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.