We can’t be friends anymore

I know, I know, we’ve been through a lot. You’ve been one of those friends I’ve known my whole life, we’ve got a history together, but I’m telling you, I just can’t keep hanging out with you.

Yes, of course I remember the first time we met. I’m pretty sure it was when we used to run around pretending to be detectives. We would look for clues to try to catch that thief before she got away. You taught me basic geography and history too… Ok, so I can’t really complain, it was pretty fun.

Oh and those crazy contraptions we built together… that one where we rolled the basketball down the wooden ramp and onto the treadmill, hitting that cat, and saving our other friend Mel from being bitten? That was incredible!

What about when you gave me a yellow helmet and a pogo stick, and we imagined jumping around space to fight robots and alien slugs that peed on the ground?

Those were the days.

I vividly remember how in primary school you had me a bit freaked out, when we pretended to hunt space demons. You told me not to be scared, because we could chant those sacred letters and magically get whatever weapons we wanted. It made me feel strong when we used the big green laser that was named after that Roald Dahl book, which caused the evil aliens to explode into lots of squishy red bits. It was a bit yucky at first, but after a while, you made me get used to it.

In high school you were really popular amongst my friends. I admit, you did somewhat of a great job of supporting us through our angst-ridden teen days. You helped us run away from girl problems, you relieved us from school stresses, you made us forget our fears. We opened up our issues to you, and like Mr Burns did to Santa’s Little Helper, you filled us with violent imagery and a thirst for blood. You sly guy, you. Riding on the coat tails of our insecurities, getting us to used to attacking each other, like modern day cops and robbers. Except this time there was no story, there was no purpose. And besides, we all know that the bad guys were indistinguishable from the good guys – it didn’t even matter anymore. There really was no meaning to it other than letting off a bit of steam.

In those many hours, you whisked us away from reality. Like addicts, we ran to you and you would satiate our growing pains. So. Satisfying.

You showed us how to build armies, plot with and against each other and completely annihilate ourselves. You showed us how to aim for the head, and to stab in the back. You showed us how to flaming uppercut each other.

You opened our minds to enacting grand larceny without conscience.

What the hell happened to you? More importantly, what the fuck did you do to me?

One minute you’re helping me to solve problems, expanding my critical thinking and imagination. The next minute all you’re doing is encouraging me to crush, kill, destroy… and to love it.

Sure, you and your best friends will tell me that I just can’t handle it. That I’m weak. Maybe I am. After all, I let you take over me. There is no denying though, these images you showed me are forever burnt into my mind, without me having experienced them in reality. The aggression I felt was real. The nasty words I said to my other friends while fighting over you were real.

And that sick way you congratulated death. “M-m-m-m-monster Kill.” “Finish Him.” “Terrorists win.” What were you moulding me into?

Looking back at our time together over the years, I’m sure I could’ve used my precious time more constructively. Had I wasted less time with you, chances are I’d be more equipped to get the most out of my life. Doing useful stuff, you know. Like acquiring resources for my family’s inventory without having to cheat the system. Being able to build a house and say “Construction Complete!” to myself (in a Russian accent). Driving a car that I bought and built up (as opposed to stolen from a guy off the street). Dancing outside of 4 possible foot locations. Being able to recall the names of at least 151 real creatures that actually exist on this earth.

I’m afraid that in the future my kids won’t heed my warnings, the same way I didn’t listen to my parents when they warned me not to spend so much time with you. For their sake, I can only hope they listen to me. I’ll always remember the fun we had, but unfortunately my memories of you are stained with regret.

Sorry, Video Games. We can’t be friends anymore. I just don’t want to be. There are so many more things to see, learn, and do that I can put my limited time and energy towards, that create tangible results in my life, and in the lives of my family.

Computer games

P.S. On second thought, I’ll still race cars and stack coloured blocks with you though.