How My Dad and Video Games Taught Me English

Action Man: Operation Extreme. This is the game I was playing when my dad changed my life. Via Emuparadise.

I was about eight years old, my family and I were living in this house I used to call “old house”. As always, I was in my bedroom playing the birthday gift my grandparents had given me some time ago, a PlayStation One. At first, it was a rather troublesome gift. I could not play it at all. My grandparents even went back to the place they bought it thinking a “Memory Card” was missing. Well, it was not. Actually, a Memory Card was supposed to be bought separately. You may blame capitalism for that. Just kidding. There was a simple reason behind such a silly thing as not knowing what a Memory Card is. They did not know what was written on the TV screen, or in other words, they did not know English. I barely knew any language other than Portuguese even existed. Thankfully, my dad was about to change that.

I consider this to be my fondest memory of a moment shared between my dad and I. He had just arrived from work, business as usual. As I said earlier, I was playing this game, Action Man: Operation Extreme. It was based on some character from a Saturday morning cartoon I used to watch, which was a blatant rip-off from Max Steel, or was it the other way around? Anyway, that’s beside the point. As my dad passed by the TV and quickly glanced at it one of the most incredible things I had ever seen happened! He actually read what was on the screen. I was like, “WHAAAAT? My dad’s frickin’ awesome! I bet he could read everything if I ask him to. I’ll finish this game in no time!” And so it was, I marveled at each sentence translated by him! It was such an amazing feeling, I can barely describe it! At that very moment, I felt a deep feeling of admiration, my life would be forever changed. I wanted to be like him, I wanted to do what he was doing! A curious little kid like me had just realized how there were deeper, unknown waters to be explored. It all sounded very exciting. It was (and still is) exciting, there is no doubt about that.

Nowadays, reflecting on that particular memory, eight-year-old me could not recognize some things. I know my dad does not know much English beyond what an average Brazilian knows. To be honest, I know he will not be able to understand most of what I have written here, but does it even matter? Does it matter how much my dad knows about English? I am pretty sure it fucking does not. Had he not inspire me that day, I probably would not be capable of writing this in the first place. I have been following my own path for some time now, yet I cannot measure how much of an impact that particular moment had on me over the years. I am deeply grateful for it. I cherish it every single day. If it was not for him, I would not be who I am today. I cannot ask for anything else besides a new beach chair because he broke mine several years ago. I’m joking. Thanks, dad.

tt: @asjr_p | learned to code @ 15 y.o. | writer @terracoecon | interested in econ & tech

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