the past
year, I’ve experienced many changes. I’ve changed jobs, bought my first house
and got married. Its times like these you go back and reflect upon the life and
the moments where you realize that life as you define it, has been altered and
that you can never go back. It was around this time five years ago that I had
one of those moments.

I’ve been a
gamer for most of my life, during which I have developed a degree of
proficiency at video games. Growing up, I was the first in my group of friends
to beat Zelda, (first and second quests), the first to do a fatality on the
Genesis version of Mortal Kombat and so on and so forth.

Through the years, I had
gained a certain confidence about my gaming skills. I believed that I had a
shot of beating anyone, anytime, anywhere. For me, gaming was my thing. But
maybe calling it my thing isn’t descriptive enough. Gaming drove me. This was
amplified in college when my roommate was a former Nintendo World Championship
Tournament participant. It was a constant reminder of my passion.

When I won, the
world was great. When I lost, it was followed by a patented controller smash. I
wanted to be the best, I had to be the best. It defined me. Hell, I even kept a
running record of Goldenye 64 competitions against my old roommate. I can’t
tell you much about my 367 wins, but I can tell you the times of my 3 defeats. However,
my gaming world was irrevocably altered about five years ago.

Five years ago I was a law
student at Arizona State University, living a modest existence. One day, as I
did often, I ventured down to Fry’s to browse around. When I walked in, I saw a
54" HDTV with the new Super Smash Bros. Melee on display. Seeing that I
had nothing better to do, I began to play. About 30 seconds into the game, a
ten-year old girl, wearing pink corduroy overalls with a sunflower in the
middle, came over and asked "you wanna play against me?"

I’ll never
forget her innocent smile. While the nice guy inside said "let her
win," the other 99% of me screamed "crush her soul!” The original plan
was to let her get a win the first round, but in the end to ultimately dispatch
her. My competitive streak wouldn’t accept anything else. So we began our

My plan,
however, never came to be. This innocent little girl, playing as the Princess Peach,
no less, was whipping my ass across the screen as if I told her that Dora the
Explorer had given me VD. It was the worst beating I had ever taken in my life
at a video game and it was by a 10 year old girl, in front of a gathering crowd.
After my 10 minute thrashing and the applause from the miserable fuckers that surrounded
us, I put down the controller, put my hands up signalling "I don’t know
what happened," congratulated the future whore and blindly wandered around
the store for 10 minutes before finally leaving. It was at that moment I knew
that my life had changed.

Now that some time has passed
I view that moment a bit of a release. I don’t mind the fact that when my wife
asks “you want to play Tetris,” it’s the equivilent of her asking “you care if
I strap it on and give it to you?” I still love video games and always will.
But now I don’t take gaming as seriously. Its not the be all – end all of my
existance, just a massive source of entertainment. And for that I will be
always grateful to that innocent girl with the pink overalls. Bitch.