Six Unfortunate Lessons I Learned From Gaming

Today I’m pleased to welcome a fantastic writer friend to Searching for SuperWomen. I first met Amanda back at a writing conference in 2012, and I could not be more thrilled to have her here with us today! Please welcome Amanda Gardner!


Last summer I took a trip to the biggest arcade in the world—Funspot, a gamer’s heaven located near the idyllic shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia, New Hampshire. As I walked up and down the aisles of games and perused the titles I had played in my youth, it dawned on me that a kid could learn some really messed up values from these games. And no, I don’t mean violence. I’m talking about punching through apartment windows to gain your dinner.

gaming, rampage, arcade, destruction, monsters

#6 Game: Rampage

The premise of becoming a movie monster and destroying a city is an appealing one, especially for kids who like to stomp on sandcastles and wreck Lego structures. But the most troubling thing I discovered from my hours upon hours climbing up buildings and knocking them down was that the most gratifying part of the game was when I’d punch through a window and pull out a fine, golden brown turkey. As monsters do.

#5 Game: Mappyland

A lesser-known title than the other games in this list, Mappyland featured a plucky mouse who attempted to out-bounce cats dressed as cops on a series of trampoline platforms. Cliché, I know. Anyway, this falsely lead me to believe as a child that A) Cats were enforcers of the law and that B) They loved jumping on trampolines. My cat at the time, Sylvester, did not. Lesson learned, little Amanda.

Super Mario Bros, Nintendo, Super Mario 2, Mario, Luigi, Peach, gaming, video games

#4 Game: Super Mario Brothers 2

So you’ve been playing Super Mario Brothers for years and then all of a sudden 2 comes along and you can select from a number of characters…sweet! You can be twinkle-toed Luigi or a floaty-dressed princess in your quest for saving the world. But, as you attempt to take down your first foe…you land on his head. He didn’t squish. HE DIDN’T SQUISH. Instead, you must throw a radish at him. WTF? So, the lesson here is forget everything you’ve learned in any video game. And don’t touch the key, because I still have nightmares about Phanto.

(Editor’s note: Super Mario Bros 2 may have been less incomprehensible had it been executed as originally intended as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic…but then it wouldn’t be the bizarre, radish-pelting Mario we all know and love. Erm.)

#3 Game: A Boy and His Blob

In this cerebral thriller, you, the boy, throw jellybeans at a blob. Every kid’s dream come true, I know. Anyway, depending on the flavor of bean, the blob would turn into different usable shapes, such as a hole (um, he turns into negative space?), a bubble, and a flame thrower…which you use to get past large spider webs. So, you’re saying I can’t remove cobwebs without a fire? Also, I’m fairly certain this game was the impetus behind Every Flavor Beans in the Harry Potter series, because seriously–ketchup?

#2 Game: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

I’d like to start by saying that there have been several versions of this game, since they eliminated Mike Tyson in favor of Mr. Dream (who really should have had a facial tattoo, IMHO. So, lessons learned here are many, starting with the notion that if you’re from a certain country, you should be introduced with said country’s stereotypical music and only spout ethnic clichés. The second lesson, thank you King Hippo, is that if you see a person’s injury…PUNCH IT.

#1: Doctor Mario

Simple lesson: take all of the pills you can find in quick succession and jam them into your belly until all the nasties are gone. Good times.

swordbrideAmanda Gardner is an urban fantasy writer who fantasizes about bartending genies and time-traveling foodies. She’s a geek, a gamer, gourmand and a mom to two crazy boys. Whedonite, Japan-lover, all-around badass. You can find her on Twitter @amandasgardner.