Nintendo and Life Are Basically The Same

I grew up playing video games with my brothers, and I have a theory that nothing prepares you for life like Nintendo. See, MOM, it wasn’t such a waste of time.

Here I will share many of the childhood video game experiences that have molded the way I respond to life as an adult. Fair warning: the life lessons here are terrible.

Hello, life coach.

Ugh, why did I skip all the important talking parts

At the start of every game, I almost gave myself carpel tunnel from the repetitive motion of slamming the “B” button to skip through all backstory and dialogue. But then at some point, I would start to think, “Wait, I don’t know what’s going on at all.” It turned out that stupid, boring cutscene wasn’t so unnecessary after all.

I have had that feeling for the entirety of my adult life. I must’ve missed some important information, because now I’m totally lost. But seeing as it’s too late now, I’ll just wing it forever.

How am I supposed to know what to do next?

Imagine me, in a Zelda temple, where I’ve been wandering around for hours. Some people, like my big brother, were born with superhuman gaming instincts that whisper, “Obviously, shoot those distant targets with your slingshot, in the right order, to raise the water level so that you can swim to the other side.” But for someone clueless like me, it was all wandering, aimlessly hitting things with my sword, and random jumping.

And now in my thirties, I still have no idea what to do next, and my whole life is a Zelda temple. There’s a lot of wasted time and raging. If I had a sword, you bet I would be smashing things aimlessly.


Some bad-guy bosses take a hundred tries to beat. It just takes time to figure out the vulnerable spot to attack and when to do it.

This was training for life because we must never give up! Look for small moments to refill our hearts, and keep at it. Either that, or give into the rage-cursing and stop for a snack break.

Why do I always have to be Player Two?

As the little sister, I NEVER got to Player One. I was always a Luigi, never a Mario. Always a Diddy Kong, never a Donkey Kong. It seeps into your psyche after a while. Oh, to have that coveted player one controller.

This was perfect training for a life of feeling insecure about my worth and jealous of those around me. But what I lack in leadership ability, I make up for in quiet resentment.

I made it through the level, but I definitely missed some stuff.

No matter how many hours I poured into a level, I was never be able to collect all of the coins or find every secret. Sometimes I wanted to go back and try again, but sometimes I was just glad to survive and ready to move on.

I guess we can’t have everything in life, but I hate that feeling that maybe I am rushing and missing some little rewards. Maybe I should be chasing more coins…yes, that feels like the right takeaway here.

I’m just going to push ALL the buttons frantically

If I didn’t know what I was doing, was facing a particularly daunting opponent, or just overly excited, I had a secret weapon: The ol’ random key smash. It doesn’t work all of the time, or even most of the time. But sometimes, I accidentally achieved greatness.

If you’re at your wit’s end with life, might I suggest you just desperately smash all the buttons? Maybe you’ll come up with a cool new move. Maybe not, but you’re going to die anyway.

All is fair in love and war.

Listen, it does not matter who I am playing Mario Kart with. If I have three red shells, I will absolutely be using them all to destroy you. I’m not cutting you any slack just because you are beloved family member. That being said, I will also be extremely hurt and offended when you do not extend compassion to me. How could you? A blue shell, right before I crossed the finish line? I thought you were my friend.

This is perhaps the most important lesson of all. Listen closely, and let this sink in. In life there are no rules, except that you should definitely be nice to me all the time, or it’s super unfair.

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