So I played a lot of video games when I was a kid and it has perhaps altered the way in which I see the world. Nevertheless, I allowed that sight to color a recent article I published over at Medium. Here’s an excerpt (full version also found in the audio link above):
The year was 1987, and I sat in front of a television, a mere two feet from the screen, ready to take Link on an adventure to find all the pieces of the TriForce to save Queen Zelda. Never had a game so full of adventure been delivered to a nine-year-old boy so full of anticipation. I was about to meet my very first NPC or Non-Player Character.
After being dropped into a barren landscape surrounded by … trees? Who knows what those green things were. Perhaps bushes, green hills or mountains? Anyway, a dark hole stands out on the screen, and I guided Link down what I can only assume are stairs, as he seems to descend, and there is a clacking noise that the game designers decided would sound like someone walking, but stay with me here.
Once inside a bearded old man sits between two large fires, because I guess it’s cold inside of caves. He tells me, “It’s dangerous to go only! Take this.” A wooden sword with a green handle appears, and as soon as I pick it up, he disappears never to be seen again. That was his sole function, and he cannot do anything else for me in this adventure. This was my first Non-Player Character.