I don't know if I've ever explained the significance of the subject matter above, but the game represented is Sega's Lord of the Sword, a bizarrely old school and very very difficult game that came out for the Sega Master System. It was during the summer, when I stayed inside a lot as a freshman in high school. One night, I played long into the evening, the next morning was my first day of high school. New school, awkward acne, my sister who was a year younger than me, wasn't going to high school yet... lot of stress.
But I stayed up until 2:46 am, I remember the blue vcr light showing that time as when I finally beat this game. I remember how proud I was of that moment, how much better I felt. It was like my own secret triumph in a world that with no save files, and limited continues, I had kicked some ass. It was raining just a little bit that evening, so I played with the lights off, and occasionally lightning illuminated the room, adding to the ambiance of that evening for me.
Mom had made some pizza, so I had some slices on a plate with my mega thermos bladder buster on the floor next to me for "adventure fuel".
Very few people have played or remember this game, and it's one that is so ingrained in my head as far as a great memory, I forget that it's no Zelda or Tomb Raider. But that night, as I beat the game after almost 11 hours of playing Landau the brawny sword wielding main character, I finally defeated the last boss and became king of the land.
The next day when I went to school, and I spilled my lunch tray on my shirt, I managed to take it in stride. Over the laughter and embarrassment, I remembered my game the previous night.
After that, video games of all kinds became the worlds, friends, and events that inspired me all through school for the next four years and beyond. They joined the same small circle of confidants I had that included books, art, and my pets.
It's weird because even as I am today, a little more outgoing, a lot more vocal, I still have moments of being that kid whose only friends were in a game cartridge or a book. I will always be inspired by games and the moments in life they helped heal.