Up up down down left right left right B A Select Start.
The “Konami Code.”
The very code that earned you 30 extra lives in Contra, a classic Nintendo game that featured two commanders making their way through enemy territory……although I must admit, my main goal when playing the game, was to make the characters “dance” in time to the music. Squat, jump, turn, turn, turn.
I was never obsessed with video games….in fact I only ever owned a game boy system that got the majority of its use on family road trips, once a year. But I did have my fair share of zombified afternoons at my friends’ houses…..hands glued to a controller, eyes barely blinking.
There’s no doubt about it. Video games are addicting. They leave you feeling like you simply haaaaave to get to the next level, or break your previous high score. There’s the satisfying “ding!” of earning rewards, and the ultimate jump-off-the-couch moment when you actually beat the game!
Video games elicit an unprecedented type of energy, effort and focus. Which is exactly why we can learn from our experiences with them!
It’s called “gamification.” The concept of applying game-design thinking to everyday life. And it can take your follow-through from “maybe someday” to “just nailed it!”
Take nutrition, for example. I recently started eating a vegetarian diet. And although I find it fairly easy to avoid meat, it can actually be kinda tricky to make sure I’m eating enough of the good stuff (because I could very easily swap out chips for chicken, or sangria for steak).
And so I use a fancy little app called Daily Dozen that lets me track my fruits, veggies, beans, greens, nuts….complete with gold stars, charts and records! And trust me, on the days that I hit all 12 targets, I have my own little jump-off-the-couch moment (which oddly enough, looks a hell of a lot like Chun Li’s adorable victory leap)!
And it’s the same thing with my meditation practice! I use the Headspace app, partly because of the kick-ass guided meditations, and partly because I get such a high from keeping my “run streak” going, building my “total time meditated” and checking in my friends’ stats, for a little healthy competition.
And really, what fun is victory, if no one knows about it? In the world of gaming, it’s abundantly clear that social interaction plays a huge part in keeping us coming back for more. Whether it’s high-fiving your best friend over finally beating Bowser, or getting in some seriously fierce competition with your big brother in Blades of Steel…..it’s more fun when the experience is shared. And really, someone needs to verify your epic stories of defeat!
And of course, let’s not forget about peer pressure! Oh, the street cred you can earn by beating the fire temple in Zelda! There’s just a certain amount of pressure to achieve, when we know our friends are watching our every move.
Which is exactly why working out with friends, is the best possible thing you can do! There’s accountability there, meaning you’re way less likely to bail on a bike ride with a friend, than a bike ride by yourself. It’s the very reason that my workout routine is centered around group fitness. Not only do people expect me in class, they expect me to bring it, every time! It’s a beat-the-cheat life hack that forces me to wrestle “I’ll do it tomorrow” to the ground!
But what about personal projects? When I need to get something done, with focus and uninterrupted energy, I really struggle to stay at it. There’s always something that tears me away…..a text message….a pang of hunger…..the sudden realization that I need to buy those Jim Jefferies tickets before they sell out!
But what if I applied a little gamification here as well? I recently heard about an app called Forest that helps you put down your phone, and focus on what’s most important in your life. You plant a virtual tree, and it either grows (if you do not touch your phone for the allotted time frame), or it dies (if you leave the app). Over time, you can build an entire forest, with every tree representing your focused time. So simple. And yet so brilliant.
So go ahead, give your mom a call, and let her know that the summer of ’92 was not a complete waste of time. All that gaming you did, just gave you all the experience you need to be the best possible version of yourself, and to get….stuff….done! Despite your permanent “Nintendo thumb” that prevents you from ever winning a thumb war, giving a proper thumbs up, or hitching a ride outta town. Not a bad trade off, if you ask me.
Check out these awesome video games, available at the library, to keep you and your kids busy this summer! Guilt free!
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Force is strong with this one. The No. 1 LEGO videogame franchise triumphantly returns with a fun-filled, humorous journey based on the blockbuster Star Wars film. Play as Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, Kylo Ren, Han Solo, and the rest of your favorite characters from the movie!
Owlboy is a story-driven platform adventure game, where you can fly and explore a brand new world in the clouds. Pick up your friends, and bring them with you as you explore the open skies. Overcome obstacles and greater enemies, in one of the most detailed adventures of this era. Being a mute, Otus struggles living up to the expectations of owl-hood. Things spiral from bad to worse with the sudden appearance of sky pirates. What follows is a journey through monster-infested ruins, with unexpected encounters, well kept secrets, and burdens no one should have to bear.
The NBA 2K franchise is back with the most true-to-life NBA experience to date with NBA2K16. Guide your MyPLAYER through the complete NBA journey, take control of an entire NBA franchise, or hone your skills online competing against gamers from around the world. With animations that provide smoother movement and more realistic articulation, it’s certain to be the most authentic NBA gaming experience yet.
A land of discovery stretches out before you. Explore the beautiful yet rugged world of rime, a single-player puzzle adventure. In rime, you play as a young boy who has awakened on a mysterious island after a torrential storm. You see wild animals, long-forgotten ruins and a massive tower that beckons you to come closer. Armed with your wits and a will to overcome-and the guidance of a helpful fox-you must explore the enigmatic island, reach the tower’s peak, and unlock its closely guarded secrets.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration, and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across vast fields, through forests, and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the kingdom of Hyrule In this stunning Open-Air Adventure.