To Me, Gaming Is Just As Important As Education

During my youth I never lived close to my friends' houses unless arranged which required a lift from one of my parents. Although arranged visitations were common, the majority of my childhood revolved around three things: education, cycling and gaming. The first factor, education, played a key role in my life and in the development of who I am (as it would - and does - in everybody's life) and who I wanted to be when I grew up. Due to the immense power of the education system in shaping a child, this factor is one of the main factors of my childhood as it made me who I am today.

The second factor, cycling, is the second focus of my childhood. Whenever I could I would embark on a bikeride (both solo and in a group) which gave me everything I could possibly want as a child: fresh air, exercise, control, fun and freedom. For the first time in my life I had the ability to control a vehicle (kind of) to my liking, and as a young child, having such power excited me. In fact, thanks to the "magic" of cycling it has to this day remained in my heart as I frequently travel to new places via my trusty bike. Therefore, cycling is incredibly important to me due to the role it played in my childhood and the role it plays now.

The third and final part of my childhood comes as no surprise and is a result of technology's rapid development. Gaming, aaah, just like cycling gaming allowed me to do everything I could possibly want from a TV. Although I wasn't allowed 18+ rated games (M for Mature in America) until I was 13 years old, "sandbox" games gave me the same level of freedom offered by cycling. Games such as The Simpsons: Hit and Run, the Jak & Daxter series, the Ratchet and Clank series, the Driver series and many more all shared one thing in common: they allowed the player to explore by their personal means. As a child, this thrilled me. It allowed me to recreate fictional lives tuned to my liking, it allowed me to explore and admire handmade open-world games but most of all, it showed me what games were capable of.

Unlike just about every other genre, open-world games (whether it be an RPG game, a driving game or an action title such as R&C which is semi open-world) gave the player control in choosing their path. They weren't restricted to a linear, scripted corridor sequence, instead, the player could stray away from missions to simply admire the game's world in its beauty. As a child, this revealed the wonders of gaming to me. It showed me what technology was capable of. Certain titles such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas further fueled my passion for the open world genre. Although I didn't own it at launch I had played it around friends' houses and my mind was completely blown by the vast scale of this game. It allowed me to have an outlook upon my future and allowed me to choose what career I would be interested in pursuing. This is where gaming's importance steps in.

Because I spent so much time with games I had lots of time to think about what I would be in the future. Because I liked open-world games I looked further into the genre to discover the True Crime series, a game series in which the player jumps into the shoes of a police officer, and surprisingly, I loved it. For hours I would play within these open worlds amusing myself with its many wonders. Titles such as Driver and Driver 2 also sparked my interest, and in the end, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a police officer.

I like to think of gaming as one of the most-important parts of my life because the medium helped form me to become who I am today. I enjoyed being on the "hero's" side of the storyline. I enjoyed open-world games and most of all, I liked the unexpected nature of some RPG game (ie: games such as FFVII had a random battle-encounter system). Because of this gaming helped me look into my future and built my aspirations of who I wanted to be when that time came.

Gaming, I thank you. Not only did gaming teach me to be wary of my actions, but it taught me that there were consequences to bad actions (you know, the cliche storyline of a hero always overthrowing the villain during the game's conclusion). Perhaps this is why I've become such a hard-working individual today, who knows? What I do know is that gaming most-definitely has impacted my life in a positive way and due to aiding what my adult-career became, is just as important to me as the education system because that too influenced what I became in my adult life.

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