Humble Beginnings to Digital Equality: A Gamer's Journey

Exploring a gamer's journey emphasizing caution around how fairness can be a huge draw BUT addiction, in addition to the benefits and connections found in gaming.


Jared Lukes

1/14/20242 min read

selective focus photography of two persons playing game in front of monitors
selective focus photography of two persons playing game in front of monitors

The Alluring Contrast of Gaming

Imagine transitioning from rural life in Mexico, where accessing drinkable water was a daily struggle, to the instant connection of pressing buttons on a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This stark contrast set the stage for my unique relationship with gaming. Unlike typical childhood video game stories, mine was deeply rooted in the disparity between my rudimentary beginnings and the advanced world of gaming.

Sporadic Forays and Deep Connections

Gaming in my life was always a sporadic affair, dictated by financial constraints and availability. Growing up in poverty, it wasn't until my young adulthood in the U.S. that I could afford my own NES, N64, etc. But what truly hooked me wasn't the games themselves; it was the connections they fostered. Delving into competitive gaming through Counter-Strike, I found friends, built communities, and even ended up as a best man at a teammate's wedding. This experience highlighted the empathetic and cognitive benefits of gaming, from understanding team dynamics in MMOs to the brain-boosting aspects of real-time strategy games.

The Unseen Appeal: Fairness in Gaming

Amidst the complexities of gaming communities and the intricacies of game mechanics, I realized a driving force: the pursuit of fairness. Especially for those of us who grew up disenfranchised or marginalized, the gaming world's emphasis on fairness is incredibly appealing. It's a space where disputes might arise over aesthetics, but the core game fairness remains sacrosanct. This principle, I believe, is a fundamental draw for many gamers.

A Level Playing Field

Reflecting on my journey from being a poor kid in Mexico to finding my place in the U.S., gaming offered something unique: an equal playing field. In a world where birthright and external circumstances often dictate one's opportunities, video games presented a realm where knowledge and skill, not background or wealth, determined success. This aspect of gaming provided a sense of fairness and opportunity rarely found in the broader societal context of the real world.

The Cautionary Tale: Balancing Digital Fairness with Real-World Challenges

While gaming offers a realm of fairness and equal opportunity, it's important to remember that real life, with all its complexities, often falls short of this ideal. Advancements like hyper-realistic robotic limbs exemplify how technology can bring a semblance of fairness to reality. Only to reveal the financial barrier of getting one.

Games, in a similar vein, provide a mental sanctuary where equality prevails. However, this digital fairness can sometimes starkly contrast with the less equitable nature of our everyday lives.

It's crucial to recognize that immersing oneself solely in the just world of gaming might lead to a detachment from reality. This detachment could, in turn, exacerbate the sense of disenfranchisement or pain stemming from real-world inequalities. While we embrace the equality gaming offers, we must also engage with and address the inherent unfairness in our daily lives. This balance is key to ensuring that our pursuit of digital fairness doesn't inadvertently deepen the disparities we face outside the gaming world.

In summary

My journey in gaming, from its contrasting beginnings to the discovery of its inherent fairness, highlights how video games can offer a unique form of equality and connection, transcending the limitations often imposed by the real world. All I know is that when I shooed my first wife out of the way of my screen as she tried to tell me she was pregnant (2002) because I was in a dungeon raid with my guild, I re-evaluated things indefinitely. If any of this hits, consider some changes in your own life.