t I be an astronaut one second and a man-eating tiger the next? Characters like Kirby and his stories expanded my imagination and what I thought that I was capable of being – there are no freaking rules. It’s ideals like this that made me, and many others, want to be an artist, that made us want to expand other’s imaginations too. Without it, we wouldn’t have the amazing stories, movies, shows, VIDEO GAMES that we have today. All because of the notion that a little pink cutie was more than just a ball with feet. And THAT, my friends, rules.
4. Crash Bandicoot: Keep on running (forward).
Ah one of my favorite and most anxiety ridden game. But thats what life’s all about. We run and keep moving forward in life, and as we go on the running seems to get faster and it’s harder to leap over obstacles and then suddenly we crash and burn and screech on the way down. But for some crazy reason, we keep playing on. We keep trying the level over and over again until we succeed and we stop running into crap thats blocking the road or finally outrun a giant boulder. Once we see Crash do his victory we dance, we exhale a sigh of relief and are full of anticipation for the next level. Sound familiar? No matter what the obstacles may be, we simply have to keep on going.
5. Samus Aran: Everyone, even women, can be powerful.
Two words – girl power. When I was first introduced to Samus, I fell head over heels. In a world where girl gamers deal with over sexualized female characters, Miss Aran broke a long standing stigma. Completely covered up, completely cool. Metroid showed me, and a lot of other girls, that women can do equally as killer of a job saving the galaxy as any guy. A spark of feminism, tolerance, and understanding for all…thanks Samus.
SO GO! Spread positivity! Remember the video games of days past that may have shaped your love for games, and recall the awesome life lessons that you learned from your personal favorites too.
Peace, love, and games, yo. XOXO, Sam Prevost.