Hiroshi Yamauchi is dead. He was 85. He ran Nintendo for more than 50 years. He took Nintendo from being a traditional playing card company to a video game giant.
Thus began our downfall. The world would no doubt be a kinder gentler place today if Nintendo was still a playing card manufacturer. Who would ever dream or believe we would be put through such torturous, mind-wrenching calisthenics as was visited upon us by this great man’s genius.
I can remember when we played a board game that was just my speed. It was called Parcheesi and you gave a little toss of the dice, counted the number you threw and took that number of steps around the game board. When you got your man back around in front of you throw the exact numbers needed to walk him straight up to a safe, winning spot at the board’s center. Do this four times with all four of your playing pieces and finish ahead of your opponents and you got considerable bragging rights because you were the big winner.
You didn’t particularly win anything but you also didn’t waste valuable time counting little miniature bills of colored paper money like you did when you played Monopoly. I couldn’t stand Monopoly. You had to think about what you were doing playing Monopoly. Throwing dice and counting little mincing steps around the game board when you played Parcheesi was not stressful and that suited me fine.
Later on in life, if you had a computer whiz-child as a son, you soon learned you knew very little about his life. Not only could he teach other adults fifteen years your junior how to reach the seventh level of mystical ecstasy in a game mysteriously called “The Legend of Zelda” but you found all these game playing wizards had formed exclusive clubs. They used secret words we didn’t know and we were afraid to ask what the words meant. This was the fifty foot high brick wall we got lost behind. It was called Nintendo.
Then if you fast forward your life about thirty years, the Pinball Wizard has become a Gameboy Wizard and we were just one step away from being super-charged car thieves playing a dangerous fun and gun game called “Grand Theft Auto.” So your computer whiz-child has led you straight into a fantasy land none of the whiz-kids seem to be able to escape. Today they have a real challenge in deciding what is real and what is fantasy.
It captured us all. It was great fun to shoot the electronic pistol at the Super Mario character as he hopped along and have him jump obstacles. It was so much fun many of us ruined the pistols by playing all night, falling asleep at the trigger and drooling on the gun. It was even greater fun to play Tetris on the Gameboy. We played Tetris so many times that the inside of the Gameboy screen looked like it had been sanded with a coarse abrasive. Then the Gameboy sadly ceased to work.
And now, thanks to Hiroshi Yamauchi we all live in fantasy land. Our movies and television shows are filmed in such a jerky spasmodic way that we do not have time to focus on a scene before it is snatched from our sight. I know this is all supposed to be artistic film making but all it is doing is giving our normal consciousness and processes of memory an attention span about like that of a South Georgia gnat.
Young people are refusing to get out and see what’s real in the world. They’re too busy playing games that are totally unreal. Those of us who are older no longer recognize reality because everything we look at is filmed in jerks and twists and spasmodic twitches. Artistic cameramen make wobbly films for directors who are masters of the jarring agitation because good stable, steady story lines are very hard to find. They have lost the ability to tell a good old-fashioned story. They make bouncy, quivering, shuddering movies which keep us perpetually out of focus.
It has the same effect on us that staring at a strobe light has on an epileptic. Few of us are much aware of our true surroundings these days and I contend that it is not so much Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimers that we should fear. We should be frightened by the people making movies and computer games that are causing the same symptoms in us as those in Parkinson’s and Alzheimers patients.
All this vibrating, convulsing and jiggling is nothing more than sight pollution of the worst kind. It has left us totally out of touch with our true surroundings. A scary thought is the people who are doing this to us are simultaneously doing it to themselves.
It is fitting to note that Hiroshi Yamauchi was said to care little about major league baseball but he agreed to buy the Seattle Mariners so they would be able to remain in Seattle. Otherwise they would have probably wound up in Florida. I suspect he understood what baseball has done for America (and Japan). He might even agree with me about the ill effects movies and computer games have on us all.
Probably not……..as of April of this year his net worth was estimated at $2.1 billion…… and buddy that ain’t peanuts…..or Cracker Jacks…..or baseball.