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How Video Games Changed Me

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With hairpins jabbing into my brain, an assistant director yelling "Hold the noise!" and a vegan Rice Krispie Treat sitting on the edge of my keyboard that may have actually been a prop, I'm writing this from the set of an independent film—a project that never would have found me if it hadn't been for video games.

In fact, every acting project on my schedule for the next three months is the result of my involvement with games and, essentially, my love for them. I normally would never say something this sappy, so maybe it's just the animal-free dessert bar talking, but video games have absolutely changed my life.


And if you're on Kotaku reading this, they've probably changed yours, too.

Think about it: Have you ever scheduled gaming into your life in a completely serious way?


"Okay, I'll have half an hour between work and fondue with mom. That's not enough time for a Warcraft raid, but I can definitely fit in a Portal puzzle. But dammit, I'm so close to finishing Shadows of the Damned …Eh, mom and her cheese can wait."

Or how about canceled important events on release dates for highly anticipated games so you could stay home and play all day? What did you do at house parties before Rock Band came along?

I can't even imagine my life without games; they've become such a huge part of my daily routine, thought process, and sense of humor. Here's a look into the drastic ways video games have changed my life—and hopefully the boom mic in the next room doesn't pick up my typing sounds:

ME MINUS GAMESIn a world without video games… let's just hope I wouldn't be curing cancer or something.

If there's one way to define gaming, it's "small victories." Completing a video game isn't exactly a life hurdle that you'll cover in a memoir, but having completed each challenge sure gives you a feeling of satisfaction. I think that's what my life would lack without video games-–the challenges, the victories, that feeling of saving the world. Plus, my coordination and reaction time would suffer, my puzzle-solving skills would be slim to nil, and I never would have realized my full potential to fit things into other things, specifically colored blocks.

I also would have never punched that dent into my grandma's basement wall. Haven't played Pong since.


The Projects: Gamers seem to flock together like fifth grade girls in the cafeteria. Clearly we have some sort of pheromone that emanates from our pores allowing other gamers to sniff us out. No matter what the setting, I'll always find myself locating and socializing with the other gamers in the room. It's some kind of real-life Minesweeper.

It's no secret that like-minded people love working together, and being somewhat of a public nerd/dork/Monkey Island enthusiast, I've been lucky enough to have some amazing up-and-coming filmmakers seek me out and send me scripts for their video-game related projects. The one I'm currently filming is a movie called "Your Friends Close" and after that, I'll be involved with a web series based on a very popular RPG. If you're sneaky and have access to Google, you can probably figure out what it is. (And no, it's not a live-action Quest 64. Why won't anyone give that idea a chance?!)


One of the most fun opportunities so far, however, has been working with Twisted Pixel Games. They were awesome enough to let me voice the tutorial of Ms. Splosion Man, plus appear in the game in picture-form for the 2 Girls, 1 Controller mode–-and I definitely hope to work with them again in the future.

If I hadn't been a gamer, there's no way any of these opportunities would have found me.


The Boys: "OMG, Becky, did you SEE his perfect Turbo Tunnel run in Battletoads? HOT." Perhaps the biggest toll video games have taken on my life–-in a completely fantastic way-–is the fact that I cannot date non-gamers. I can't do it. Call me elitist, call me superficial, but video game ignorance is grotesquely unattractive. If a guy even hints at never playing Uncharted or not knowing who Tim Schafer is, it's like he's wearing a giant neon sign on his head that reads, "I AM NOT A FUN PERSON AND WON'T GET ANY OF YOUR JOKES." He could be the most entertaining, hilarious, up-for-anything guy on the planet… but if he can't mow me down with a sawed-off shotgun in a versus match, in the words of Liz Lemon, that's a deal-breaker.


The Observations: Gaming has sunk so deep into my brain like a lobotomy drill that I can't help but see video game references everywhere I go. This happened most severely during my time experiencing "Tetris Effect," a disorder that, quite literally, made me envision Tetris combinations in my sleep and day-to-day life due to my excessive gameplay. That was also when I lost a large chunk of friends and frequently hissed at the sun.


Last week, I was on a bus full of people, but the only thing I noticed was a hipster in the corner playing a GameBoy Color. Who plays GameBoy Colors anymore?! (Answer: Hipsters.) An hour later, I saw a teenager in a black hoodie near a dumpster and all I could think to yell was, "HUNTER! Quick, grab a Molotov!" Yesterday I was behind a car that said Interceptor III, and I wondered if the ‘III' was how many lives he had left. Each time I dial my mom's phone number, I notice the first five keypad beeps are the first five notes of the Final Fantasy IX theme song. My GPS's model name is "Nuvi," but I call it "Navi" since it's equally as annoying.

It never ends.


Favorite example: The last time I was with my mother, I saw this fountain in a parking lot and yelled, "MOM! IT'S THE MARKER." She was clearly not cool enough to get the reference and my amazing video game humor was lost on her. …I guess my mom hates Dead Space 2.

The Music: Again, thanks to video games, my newest obsession is chipmusic. OBLIGATORY STATEMENT: I fully realize chip musicians are talented artists that really have nothing to do with video games and should not necessarily be associated with gaming in any way out of fear their art will be seen as a gimmick, i.e. "It's like Mario at a rave!"


…But who am I kidding? The reason I discovered and fell in love with chipmusic is because the genre reminds me of growing up with Mega Man, Castlevania, and Xexyz. THAT'S RIGHT, XEXYZ. Musicians like Anamanaguchi, Trash80, and Bit Shifter have infiltrated my iPod, ringtones, and even morning alarm. Yes, now I even wake up to the sweet beeps and boops from GameBoys and NESs that remind me of 8-bit adventures.


Ever since I first sneaked into my brother's room to play his SNES and got a yellow GameBoy Pocket for Christmas in ‘96, games have been more than just a hobby – they've been a way of life. In fact, as soon as I close this laptop, I'm going to play Mario Kart DS until I'm called to set. Who cares about memorizing lines when there's a 150cc Mushroom Cup to win?


Don't tell the director I said that.

Kotaku columnist Lisa Foiles is best known as the former star of Nickelodeon's award-winning comedy show, All That. She currently works as an actress/web host in Hollywood and writes for her game site, Save Point. For more info, visit Lisa's official website.