Game Boy At 30: The First Console To Help Me Bridge The Cultural Gap

Honoring the Game Boy, which was more than just a console to me.

The Original Game Boy and its successors were the first gaming console to help me bridge the cultural gap in suburbia.

It was the link that established my personal relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Video gaming allowed us to speak a universal language, connecting us as a common community. But it also broke down society-driven conversations at a young age as well.

Often times, I was one of the only African-American kids in a classroom, on a soccer team or even in a social setting. As a mixed child, I struggled trying to find my sense of self-identity as I was growing up, which made it difficult for me to communicate effectively. How could I connect with others when it took me time to connect with myself?

But thanks to the universal language of video gaming and Game Boy’s accessibility, I finally found my answer and my voice. Whether it was playing a competitive match in Pokemon or maneuvering through dungeons in “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening”, I found a way to engage and interact with kids who may have no idea about my cultural upbringing, or I of theirs. But our passion for video gaming bridged the cultural gap, creating an environment for enlightening and educational conversations.

More often than none, these moments playing Game Boy with other kids served as some of my initial discussions with others surrounding life, relationships and race. Imagine kids teaching each other about their different religious holidays while battling Pikachu vs. Charizard, or venting to one another about various relationship issues. These were the kinds of conversations that would organically arise while playing video games in the schoolyard.

I know we’ve recently seen many conversations on video game addictions, white supremacists using video games and sexism/racism via online gameplay. There will always be negativity and bad energy wherever there is good. But what the Game Boy console did for both the gaming industry and me is something I will never forget.

It helped me socialize and interact with others I felt I originally had nothing in common with, changing my perspective on life within the confines of suburbia.

For that, we should all truly celebrate Game Boy’s 30th anniversary.

I know I will.

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