Get a snack, sip on that coffee, kick back and relax. It’s time for our EarlyGame Talk.
For this EarlyGame Talk, I wanted to write on violence in video games and the debates surrounding it. I didn’t want it to be a serious downer and realized that the nature of the topic made references and jokes a bit tricky. A bit more sensitive. So I chose to postpone that topic and decided to share a letter I received. It’s a letter from a public figure who asked me to use this platform to voice his words. A letter from someone whose life has been marred by video game violence and the pitfalls that come with it. It’s emotional. It’s raw.
Here it goes:
This is a letter of apology. I am sorry. Sorry for so many things.
Where do I start? Oh boy, it’s hard. Maybe, I’ll just start at the beginning: You might know me, you might not. You might adore or admire me… you might not. I’m writing this as part of my twelve-step program to becoming a better man. A better brother. A better plumber. A better friend. A better lover. Let’s start with the latter, becoming a better lover. To my beloved princess, I apologize.
Not for my feelings towards you, not for my love. No, never that. But for my jealousy. I realize now that it was nothing but insecurity. You are a princess. Your place is in castles, not constantly at the side of a lowly plumber like myself. I couldn’t wrap my head around it: A plumber like me and a princess like you? I mean… I was insecure and thought that I wasn’t enough for you.
Then I heard these rumors about you and Bowser and... I was overcome with jealousy. There is no way to right this wrong, just please know that it started from a place of love. A love so large and so big that I would’ve set kingdoms on fire for you. And I might have just as well. Oh god… the bodies I left in my wake… unforgivable. Just thinking about it gives me flashbacks and shivers.
The sounds of all those goombas and their heads flattening under my leather boots. It haunts me to this day. This does not make up for the lives that were lost, but it’s the price I pay. The burden I shoulder. It was just... Peach, the thought of you and Bowser… I couldn’t let anything stand between you and me. Or rather, my jealousy couldn’t.
And the mushrooms… they didn’t help. They only furthered my illusions. My delusions. My hallucinations. My addiction soon knew no limits. I literally slammed my head into brick if I thought I could get shroom out of it. The mushrooms just made me feel larger than life. Like I was on fire and unstoppable. My brother tried to talk some sense into me, but he’d always been green with envy, so I passed it off as nothing.
Which brings me to you, Luigi. My brother. I am sorry. I was never aware of how much living in your older brother’s shadow hurt you. How much you needed me. I always thought you were seeking my approval and attention. That’s why, even when you opened up and told me about your haunted mansion, I passed it off as another one of your schemes.
To be quite honest, I thought that maybe you’d found your way to some mushrooms yourself. Truth be told: Your haunted mansion stories sure sounded like one of the hallucinations I’d have. I should’ve taken the time to listen. To really listen. You’re the only brother I have. The only brother I’ll ever have. I apologize.
There are so many apologies that are long overdue. So many people I’ve wronged. One got it worse than all the others: Donkey. My friend. I call you that now, but it wasn’t always that way. I shouldn’t have treated you the way I did. The things I’ve called you… monkey, ape… You have to understand that I come from a small Italian village where I was never exposed to much… color and fur.
I realize now that my actions were racist and wrong. When I came after you on all those towers… I remember the beer kegs you threw at me in a drunken rage. I was on my mushrooms and you were boozed up, emptying keg after keg. I caused that in you. I didn’t realize then that every empty keg you threw my way was a cry for attention, a cry for help. I’m just happy that we found a group of friends who were there for you when I wasn’t.
This one is probably the most embarrassing. I don’t know what was going through my mind. Throwing bananas and turtle shells at all of you while we were driving? At my friends!? No mushroom high can justify my behaviour. The countless turtles that gave their lives for those shells and my insanity… I’m ashamed.
I was a fool and endangered you all. The need for speed got over me and I know this is hard to believe, but my mind was so gone from the mushrooms that I actually saw us racing on rainbow roads. Yes, rainbow roads. It was a trip to me, but reality to you. What a gruesome reality it must’ve been. To all of you, Toad, Wario, Rosalina… I apologize. I thought I was a star. Invincible even. In fact, I had a melody playing in my head at times, not realizing how reckless I was weaving through and against oncoming traffic. Rest assured: I’ve since retaken safe driving tests and I promise you that I am now off the shrooms and this will never happen again. I will be a better friend to you all.
And last but not least… Yoshi. You were never just a pet, you were my best friend. You stood by my side at all times. Accompanied me on my jealousy-induced rage trips through different kingdoms just to try and get Peach back. And what did I do? I rode you, I jumped off you and let you pummel to your death, down pits, cliffs and into dangerous waters. I selfishly jumped off you and left you behind like a stepping stone. I realize now that I needed you to reach heights I couldn’t reach without you. Not to forget the damage I must’ve done to your back and your spine over time. Despite all this, you remained so jovial, so friendly, so kind. Your kindness I will never be able to repay. I can only thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do.
I hope you all know this apology comes from the heart. To everybody out there: Say no to drugs. Stay away from the mushrooms and focus on what’s important: Your friends, love and your true calling. Ground yourself and work from there. For me that grounded place will be my profession. Finally, I will become a better plumber and functioning member of society, aware that I’m not invincible like I thought I was. I am just another guy like you and that’s ok. Awareness of the self starts with remembering who you truly are. And bringing your A-game.
Ok wow. Every word uttered by me can only sour the moment here, so I’ll leave it at that.
Next week we will take a broader look at violence in video games and why your kid was destined for life in jail when it picked up Pokemon. I mean, it’s essentially dog-fighting! Do video games know no limits? We’ll find out next week.
Until then, here are old EarlyGame Talks to tide you over: