When video games come into a conversation, most people think about the violence they spread or how they are a huge waste of time. However, when I hear “video games” come up in conversation, I think of what I’ve learned from all of them.

Growing up, my favorite video game franchise was “Pokémon” and when the first movie came out, I walked out with one of the best lessons I had ever learned.

“Pokémon: The First Movie” is about natural and human-made creations. The Pokémon in this movie face off against evil clones of themselves. However, Meowth, a member of Team Rocket, decides to talk to his clone instead of fighting.

“How can I trust you? You was born different,” Meowth says.

After hearing this, his clone makes a comment on how they have so much in common, to which the original Meowth responds:

“You’re right, we do have a lot in common. The same earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what’s the same instead of always looking at what’s different, well, who knows?”

To me, this speaks loud and clear. In today’s age, it is easy to look at someone and see what is different about them. Maybe they have different colored eyes, different clothes or a different skin color. Whatever the case may be, the differences people have with each other always seem to take a priority when there’s so much we do have in common! The same hobbies, favorite TV shows or even the same God. It’s just like Meowth said; if we started focusing on what we have in common instead of using our differences to disagree, maybe we could start to move away from racism, sexism, classism and so many other horrible issues in our society.  

Another video game franchise that has taught me a lot was “The Legend of Zelda” series. These games taught me that everyone has something valuable to say.

Both game series show this in the same way. You may need to speak to someone to advance in the game. You may need to talk to them to find secret items. You may have to ask them for directions. Nonplayable characters (NPC’s), from “The Legend of Zelda” and “Pokémon” games range in color, size, age, gender and so many other factors. I believe this reflects our world perfectly.

Our world is filled with many different cultures. So many in fact, it can be a little overwhelming to keep up with them all. So instead of talking to each other, people decided to shut out those who were different. In times like these, I have learned that we all have something valuable to say. I have learned so much from expanding my horizons and speaking to people who come from different places. My Cuban roommate has taught me about cooking, a Hawaiian friend has taught me how to engage with their style of dance and a professor from Nigeria has helped me become the writer I am today. Attempting to make friends with someone who comes from a different place has worked out greatly for me. Who is to say it won’t work out for you? They could lead you into a new outlook on life or you may meet the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. An endless amount of possibilities can come from one small and simple action: listening to others. We all have something to say.  

One of my favorite video game genres is open world games. “Minecraft” and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” are examples of this genre where there is a whole different world to discover. While discovering the pre-generated world is exciting and fun, exploring the physical world you live in is much more fun.

Earth is a place filled with many exciting places, from the loud cities of Los Angeles and New York to the quiet and calm farmland of the low desert (Coachella, Indio, etc.). Whatever your personality may be, there’s a place in the world to match and I encourage you to set out on a journey to find it.

You may be able to find your place in ways you may have never considered. Explore the world by going on an Action Team, or on a trip with Mexico Outreach or even studying abroad. This upcoming summer, I will be exploring the world on an Action Team to the Philippines. Whatever you choose, pick a place you have never been to or have been wanting to go to; you may find something worth your while.

Finally, one last thing video games have taught me is that a little relaxation time never hurt anyone.

College life can be a stressful thing. Myself and many others find relaxation in video games. Whether I am peacefully exploring the world of Minecraft or working on becoming the next Pokémon master, video games help me destress.

Though video games have cost me hours of sleep, more stress on assignments then necessary and huge dents in my wallet, I still value my relationship with them. Video games have been an outlet for me for as long as I can remember. I am proud to say that the video games I played growing up—and still play—have helped me become the person I am today.