Hi, my name is Xavier and I am a video game addict. Now of course I am joking but video games can be addictive. I broke away from video games for many years because I considered them childish. After all, I was getting older and I thought I would grow out of the habit of wanting to be the best at Super Mario Brothers or some shootiem up game. However, when I started using computers on a regular basis and went online to a high speed connection, I found I could play all kinds of games whenever I felt like it. At first it was just a little game of cards here and there. I even found anonymous people online who wanted to play a game of checkers or chess. Then I downloaded a small software title and upgraded it. Finally I was loading huge software first person shooter games that required lots of video memory, a faster computer and a headset to keep the noise of bombs, gunshots, lasers, aircraft and tanks from disturbing everyone in the house. I soon realized I was hooked again.

In the late 1980s, I was one of several million youngsters that got introduced to the first mass produced home based video game systems. The home arcade game was a new phenomenon and most kids wanted to play. We no longer had to rely on visiting the local arcade game house for our entertainment. We could now play at home for free.

My younger brothers and I watched as friends took delivery of the first Nintendo Entertainment Systems or the Sega Genesis systems. Even though they would be considered basic and rudimentary today, we had never seen anything like it before. Anyone who had one of these games quickly found friends they never thought they had. My brothers and I were not above befriending those who were lucky enough to own one of these games. When I think about it, the phenomenon was very similar to the introduction of the television. I have heard many of my older friends recall their first sight of a television in someone else’s house. Those who first had televisions became very popular overnight and there always seemed to be someone at the window peering through for a glimpse of the tube.

It was easy for us be swept up in this game console craze. We could play for hours and hours. Things sometimesgot tense when we fought for possession of the controller. Finally we had our own games as with time the price dropped and became more affordable. Mom and dad could not understand why we would want to manipulate electronic characters or creatures on the television set to kill enemies, be the fastest and emerge as the strongest. Sometimes they just pulled the plug and put us outside to play.

In the 1990s, the video game industry went into overdrive and it took us teenagers for a ride. New game consoles became faster and more complex as well as harder to figure out. Numerous game titles were also being churned out on a regular basis and we wanted the latest fix to answer our addiction to the most exciting games.

After almost 20 years of home entertainment, the video gaming world has grown into a monster. Game consoles like the Xbox 360 by Microsoft and the Sony Playstation are more like dedicated supercomputers that produce a cross between interactive video games and epic special effect movies. In addition, they are more geared to the enthusiastic adult gamer that has been playing for the past 20 years and now has a regular paying job in order to pay for the high cost of these new systems. Modern, powerful computers can easily accommodate new software game titles. There is more variety than ever and you can even download free versions of these games on the internet.

I think young people in remote northern communities have an even stronger fascination with video games. These games represent a world they can visit to escape everyday reality. Instead of becoming bored with the community or worrying about some family situation a kid can turn on the TY power up the game console and lose themselves in fantasy worlds. They become heroes, warriors, race car drivers, cartoon characters and sometimes even winners. The best thing about the fantasy world is that you can control it and if things get too hard then you just switch to easy mode and everything falls into place. Real life is not like that. Maybe it should be.