I wasn’t an avid gamer growing up, but the first – and possibly only – truly “in” thing I ever got was an original Nintendo back in 1987. I didn’t have tons of games, and I was terrible at pretty much all of them (except Paperboy; to this day, I still don’t know anyone else who completed the entire week. And no, you don’t get anything special for it.). But I loved it.

I rarely played video games with friends, but I always enjoyed the challenge. As I got older, I discovered that the dexterity I displayed in playing the piano didn’t translate to video games, so I began to take more pleasure in watching others play. I could still be involved in the story, or even just the goal to beat a later level in Super Mario Bros, but didn’t have to (repeatedly) fail at it myself, angering my competitive but inept side. Vicariously, I enjoyed watching video games more than playing.

My family also had a lot of board games when I was growing up, though we rarely played them. When we did, however, I adored those family times. Though we were all competitive, we were also more interested in either seeing where the story went in games like Dungeon!, or in what epic way someone would win (or lose, more likely) in Monopoly or Risk. When I got to university, I had friends who loved and introduced me to games like Settlers of Catan, and then I really fell in love with board gaming. Suddenly, there were hours of competition to build the longest road, and stories that could develop in all the rich worlds that Euro games contain. And all of these built solid friendships that still endure today. Gaming to me is about connecting with people, sometimes to achieve a mutual goal (like in any of the Lego video games, which I love, though I’m still woefully inept at video games), or to achieve a victory over all others, but still connecting through the shared experience.

-Katie Weidmann
Social Media Manager
Girl Museum Inc.
Yorkshire, UK

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