Learning by gaming (or how Ocarina of Time changed my life)

Discussion in 'Heart of the Revolution' started by The_bad_who, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. The_bad_who

    The_bad_who Novice

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    I was pretty much born with a controller in my hands. I always say that being born in 1985 automatically makes me a Mario baby. My parents were not rich folks, but saw how I always stopped in front of the TVs displaying Super Mario Bros. in the store even at a young age. One fateful Christmas, I did receive an NES with the classic Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt, along with the zapper. I spent countless hours playing those, not knowing what to actually do until I got better with practice. I never had any other games and no friends with an NES to let me borrow theirs, so I kept playing the same ones, ultimately losing interest in it. One day, in the schoolbus, a kid told me about a game called The Legend Of Zelda. I did not know what it was and he let me have it for a night to make me discover the thing. I did not like it.

    You see, I did not speak a word of english back then. I'm a french speaking guy from Montreal, Québec and english was not spoken anywhere near me. For sure, looking at it now, the original Zelda really does not require much reading, but it felt like a huge obstacle back then. I never had any other game that needed me to understand what I was doing, like Final Fantasy for example.

    My parents had to skip buying me the SNES as their financial situation did not improve much and it was A LOT more expensive in Canada. So again, no Final Fantasy 3, Earthbound, Zelda Link To The Past etc. My best friend had one, but we only played games like Mortal Kombat, Star Fox, Mario World and such, learning to play by playing.

    Then came a revolution in my life : The Nintendo 64. I was blown away after playing Mario 64 the first time. I just couldn't fathom what was before my eyes. I quickly started investing in it, gathering money to buy one and to buy games. I was mowing lawns and raking leaves at my neighbor' house to get money to buy all of this and a subscription to Nintendo Power. Life was good. Then I read about that game, The Legend Of Zleda : Ocarina of Time. That same feeling I had after playing Mario 64 came back just by looking at the pictures on the glossy pages. I wanted this game...no...I NEEDED this game.

    No need for suspense here, I got it for Christmas the same year. I was beautiful ; The golden cartridge. I popped it in and...couldn't understand a thing! Who's that fairy? Who's that green girl? Why is Link a small boy? I immediately went to my dad for help. He sat down with me, translating every single line of dialogue as I made my way though the dungeons. It worked for a while, but one day, when school and work resumed he just couldn't sit down every time with me. I was devastated. Seeing me like this, my dad told me : "Try to figure out what they say and come see me or write down the word you don't know". I did, while not very enthusiastically. Little by little, question by question, I finished the game without him, getting stuck sometime because I did not know where to go, but with a pride I never felt before.

    Then, year by year, game by game, I slowly learned english, discovering it through all sorts of scenarios and experiences, though the N64 and, later on, the PS2. I played so many games, learned so much through them all that I ended up being one of the best student at english classes, even being asked if my parents were speaking it when I was a kid. I always proudly said : "No, I just played a lot of videogames!". Needless to say not everyone believed me.

    Now, almost 20 years later, I can say the Ocarina of Time not only was the greatest gaming experience I had, but it also changed my life. I taught me a new language that opened a lot of doors for me even now at age 32, but it also taught me of to persevere and always try, that nothing can't be done by trying and failing, and trying again. It showed me that confidence in myself can make me achieve what seems impossible at first and trusting my instinct when reaching an obstacle to get over it.

    Some years ago, my dad was playing Candy Crush on his tablet, and I looked at him, realizing of did not know some of the things he could do when combining candies and making chains or combos. I told him he was not playing right and he looked at me saying : "I'm playing this game for months, I know how to play!". After arguing a bit, I popped the tutorial adn showed him, then he told me : "Haaaa! This screen popped up, but I was not sure what it meant, so I closed it". I was basically translating a part of the game to him that he did not understand at first! I told myself that sometimes, life does go full circle. Life is good.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  2. Master_Craig

    Master_Craig Forum Moderator
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    Goddamn, man. That's an awesome story.

    I think it's incredible that you learned English (probably the most difficult language in the world) by video games. When I read your story, it honestly reads from someone who can speak and write English as a first language.

    Incredibly impressive. Well done. :)
     
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  3. MattAY

    MattAY Forum Moderator
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    Ha nice work!
    Ocarina of Time was a hard game, especially when practically in another language!
     
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  4. The_bad_who

    The_bad_who Novice

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    It was! People mostly say the Water Temple was the hardest, but to me, Gerudo Valley, not knowing what the word "stealth" meant, it was sooo frustrating! Luckily, I had my Nintendo Powers with pictured walkthough, but some details can't be communicated with pictures!
     
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  5. MattAY

    MattAY Forum Moderator
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    Oh Gerudo Valley was just a pain in the ass!!
     
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