Love plus Japanese dating game (NDS): when love is just a game

With the advancement of technology people do not need to work extra hard to get a girlfriend. It is just one Nintendo DS away.

Love plus Japanese dating game on Nintendo DS

Love plus Japanese dating game is “insanely popular” among the boys, both single and taken, which features virtual girlfriend that can be taken anywhere.

You can kiss her (by kissing your NDS screen), pat her, touch her (using the stick), and do everything that couples do. Heck, you can even marry her.

The Sydney Morning Herald paper says:

“I’m so happy so many people were able to witness this,” SAL9000, the man who married his virtual girlfriend, wrote in a letter to tech culture blog, calling it a milestone in his life.

“Some people have expressed doubts about my actions, but at the end of the day, this is really just about us as husband and wife. As long as the two of us can go on to create a happy household, I’m sure any misgivings about us will be resolved.

“The two of us hope to continue to let our love for each other grow as time goes on.”

While the game is said to train the boys on how to treat women, the extent on which it helps is still questionable.

For me? I am glad that the game is only released in Japanese language. I am grateful that he doesn’t own a Nintendo DS (not that he would play the game anyway). And considering the pros and cons, I would never give my consent for him to play this game, ever.


I think one needs to know where to draw the line between fantasy and real world.

And for the girlfriends who give permission for their boyfriends to play this game? Their call. I, for one, wouldn’t want to share his love with anything. Love is not for sale. It’s especially not bought by playing games.

A virtual girlfriend? Seriously?

Wouldn’t he compare? To a virtual girlfriend that’s more timid, more perfect, more beautiful, more handy – a girlfriend that’s able to be carried around on his pocket to anywhere?

Wouldn’t his eyes transfixed towards a screen? Wouldn’t half of his time taken away?

Wouldn’t the game poison his mind?

Or so I believe.

If normal video games can do harm to humans, so does a dating game. Plus, it deals with his emotional side. The damage, if present, is unimaginable. He can even marry his virtual girlfriend, go to honeymoon, and…

I know some people would say that, “It’s just a game.” But I wouldn’t want him to play with fire.

Will you allow your partner to have a virtual girlfriend?


60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile

Previously published on marcandangel. Written by Marc.

Here’s a selection of 60 tiny love stories recently submitted to our sister site, Makes Me Think, that not only made us think, but warmed our hearts and made us smile too.  We hope they do the same for you.

  1. Today, my 75-year-old grandpa who has been blind from cataracts for almost 15 years said to me, “Your grandma is just the most beautiful thing, isn’t she?” I paused for a second and said, “Yes she is. I bet you miss seeing that beauty on a daily basis.” “Sweety,” my grandpa said, “I still see her beauty every day. In fact, I see it more now than I used to when we were young.” MMT
  2. Today, I walked my daughter down the aisle. Ten years ago I pulled a 14 year old boy out of his mom’s fire-engulfed SUV after a serious accident. Doctors initially said he would never walk again. My daughter came with me several times to visit him at the hospital. Then she started going on her own. Today, seeing him defy the odds and smile widely, standing on his own two feet at the altar as he placed a ring on my daughter’s finger MMT.
  3. Today, I walked up to the door of my office (I’m a florist) at 7AM to find a uniformed Army soldier standing out front waiting. He was on his way to the airport to go to Afghanistan for a year. He said, “I usually bring home a bouquet of flowers for my wife every Friday and I don’t want to let her down when I’m away.” He then placed an order for 52 Friday afternoon deliveries of flowers to his wife’s office and asked me to schedule one for each week until he returns. I gave him a 50% discount because it made my day to see something so sweet. MMT
  4. Today, I told my 18 year old grandson that nobody asked me to prom when I was in high school, so I didn’t attend. He showed up at my house this evening dressed in a tuxedo and took me as his date to his prom. MMT
  5. Today, when she woke up from an eleven month coma, she kissed me and said, “Thank you for being here, and telling me those beautiful stories, and never giving up on me… And yes, I will marry you.” MMT
  6. Today, I was sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich for lunch when an elderly couple pulled their car up under a nearby oak tree. They rolled down the windows and turned up some jazz music on the radio. Then the man got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door for the woman, took her hand and helped her out of her seat, guided her about ten feet away from the car, and they slow danced for the next half hour under the oak tree. MMT
  7. Today, I operated on a little girl. She needed O- blood. We didn’t have any, but her twin brother has O- blood. I explained to him that it was a matter of life and death. He sat quietly for a moment, and then said goodbye to his parents. I didn’t think anything of it until after we took his blood and he asked, “So when will I die?” He thought he was giving his life for hers. Thankfully, they’ll both be fine. MMT
  8. Today, my dad is the best dad I could ask for. He’s a loving husband to my mom (always making her laugh), he’s been to every one of my soccer games since I was 5 (I’m 17 now), and he provides for our family as a construction foreman. This morning when I was searching through my dad’s toolbox for a pliers, I found a dirty folded up paper at the bottom. It was an old journal entry in my dad’s handwriting dated exactly one month before the day I was born. It reads, “I am eighteen years old, an alcoholic who is failing out of college, a past cutter, and a child abuse victim with a criminal record of auto theft. And next month, ‘teen father’ will be added to the list. But I swear I will make things right for my little girl. I will be the dad I never had.” And I don’t know how he did it, but he did it. MMT
  9. Today, my 8-year-old son hugged me and said, “You are the best mom in the whole entire world!” I smiled and sarcastically replied, “How do you know that? You haven’t met every mom in the whole entire world.” My son squeezed me tighter and said, “Yes I have. You are my world.” MMT
  10. Today, I have an elderly patient who is suffering from a severe case of Alzheimer’s. He can rarely remember his own name, and he often forgets where he is and what he said just a few minutes beforehand. But by the stretch of some miracle (perhaps the miracle of love), he remembers who is wife is every morning when she shows up to spend a few hours with him. He usually greets her by saying, “Hello my beautiful Kate.” MMT
  11. Today, my 21 year old Labrador can barely stand up, can’t see, can’t hear, and doesn’t have enough strength to bark. But it doesn’t stop her from wagging her tail a mile a minute every single time I walk into the room. MMT
  12. Today is our 10th anniversary, but since my husband and I are both recently unemployed we agreed not to get each other any gifts. When I woke up this morning, my husband was already up. I walked downstairs to find beautiful wild flowers brilliantly arranged all over the house. There must be 400 flowers total and he didn’t spend a dime. MMT
  13. Today, my high school boyfriend, who I thought I’d never see again, showed me the pictures of the two of us he kept in his Army helmet while he was overseas for the last 8 years. MMT
  14. Today, my 88-year-old grandmother and her 17 year old cat are both blind. My grandmother’s guide dog leads my grandmother around the house, which is normal. But lately, he’s been guiding her cat around the house too. When her cat meows, he walks up and rubs against her, and then she follows directly behind him to her food, to the litter box, to the other end of the house for a nap, etc. MMT
  15. Today, I watched in horror through the kitchen window as my 2-year-old slipped and fell head first into the pool. But before I could get to her, our Labrador Retriever, Rex, jumped in after her, grabbed her by her shirt collar and pulled her to the shallow steps where she could stand. MMT
  16. Today, my older brother has donated bone marrow 16 times to help treat my cancer. He communicates directly with my doctor and does it without me even asking or knowing when he has an appointment. And today my doctor informed me that the treatment appears to be working. “Cancer cells have been drastically reduced in the last few months.” MMT
  17. Today, I was driving home with my grandfather when he suddenly made a u-turn and said, “I forgot to get your grandmother a bouquet of flowers. I’ll pick up one from the florist at the corner down here. It’ll only take a second.” “What’s so special about today that you have to buy her flowers?” I asked. “There’s nothing specifically special about today,” my grandfather said. “Every day is special. Your grandmother loves flowers. They put a smile on her face.” MMT
  18. Today, I re-read the suicide letter I wrote on the afternoon of September 2nd 1996 about two minutes before my girlfriend showed up at my door and told me, “I’m pregnant.” Suddenly I felt I had a reason to live. Today she’s my wife. We’ve been happily married for 14 years. And my daughter, who is almost 15 now, has two younger brothers. I re-read my suicide letter from time to time as a reminder to be thankful – I am thankful I got a second chance at life and love. MMT
  19. Today, and every day for the last two months since I returned to school with burn scars on my face after being hospitalized for nearly a month for injuries I sustained in a house fire, a red rose was taped to my locker when I got to school in the morning. I have no clue who is getting to school early and leaving me these roses. I’ve even arrived early myself a few times to try to figure it out, but each time the rose was already there. MMT
  20. Today was the 10 year anniversary of my dad’s passing. When I was a kid he used to hum a short melody to me as I was going to sleep. When I was 18, as he rested in his hospital bed fighting cancer, the roles were reversed and I hummed the melody to him. I haven’t heard that melody since, until last night. My fiancé and I were turned on our sides looking at each other in bed when he started humming it to me. His mom used to hum it to him when he was a kid. MMT
  21. Today, a woman who must have her voicebox removed due to cancer is enrolled in my sign language class. Her husband, four children, two sisters, brother, mother, father, and twelve close friends are also enrolled in the same class so they can communicate with her after she loses her ability to speak aloud. MMT
  22. Today, my 11-year-old son speaks fluent sign language because his best friend, Josh, who he grew up with from the time he was an infant, is deaf. Seeing their genuine friendship evolve and grow over the years MMT.
  23. Today, due to Alzheimer’s and dementia, my grandfather usually can’t remember who my grandmother is when he wakes up in the morning. It bothered my grandmother a year ago when it first happened, but now she’s fully supportive of his condition. In fact, she plays a game every day in which she tries to get my grandfather to ask her to re-marry him before dinnertime. She hasn’t failed yet. MMT
  24. Today, my dad passed away from natural causes at the age of 92. I found his body resting peacefully in the recliner in his bedroom. In his lap, facing upright, were three framed 8×10 photographs of my mom who passed away about 10 years ago. She was the love of his life, and apparently the last thing he wanted to see before he passed. MMT
  25. Today, I am the proud mom of a blind 17-year-old boy. Although my son was born without his sense of sight, it hasn’t stopped him from being a straight A student, a guitarist (whose band just surpassed 25,000 downloads of their first album), and a loving boyfriend to his long-term girlfriend, Valerie. Just today, his younger sister asked him what he likes about Valerie, and he said, “Everything. She’s beautiful.” MMT
  26. Today, I waited on an elderly couple. The way they looked at each other… you could see they were in love. When the husband mentioned that they were celebrating their anniversary, I smiled and said, “Let me guess. You two have been together forever.” They laughed and the wife said, “Actually, no, today is our 5 year anniversary. We both outlived our spouses and then life blessed us with one more shot at love.” MMT
  27. Today, my father found my little sister alive, chained up in a barn. She was abducted near Mexico City almost 5 months ago. Authorities stopped actively searching for her a few weeks later. My mom and I laid her soul to rest. We had a funeral for her last month. All of our family and friends attended the ceremony except my father. Instead he kept looking for her. He said he “loved her too much to give up.” And she’s back home now because he never did. MMT
  28. Today, there are two senior boys at my school who have an openly gay relationship. They have experienced verbal humiliation on a daily basis for the last two years, yet they continue to hold each other’s hand in the hallways. Despite threats and vandalized lockers, they showed up to prom this evening wearing matching tuxedos. Seeing them on the dance floor, smiling from ear to ear in spite of all the haters MMT.
  29. Today, my sister and I were in a bad car accident. My sister is Mrs. Popular at school – she knows everyone. I’m a bit of an introvert – I hang-out with the same 2 girls all the time. My sister immediately posted a comment on Facebook about our accident. And while all her friends were commenting, my 2 friends showed up independently at the scene of the accident before the paramedics arrived. MMT
  30. Today, my fiancé returned home from his last tour of duty overseas. Yesterday he was just my boyfriend, or so I thought. Almost a year ago, he mailed me a package. He told me I wasn’t allowed to open it until he got home in two weeks. But then his tour got extended for another 11 months. Today, when he got home, he told me to open the package, and just as I pulled the ring out of the box, he got down on one knee. MMT
  31. Today, my 12-year-old son, Sean, and I stopped by the nursing home together for the first time in several months. Usually I come alone see my mother who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. When we walked into the lobby, the nurse said, “Hi, Sean!” and then buzzed us in. “How does she know your name?” I asked. “Oh, I swing by here on my walk home from school all the time to say hi to Grandma,” Sean said. I had no idea. MMT
  32. Today, I found an old hand written note my mom wrote when she was a senior in high school. On it is a list of qualities she hoped she would someday find in a boyfriend. The list is basically an exact description of my dad, who she didn’t meet until she was 27. MMT
  33. Today, I’ve been chemistry lab partners with one of the most beautiful (and popular) girls at our school since the beginning of the school year. And although I never would have had the courage to talk to her otherwise, she’s totally down to earth and sweet. We spend our time in the lab chatting, laughing, and getting A’s (she’s smart too), and just recently we started talking a little bit outside of class too. Last week when I heard that she didn’t have a date to our homecoming dance, I desperately wanted to ask her, but chickened out every time I was about to. Then this afternoon, at lunchtime, she ran up to me and formally asked me to ask her to the dance. So I did, and she kissed me on the cheek and said, “Yes!” MMT
  34. Today, on our 10th anniversary, she handed me a suicide note she wrote when she was 22, on the exact day we met. And she said, “For all these years I didn’t want you to know how foolish and unstable I was back when we met. But even though you didn’t know, you saved me. Thank you.” MMT
  35. Today, my grandpa keeps and old, candid photo on his nightstand of my grandma and him laughing together at some party in the 1960’s. My grandma passed away from cancer in 1999 when I was 7. This evening when I was at his house, my grandpa caught me staring at the photo. He walked up, hugged me from behind and said, “Remember, just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.” MMT
  36. Today, I sat down with my two daughters, ages 4 and 6, to explain to them that we have to move out of our 4 bedroom house and into a 2 bedroom apartment for awhile until I can find another job that pays well. My daughters looked at each other for a moment and then my youngest daughter turned to me and asked, “Are we all moving into the apartment together?” “Yes,” I replied. “Oh, so no big deal then,” she said. MMT
  37. Today, I met the prettiest woman on a plane. Assuming I wouldn’t see her again after we made our connections, I told her how pretty I thought she was. She gave me the most sincere smile and said, “Nobody has said that to me in 10 years.” It turns out we’re both in our mid-30’s, never married, no kids, and we live about 5 miles away from each other. We have a date set for next Saturday after we return home. MMT
  38. Today, I’m a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 4. At 17 I got pregnant with twins. When my boyfriend and friends found out I wasn’t going to abort them, they turned a cold shoulder to me. But I pressed forward, worked full-time while attending school, graduated high school and college, and met a guy in one of my classes who has loved my children like his own for the last 50 years. MMT
  39. Today, on my 29th birthday, I returned home from my 4th and final tour of duty overseas. The little girl who lives next door to my parents (who isn’t so little any more – she’s 22 now) met me at the airport with a long stemmed rose, a bottle of my favorite vodka, and then asked me out on a date. MMT
  40. Today, my daughter accepted her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. He is 3 years older than her. They started dating when she was 14 and he was 17. I never liked the age difference when they were kids. When he turned 18 a week before she turned 15, my husband insisted they break-up. They maintained a friendship, but went on to date other people. Now at the ages of 24 and 27, I’ve never seen two people more in love. MMT
  41. Today, after I heard that my mom stayed home from work with the flu, I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way home from school to pick her up some canned soup. I ran into my dad who was already in the check-out line. He had 5 cans of soup, NyQuil, tissues, tampons, 4 romantic comedy DVDs and a bouquet of flowers. My dad makes me smile and MMT.
  42. Today, I was sitting on a hotel balcony watching 2 lovers in the distance walk along the beach. From their body language, I could tell they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. As they got closer, I realized they were my parents. My parents almost got divorced 8 years ago. MMT
  43. Today, I’m only 17, but I’ve been with my boyfriend, Jake, for 3 years, and last night was the first time we spent the night together. We’ve never ‘done it,’ and we didn’t last night either. Instead, we baked cookies, watched two comedies, laughed, played Xbox and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Despite the warnings from my parents, he’s been nothing but a gentleman and a best friend. MMT
  44. Today, when I tapped the side of my wheelchair and told my husband, “You’re the only reason I want to be free from this contraption,” he kissed me on my forehead and said, “Honey, I don’t even see that thing.” MMT
  45. Today, my grandmother and grandfather, who were both in their early 90’s and married for 72 years, both died of natural causes approximately one hour apart from each other. MMT
  46. Today, my dad came to see me for the first time in 6 months since I told him I’m gay. When I opened the door he had tears in his eyes and he immediately gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m sorry, Jason. I love you.” MMT
  47. Today, my autistic little sister spoke her first word at the age of 6 – my name. MMT
  48. Today, at the age of 72, nearly 15 years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother remarried. And since I’m only 17, I’ve never seen her so happy in all my life. It’s inspiring to see two people so in love at their age. MMT it’s never too late.
  49. Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together.  The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been 6 feet tall.  Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor.  The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together.  They danced the rest of the night. MMT
  50. Today, as I was sleeping, I woke up to my daughter calling my name. I was sleeping in a sofa chair in her hospital room. I opened my eyes to her beautiful smile. My daughter has been in a coma for 98 days. MMT
  51. Today, exactly 10 years ago almost to the minute, I stopped at an intersection and a car rear ended me. The driver was a student at UF, just like me. He was cordial and apologetic. As we waited for the cops and the tow truck we chatted and started laughing together about all sorts of stuff. We exchanged numbers and the rest is history. We just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. MMT
  52. Today, I was working in a coffee shop when 2 gay men walked in holding hands.  As you might expect, heads started turning.  Then a young girl at the table next to me asked her mom why 2 men were holding hands.  Her mom replied, “Because they love each other.” MMT
  53. Today, after 2 years of separation, my ex-wife and I resolved our differences and met for dinner.  We laughed and chatted for almost 4 hours.  Then just before she left, she handed me a large envelope.  In it were 20 love letters she wrote me over the last 2 years.  There was a post-it note on the envelope that said, “Letters I was too stubborn to send.” MMT
  54. Today, I was in an accident that left me with a gash on my forehead.  The doctors wrapped a bandage around my head and said I have to keep it on all week.  I hate wearing it.  Two minutes ago my little brother walked into my room wearing a bandage on his head.  My mom said he insisted that he didn’t want me to feel alone. MMT
  55. Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer.  My best friend lives 2000 miles away and called to comfort me.  While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?”  “I would surely smile,” I replied.  And then he rang my doorbell. MMT
  56. Today, as my 91-year-old grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospital bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was.  He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Growing old with you.” MMT
  57. Today, as I watched my 75-year-old grandmother and grandfather being silly with each other and laughing in the kitchen, I felt like I got a short glimpse of what true love feels like.  I hope I find it someday. MMT
  58. Today, exactly twenty years ago to the hour, I risked my life to save a woman who was drowning in the rapids of the Colorado River.  And that’s how I met my wife – the love of my life.  MMT
  59. Today, on our 50th wedding anniversary, she smiled at me and said, “I only wish I had met you sooner.” MMT
  60. Today, my blind friend explained to me in vivid detail how beautiful his new girlfriend is. MMT

And, of course, be sure to check out Makes Me Think for more thought-provoking love stories like these.

Tuesday’s Tale: I will wait for you

When this video was posted by a friend on Facebook, I was reminded of my own writing a couple of months back (or maybe a year?) about how important it is for single women to actually wait for the right one, instead to settling down with any-decent-or-not-so-decent-guy (read my article Single Woman? You need to settle with the right guy, at the right time).

Here’s my article on ‘waiting’ for single women out there, on a ‘imagined’ interview with myself.

Single Woman? You need to settle with the right guy, at the right time
by Marcella Purnama

Not married and want to be? The world proposed a solution of having a backup plan: making a pact of marrying your best mate at the age of 30, just in case you haven’t found the Mr Right.

But according to a second-year Psychology student at the University of Melbourne, “backup plan is not the answer”.

The 19-year-old grows up with fairy tale in mind, that someday every woman will meet their own Mr. Right, and they will grow old together. It might not be easy, but she emphasised that it’s the risk that every woman should be ready to take.

Marcella Purnama said that women shouldn’t be settling down with their ‘last options’ in marriage, but should be settling down with the right one.

“I think it’s a sad situation that we live in,” she said. “The ugly truth is, if you’re not finding someone by the age of 30, it is possible that you might not find someone after all. And the social stigma says ‘that woman will never get married’. Yet having a backup plan with marrying someone you don’t love is not the answer.”

A believer in the philosophy of Eve is created for Adam, so there will be one right Adam for every Eve in the world, she said having a back-up plan simply means that women are settling down with the guys they don’t even love. She argued when lovers find it hard to sustain their relationships, those who don’t even love each other will find it even harder.

“Humans only have one life,” she said. “A life partner is not for gamble if you only have one life. Call me a perfectionist, but it’s the only life that we all will be able to have. Choosing a life partner is not ‘I can settle with B if I don’t get an A’. It’s either A or not A at all.”

While people say that there is a second chance of making it right, which is through divorce and re-marriage if the situation demands, Miss Purnama is against the idea. She said that the oath taken is “for better, for worse”, and people should be taking that seriously.

“If a person is getting married and thinking of divorce as his emergency exit, then he is a very good liar. Having these ‘backup plans’ prevent people from truly trying to work out their relationships, as they believe that ‘if all else fails, I can get away with it’. This is what lacking from the generation nowadays: respect for own relationship, and commitment.”

Miss Purnama disagreed that women should not wait for Mr Right and settling for Mr Not-Too-Bad instead. Yet she stressed the point that it is not for the intention of having a 1395 checklist for the perfect guy, but with the intention of choosing wisely.

“I believe that we cannot be picky in choosing a partner. Oh, he’s too tall, too fat, too skinny, too quiet, too talkative, and yada yada yada. No, but I believe we can afford to be choosy. It’s not waiting for Mr Perfect, but waiting for Mr Right. Besides if we give up, there are always those ‘what if’ questions.”

When asked about the important checklist to choose the right partner, she told that the key is the 4Cs.

“There is this 4Cs that I grab dearly in choosing a partner. The first C is his Character. What about his self-esteem? His personal growth? How does he deal with success and failure? Can he take care of himself? If he can’t take care of himself, how can he take care of you?”

“The second C is Chemistry. Yes, you hear that right, chemistry. You name it: your heart suddenly beats faster, time slows down… that kind of stuff.”

“The third one will be Compatibility. Do you share the same hobbies and interests? How about your values and his values? Spiritual convictions?”

“And the last one is Commitment. Why commit? Commitment gives security and assurance of where the relationship is leading, instead of just playing with fire. Commitment makes all the effort you put in a relationship to be ‘worth it’.”

Upon parting, Miss Purnama said that her intention is not to convert others’ believes into hers. She simply wants to share her believes in what a relationship should be like.

“Well, guess what? I’m not the expert in relationship, but I believe in what I believe in. I believe that yes, relationship is not a bed of roses. It needs a lot of compromising, a lot of learning, and a lot of trying to tolerate each other – of trying not to kill each other, but to love each other.”

“And this is the oath that I’ll be taking when I walk down the aisle one day, and that oath will be the same oath that I’ll be holding for the rest of my life:

“I, Marcella Purnama take you, [insert the name of future husband here] to be my husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward. For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health. To love and to cherish, till death us do part. According to God’s holy law, and this is my solemn vow.”

Why gaming can make you a better person

MELD columnist and ex-gamer Marcella Purnama shares her thoughts on why video games might actually be making you a better person.

When I say I was a gamer, I really was, and not just a mild one. Was I hardcore? Perhaps. You be the judge.

I once finished Final Fantasy VIII five times just to have all the limit breaks, get all the characters’ level to 100, have all the Guardian Forces, finish all the side missions, collect all the cards, download the four different walkthroughs and fall in love with the main character, without ever touching a thing called a gameshark. After all, my dignity and pride would never allow me to cheat.

Sounds extreme? Well, I’ve done the exact same thing with Legend of Mana, Legend of Dragoon and Final Fantasy VII, to name a few. And I’ve tried to marry five different girls in Harvest Moon. … okay, that sounded a bit wrong.

I’ve also perfected the art of Chocobo Racing. I’ve played a bit of Gran Turismo, Tekken and Final Fantasy IX (because disc two keeps freezing and no stores sell Play Station 1 games anymore…).

I’ve gone weeks with minimum sleep. Snapped at anyone, and I mean, anyone, who dared disturb me when I was battling the bosses. Endured my mum’s wrath when I skipped dinner… yet again.

When Nintendo DS came along, I (humbly) self-proclaimed myself a good Mario Kart player, even though I didn’t actually own a DS. I even battled my (male) peers in high school and gained a respectable (if not questionable) reputation for my skills. There was only one person who I couldn’t beat. But I still kicked ass without spending hours playing the game and without drift.

Yes… you read that right. I am a Mario Kart player who doesn’t do drift.

While I didn’t think I had a problem, my parents obviously did because they refused to give into my pleas and buy me a Play Station 2. I never did get to play Final Fantasy X, but once in a while, a friend would come to my house with her PS2 in tow and we’d play Fatal Frame and Devil May Cry.

If you’ve never played Fatal Frame, you won’t know how scary it is, especially when we vowed to turn off all the lights while playing it. Dang, that game was so scary, we usually wanted to just be an observer, not a player.

I am (or was) a good Dance Dance Revolution player, both with feet and the stick, and I took pride in becoming one.

There were benefits to being a gaming addict outside of simply finding something to fill the hours with. Socialising with the guys was easier because I knew their vocab.

Clearly, non-gamers would never understand limit breaks, cross-square-triangle-circle or some other combination, boost, magic, attack, heal, potion, junction, etc.

Most girls wouldn’t even care, which put me at an obvious advantage when I was looking for a prom date.

I played Time Crisis and Initial D at the arcade, although I never become good at them (too much money would be spent playing those).

And then, somewhere during my senior high years, I just stopped playing… everything.

Age caught up with me too soon, I guess. Since that day I haven’t played a single game. At least, none that requires serious effort and brain power.

Still, I am proud to call myself an ex-gamer. Those years spent gaming taught me perseverance and the importance of trying again and again, even if you’ve been defeated by the boss 20 times already.

These games forced me to think outside the box, to complete a mission and not give up because I needed to finish in order to go to the next level. They taught me to look at the details, to master the art of perfection.

Or at least, that’s what I believe.

Not to say that it’s cool to be ex-gamer. How many girls out there are, or were, gamers? Not many I bet.

Somehow with the creation of iPad and iTouch, games have lost their spark. When children become bored of one game, they switch easily. When they’re stuck, they never want to try more than twice to overcome the bosses. Of course, this is just a theory, but wouldn’t these actions then manifest in your ideologies and attitudes towards the rest of your life?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Of course, now I have become one of those girls who can’t stand guys who play excessive video games. Not at this age. If they play and still function at a normal level, good. But if they neglect everything else to just finish a game, then there’s clearly a problem.

When I look back at my youth, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. Those hours spent gaming, contradictory to what you might think, were not lost at all. As Randy Paush once said, “Head fakes exist”.

I believe that I wouldn’t be who I am now if it weren’t for all those hours spent trying to beat the bosses.

And you know what? I had fun. I can share my gaming stories with others instead of recapping vague memories about studying and extra tutoring outside school. And if that doesn’t make it all worth it, I don’t know what does.

Do you agree with Marcella? Do video games teach us important life skills? Share in the comments box below!

A statistic-hater student’s prayer

Prayer #1

Dear lord of statistics,

If you exist, if you really do exist, please let me pass tomorrow’s exam.

You know I don’t love you. I don’t expect you to love me too.

Just give me a decent mark tomorrow. Please. Just. give. me. that. mark.

And you know that I hate you. But for tomorrow, can you please forget every curse I’ve uttered while studying your grand theories? I couldn’t help it. Your wisdom is too great for my poor brain to comprehend. You are truly great. The greatest, even.

And if it’s not too much to ask, let me pass tomorrow’s exam with good marks. After tomorrow you will never, ever, ever see me ever again. I promise.

I know that you are merciful, wise, and graceful. I know you are. I hope you will not fail me.

Prayer #2

Dear lord of luck,

I don’t have Felix Felicis. I need to be in Hogwarts to have one. But I still hope that you will grand me your luck. Because for tomorrow, I really need that.

It’s a 60 multiple-choice-question paper, and considering I have 25% chance of guessing the right answer (because it’s quite impossible to narrow it down to 50-50, let alone believing 100% which one is the right answer), I will need a lot of luck. Lots and lots of it.

I know you have so much luck in store, I just wish you could be gracious enough to give me that drop of Felix Felicis.

Prayer #3

Now I lay me down to study,

I pray the Lord I don’t go nutty.

And If I fail to learn this junk,

I pray the Lord I do not flunk.

And If I die, don’t bury me at all.

Just lay my bones in the study hall,

and pile my books on my chest,

and tell my Profs I did my best.

So now I lay me down to rest,

and pray I pass tomorrow’s test.

And If I die before I wake,

that’s one less test I  have to take.

In my case, please let me know the answers of the multiple choice questions.

Ps. The last prayer is titled “A Student’s Prayer”, written by unknown.

When being “normal” takes time

Writer’s note: This article is previously submitted as an assignment for my Writing Journalism subject. Ray (not his real name, as the subject asks to remain anonymous) has gone through a period in life that most of us do not – seeing the death of his father at an early age. This is his story, as he tries to cope with the reality.

As 20-year-old Ray stayed up late to stress out about assignments with his peers, he realised, “Life has started to become normal.”

After his father died of cancer at the age of 53, Ray, 13 at that time, took the role as the head of the family. As the oldest son, he listened to his mother’s problems, and became a father figure for his younger brother.

Non-profit child bereavement organisation Comfort Zone Camp found one in nine children in the US will lose a parent before the age of 20.

But not all children who lose a parent learn to accept death the way Ray had.

“I was calm, though sad, and only cried when they were about to close my dad’s coffin,” Ray said.

“I just couldn’t believe I was not going to see him and learn anything more from him for the rest of my life. That was the only thing I was sad about, because I knew he was in a better place.”

In fact, 72 per cent of the children believe their lives would have been much better if their parent hadn’t died so young, according to the survey released by Comfort Zone Camp in 2010.

But this was not the case for Ray.

Ray shared that he was not attached to his father even when he was still alive. His father was “military strict” to him.

“Do you ever think protective and dictator dads exist?” Ray asked.

“My dad taught me about discipline and responsibility. He taught me about the harshness of working hard to earn a result. He was my hero, and he was a great dad, but any more of his pressures might just hinder me from growing up.”

But accepting the death was not the same as being “normal” for Ray. When children tried to cope with their parent’s death in different ways, Ray tried too.

Though addressing the issue calmly, Ray admitted the sudden lack of a father figure had caused him to build his self-esteem on the wrong things.

He pursued romantic relationships earnestly, but he was dumped three times as a result. Ray then started to go clubbing and street racing in search for acceptance.

“I’m still confused of who I am. I’m thinking, ‘Am I really that bad? Is all this rooting from the fact that I lost my dad?’ But I know that I have to be happy with my own life first before I can take a girl into it,” Ray said.

Children who lose parent still grieve as adults, but Ray believed this “tragedy” gave him a head start to learn life earlier than his peers.

“Losing a father actually forces you to face life even earlier than normal kids are supposed to, especially if you are the oldest son,” Ray said.

“And about two years ago, life became really normal again.”

Social media lifeline for international students

Writer’s note: Published on Meld Magazine earlier this week! Special thanks to those who have filled the original survey and given me great quotes :)

SOCIAL media is for most international students as important as breakfast is for the body. For some, it’s oxygen. 

“I check my Blackberry every morning and the last thing I check is, well, my Blackberry too. I should really change. “ ST ♂

International students spend a third of their waking up time on social media, with more than half making surfing the net a priority in their lives.

The survey was conducted on a sample of 21 Melbourne-based international students aged between 18 and 25-years-old.

Around 60 per cent of students said going on Facebook or Twitter is the first thing they do after waking, and the last activity before bedtime.

International students spend an average of three to four hours per day online, with males and females equally hooked on social media, and the biggest motivation being the need to “be in touch” with the world.

Only one out of 21 international students surveyed didn’t own a smartphone.

Nearly 30 per cent of the students surveyed said they receive complaints about their social media habits, and around 16 per cent of them said they can’t go a day without checking Facebook or Twitter.

“I reckon the only things preventing me from becoming fully addicted are a) my lack of a smartphone prevents me from constantly checking up on social media; and b) all the constant updating gets quite overwhelming after a while, so I stop and take time to process the deluge.” RY ♀

“[Social media] has its pros and cons. It’s a great way to share resources and meet like-minded people. But it may cause unnecessary distractions or divided attention, for example by checking your Facebook or Twitter every opportunity you get.” JT ♂

But while all the students surveyed said they use social media to keep in touch with friends, the majority regard social media as a “double-edged sword”.

Some students cite feelings of irritation when real time interactions give way to social media engagement at social gatherings.

One student said nothing could beat face-to-face meetings ultimately, and wished people would make more of an effort to “put down their smartphones and engage the person sitting in front of them”.

“People need to connect more often, not through the cyber world, but in the real world. It’s sad that technology can ruin people’s relationships. I think too many people try so hard to be famous in the cyber world that they forget how to really ‘connect’ to others,” the student said.

“I think social media is a wonderful tool for connection and networking, but it’s a double-edged sword, because like all powerful tools it can easily be misused to disastrous consequences.” RY ♀

“I miss the good old days where people meet and chat with a real conversation instead of talking about other’s statuses on Facebook or Twitter. That’s just wrong.” CNM ♀

Half of the students surveyed said they rely on social media for their source of news, and more than 80 per cent said they have Facebook “open” while surfing the net.

The survey also showed while most people said they can live a day without social media, many indicated it would usually not be out of choice, but because they are “on holiday”, or have “no connection”.

Two of the students surveyed said the deprivation from Facebook or Twitter for a day would significantly alter their mood.

But it’s not an admission students are proud to acknowledge, like one of the students surveyed, who said that while she had not received complaints from family or friends about her social media habits, she was “disappointed to have spent so much time” online.