I can still remember the first time my sister asked me to play games.
On any random night, I could be found in my room playing whatever game had caught my attention. That night, it was Halo. Too busy blowing up aliens and saving the universe, I didn’t notice that my sister had snuck into my room. She was prone to exploring everywhere, as is any young child, but usually knew to not watch when violent games were being played. Despite my warnings, however, she watched, and with that began her ever-growing fascination with video games.
If you ask her now, she’ll still mention that moment as being something that stuck with her in her childhood. “I remember you playing games like Halo and Mario, and they looked liked so much fun that I wanted to play too.” As she grew up and played through some of the more child-friendly titles that I already owned, it was time for her to find her own way in the world (of gaming, that is). Christmas came, and along with the various toys and dolls under the tree, Santa Claus had left behind the key that would unlock her love of gaming: a Nintendo 3DS.
Once she had a console of her own, I had no choice but to sit back and watch as she defined her own tastes in gaming. No matter how hard I tried to intervene and steer her in the right direction, it was clear that she would be making this journey by herself. Like many gamers, she made some choices that weren’t the best—and regretted them almost immediately.
As she kept playing, gaming grew from a curiosity into a way to immerse herself, sometimes for an entire day. As she aged, her tastes matured, and sillier games gave way to more involved titles such as Fire Emblem and Pokémon. It was clear to her that it was time to move on from “kid games” and venture farther out into the gaming world.
It isn’t exactly a revelation that children emulate those around them. As my sister grew up, she was no longer happy to just be playing games for younger children; instead, she saw the games I played and wanted to play them herself. The reason for this, unsurprisingly, was that she wanted a bigger experience. “Some of them are just so thrilling, you can’t stop.”
Because of this, it was finally time to fully take off the reins, so to speak, and allow her to roam around completely alone. Just recently, she found herself in front of a PlayStation 4 with Tales from the Borderlands on the screen. What started as a mild fascination quickly blossomed into a full-fledged love, and it was now time for her to see what gaming truly had to offer.
For now, this is where the story ends. She’s 13 now and continues to grow. She will no doubt continue to expand what she plays, and like all gamers, her tastes will grow as companies continue to release content. I’m 24 now and just happy to watch as she goes on that journey. Gaming hasn’t exactly made us more alike. Instead, I got a front-row seat to watch my sister grow up and develop her own sense of self. That’s better than anything I could have hoped.