In Praise of the Little Things


I had a very happy childhood. And when I remember my childhood, I always remember a large part of that happiness in the form of playing video games.

(Of course, video games don’t a happy child make: they’re just what I spent most of my very happy childhood doing. It’s like hearing a song associated with your first kiss: the song has become the happy feelings, even though the song wasn’t the original the reason for them.)


One of my little goals in adult life is to be successful enough and independent enough that I have time to indulge in a rare video game on occasion.

For some reason, that’s one of my definitions of happiness. To have time for the little things. The ones that you know aren’t important.


As an adult thinking about the video games I played, it’s funny what I took for granted at the time:

  • Someone had to write all the immersive little bits of dialogue that NPCs say when you interact with them.
  • Someone else translated those little bits of dialogue from Japanese, in the case of my Nintendo games. And had the thoughtfulness to add little English puns and jokes and character to them, to add a layer of fun that didn’t need to be there.
  • Someone spent hours crafting those little midi music files—the ones that still give me chills when I listen to them today.

But when I experienced them, I experienced them as one obvious, inevitable whole, not the slow combination of a tons of individuals little choices, late nights and hours of care.


Often, these experiences were put together by someone who just wanted to go home or just wanted a paycheck … or maybe just took the time and extra effort to create some tiny beautiful musical riff that still moves a 23-year old man over 10 years later.

It’s important to remember the little things matter.


One comment

  1. Michael

    I enjoy this. I’ve been listening to a lot of midi files of games or soundtracks from games I played when I was younger. I had a great childhood too and even though I loved playing outside and making my own games with my siblings, I also cherish the times we spent playing video games together. They are some of my most fond memories.
    After reading your list of things that you took for granted at the time – I remember doing the same. I’ve actually being sneaking time to play Breath of Fire II, an old Japanese RPG ported to the US on Super Nintendo. I got the game my freshman year of college and have been trying to beat it since then – like I said sneaking time in when I have the opportunity to zone out of real life…and I notice a lot of puns in this game, misspellings of English words and incorrect grammar.
    Another thing I enjoyed was a literary reference in the game to Kurt Vonnegut. There is a character named Kilgore and there is a part of the game that you have to feed him trout…if you’re a Vonnegut fan, you’ll appreciate the reference. Anywho, I enjoyed this. I hope you get some time to play some games soon…maybe revisit Portal II =P

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s