Video games have been a small, but influential, part of my life since that day my mom brought home the original Nintendo. Maybe the small thrill I still get out of video games is because I was the first kid I knew to have a Nintendo and play Super Mario Bros. despite the fact I had a single mom busting her ass at work just to make sure we had clothes on and were fed at night.
Oftentimes, nowadays, I will come home from work and just want to veg out with a cocktail and play an hour of video games. It’s rather relaxing and helps ease my mind.
And, of all the years I’ve been playing, first, a PlayStation 2 and now a PlayStation 3, something just occurred to me last night.
I no longer get Nintendo thumb.
Of course I don’t have marathon RBI Baseball tournaments or Super Mario Saturday’s with my friends anymore, so perhaps the 12-hour days of trying to capture the princess have allowed my left thumb to become soft and fleshy.
But, when running around the field with Tim Tebow last night, I finally realized the purpose of the joysticks on the PlayStation – and XBox – controllers.
I only thought they were for shooter games and potentially making shifty moves in Madden with a running back; or to rock and fire with a pitcher and move around the protagonist in an adventure game.
For years and years when I played Madden, I used the + on the controller to move my men around the field. Old habits die hard, I suppose. Yet, last night when I scrambled around with Tebow, I started using the joystick liberally.
It was like the first time I heard The Beatles.
No more shoots of pain in my thumb. Had I played until dawn, my thumb would be ready for a Super Mario Saturday. I would not need a bandage just to do mundane things as the blister would form from dominating my console.
Stupidly, I always thought the joystick was there to flip back and forth while waiting for your game to load, or to line up your kicks in Madden, or select things during pauses in action games.
Now I know that not only have the graphics of games gotten better, the actual controller has helped erase the weekend pain of Nintendo thumb.
Yeah, it’s only been about 10 years since I have been using one of these controllers, so maybe in the next decade I’ll be able to properly use the Internet, understand the advantage of HDTV and how to appropriately download apps on my smart phone.
As I said … old habits die hard.
RIP Nintendo thumb.