UNITED STATES—Man do I remember my glory days. As a kid, I just had an innate ability when it came to playing video games. I can’t describe the skill, but I just knew it was something I was good at. I received my first gaming system at the age of 5. It was a NES. Some of you might have no idea what I’m referring to; it’s the system where you had to blow into the cartridge before inserting it into the console.

One of the first games I became victorious at was Super Mario Bros. It was a game that wasn’t as easy as it appeared to be. It required patience, skill and an intelligent skill set. To see a six-year-old complete a game in little than a month, wowed a lot of people, but that was just the start of my gaming adventures. I soon found Zelda, Rygar, Castlevania, Double Dragon and a host of other games on my mantle. I would literally play games for hours; me and my brothers from sunrise to sunset. I love retro game stores where you can find classics that are no longer in circulation.

That’s the one thing I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around when it came to playing video games. Time would fly out of the blue; and I could never tell why it moved so quickly. As time progressed I got a Game Gear, it was the first hand-held console that displayed the video in color. Yeah, Game Boy took nearly a decade to do what Game Gear had already done.  One of my favorite gaming systems of all-time was the SNES. It was the NES on steroids. I mean the level of game play with some of these games was notorious.

I mean there was Super Mario World, Mega Man X, Super Castelvania, Secret of Evermore, Mortal Kombat, Zelda: A Link to the Past, the list goes on and on. The one thing I appreciate about old video games is the fact that they were a challenge. These were not easy games to beat in any shape, way or form. It took a certain level of skill to be victorious, but more importantly calculation when you played role-playing games.

What’s a role playing game? It is one that tends to require a study guide and hours, weeks, and in some cases months to defeat. One of my favorite games of all-time is Secret of Mana. To this day, I haven’t met a person who has successfully completed the game without a study guide like I did. This is NOT AN EASY GAME. Its lots of travel, sword play, dialogue reading and took me nearly two to three months to complete.

Did I get frustrated you have no idea? I recall nearly throwing my game out the window because I had such a difficult time defeating a particular boss. What did gaming teach me? The art of technique, every boss can be defeated you just have to learn their tactics and strategize. That strategy I learned from gaming eventually spilled over into real-life. Helping me with homework, my social life and money management! Remember you can’t spend what you don’t have.

Nowadays, our latest gaming systems, PS4 and Xbox One are so over-the-top with their level of graphics, the idea of playing a game ceases to exist in my opinion. Our perhaps I just don’t understand all the crazy fuss over the games that are out nowadays. I will be the first to admit, I’ve never liked the three-dimensional effect of gaming. It took away from the aspect of being immersed in the game to me.

I mean I’ve had almost every system know to man: Atari, Intellevision, Sega Genesis, NES, Super NES, Game Gear, Game Boy, Playstation, Playstation II, PS3, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Dreamcast, Xbox, Xbox 360, am I leaving anything out?

My drive to play video games slowly left me as I moved into my teenage years. This is not to say, I don’t like gaming, I just no longer have the time to sit in front of a TV for hours playing a videogame. I did however learn something recently, those same skills I had as a child, are still with me as an adult. While playing video games with my nephew over the holiday, he was amazed with how sharp my skills still are. I might be old school, while my nephew is new school, he learned a valuable lesson: never assume.

I may no longer be an avid gamer, but a true gamer never loses his ability to do what not many people can do with ease.