HOLLYWOOD─Very little things allow me to completely take my mind off of the real world and the constant stressors or struggles I encounter. However, there is one thing that I do on rare occasion that allows me an escape that I cannot even put into words. It is not cooking, music, reading, movies, TV, exercise. Does anyone have a guess? It’s GAMING!

As a kid, I was a major gamer, and when I say major gamer I mean I played video games during any off time that I had. This was during the 80s and 90s. As I got older, I stopped gaming. I just didn’t have the time to do it anymore, at least not in the realm that I wanted. As a result, it became an afterthought for me, but that was until retro gaming made a major comeback in 2018 and 2019.

Look, I know nowadays everything is 3D gaming and the visuals matter more than anything, but for me the 2D games were the ones that tested a person’s strategy and ability to navigate thru chaos. I mean I visited multiple stores and waited in line just so I could get my hands on the SNES Classic. I mean these are games that I adored as a kid, and I could play for hours end without a break. As a kid, it seemed like you could be playing a game for 20 hours, but today what seemed like long hours it is maybe 1-3 hours at most.

What baffles me more than anything is when I go to play a videogame in a rare moment of freedom, all the worries, all the stress I have in life it just vanishes. It is like an afterthought and my focus is zoned in on that game. I don’t know if gaming requires a level of concentration where nothing else matters, but it amazes me. It makes me question WHAT is it specifically with gaming that the brain zones out everything else? It’s like a light switch that cuts off when I’m playing videogames, whereas, anything else I do, that switch never cuts off.

The one bad thing about gaming is that it requires you to sit, and for some people they could be sitting for hours on ends. That is never good for the body or your overall health. Movement is a must if you want to keep that blood circulation going, when I was a kid, gaming was a special treat. It was still as expensive back then as it was today, the only difference is that more children were outside playing, today, more parents are skeptical of allowing their kids to play outside because let’s face it, times have drastically changed.

I love a great role playing game, because they cause you to think. How can I maneuver the joystick to obtain an item that maybe I need another item to actually obtain? You might think it’s impossible, but it is not. Gaming makes the brain sharper in my opinion, so I know there are plenty of parents who think gaming is bad, but that is not the case. Your kids’ get to think critically and analytically and those are things that can help in school on a daily basis, when dealing with various subjects. Those subjects include math, reading, physics, chemistry, geometry and a host of other subjects where everything doesn’t always make sense.

Gaming can indeed be addictive, but what I’ve come to realize is that I find a solace in gaming that I cannot find in any other hobby that I never thought of. I’m trying to make it a mission to at least a few hours each week set aside personal time for myself and gaming, because the detox that I get from the real world is so worth it.