Growing up in the early 2000s allowed me to experience the rise of modern gaming, as we currently know it. This unique opportunity builds upon the fact that at a young age, my only options from the toy store were board games, Legos, or action figures. Naturally, a child can only build many lego kits and imagine with so many figurines before they want to explore new trains of thought. This new outlet was playing against my parents in board games.
Board games were a quintessential part of my young life and early cognitive development. The earliest I can remember is with a classic for most children in my generation, which is Candyland. This sugar-coated game involved little strategy but a great number of counting skills. For me, it allowed for a great amount of fun when I could skip half of the game with the luck of the draw. Also, it balanced me out because whenever I landed on a licorice man square, I would be penalized for RNG sake.
Then I grew out of these “baby” games and played more advanced games that require strategy. My personal favorites, when I was younger, were Chess with my Dad and Scrabble with my Grandma. Both of these higher-skilled games boosted my abilities to be able to optimize choices to benefit me. This optimization came at a cost because these games allowed for a younger me to use copious amounts of time and energy because every move was a give it my all strategy. This led to a young me feeling drained after an hour-long Chess game or having to maximize points every turn in a game of Scrabble. Eventually, after years of practice, I moved to where I am currently.
Now, as an adult, I choose to favor games that are strictly played online. This is due to my friends and I attending schools that are so far away, but also due to their popularity in the gaming scene. Out of all of the online multiplayer games that are played on a global scale, my personal favorites have to be Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Rocket League. These games were built with an Esport in mind meaning that they are complex in two ways. They have a mechanical side along with game sense. These mechanics that I am referring to are the way that you move in a game. For Rocket League, you have to move your car on the ground as well as through the air. The game is designed for you to use a combination of buttons to lift and move how you need to. This combination and timing for button-pushing are difficult to achieve, and only a few out of the player base have mastered this skill. The other skill that I refer to is game sense. This is the intellectual basis for how to play the game. In Rocket League, the knowledge required to perform has mostly to do with how a player rotates through the field because, at its core, this is just soccer. As someone who has never played or watched actual soccer, learning this was a private dedication that allowed me to enjoy myself in a cut-throat online environment. Now, most games I play are here for me to relax from my real life. I can still learn from these games, but it is not as applicable as they once were to my younger self.