Remember the Struggle
I was ignorant in gaming for a long time. I don’t mean racist or a straight-up gatekeeper or anything, but like a….kind of almost ignorant gatekeeper? I hate when people say Nintendo games are for kids. They are fit for them, but that doesn’t mean they’re designed solely for them. It’s the same way how some animations are really well written and they’re for kids, but adults can definitely enjoy them. I think a lot of the time, they’re even better as adults.
So, I grew up with the SNES and Nintendo 64. Platforming games were the thing back then, so I played a lot of Mario, Kirby, and Donkey Kong games. I think it was just a ton of privilege and I am very grateful for that. Fast-forward to Super Mario Maker 2, and I was making levels that I felt were fit for the audience, only to find out that the success rate was pretty low on the level. Now, I’m not a pro at platforming games or anything. I am not that, but my vision of what a platforming game player was skewed. And that’s when I realized I am super privileged when it comes to most Nintendo games.
Most people who are playing Nintendo games are younger, and most Nintendo games are platforming games. I have yet to see a young gamer who, having received a present from their parents, do what I believed to be “well” on a new Nintendo game. In fact, I remember being young and not being able to make it past certain worlds. As I got older, the amount of worlds I would get to would go further and further. I wouldn’t actually finish a Mario game until like, middle school or high school. You know, the age when kids think they’re so cool and Nintendo is done and away with.
That’s the first set of audience, and the second is adults who want to start to play platforming games. Introducing people to games or the genre has made me feel so ignorant. I mean, I’ve done that a lot, but I never realized what a terrible teacher I was. I believe I’m pretty good at teaching, but for some reason I never applied the proper teaching skills I used before on what I loved the most. I am patient with the person, but I was just so ignorant. New gamers don’t know what they can and can’t do. That’s something that when you play as a younger gamer, you just kind of leap over because you’re a kid and you’ve got time and audacity in your hands.
Especially for adults, they’re hesitant on what they believe they can do and move like. Looking back I feel so dumb for not opening that door for them. Not only that, but then there is the huge gap of just spending time to get better that I don’t really have to worry about anymore because I’ve played so many games when I was younger. So, I think you get the point. I just really had to check my privilege here. But it’s also made me very grateful for opening my eyes to this understanding, and makes me grateful for how well Nintendo designs their games to be enjoyable even when you’re past these stages.
I think in a way I was kind of soft-gatekeeping people by placing my expectations way high. I never got upset at them, but in my mind I would still set that expectation, and I would rather I root that out than let it grow into something negative. I want to be welcoming to all levels of gaming. The best people in any profession always seem to be the ones that still remember what it was like to struggle, because they’re the ones that are the best at helping people. Like my entire life with things I study, I want games to be a positive impact on my life, so I will do my best to keep humbling myself and remember the struggle.
Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next time.