People say that video games are bad for you. Sure, if you sit too close to the T.V., they're said to ruin your eyesight. They're supposed to promote violence in adolescents, they encourage people to be crass and brutish (see r33tsp3@k), they don't promote a good work ethic, proper morals, or good manners. Because honestly, responding "Are you mocking me?" In a deep growl when a football player asks how much you can bench (when you're not Akuma, but in fact, a kid who's harboring about 1.5% body fat, and sticks and rubberbands in place of bones and muscles), isn't always the greatest of ideas. Likewise, insisting that you'd be a better student body representative because you've finished all the campaigns in Age of Empires II, and have a 206-23-14 record in Starcraft doesn't garner as many votes as you'd assume (or as many as it should, dammit).

I, personally, have played a lot of video games. I'm not as obsessive as my dad, the defender junkie, who's been consistently stuck to a video game for 8+ hours a day for the past 2 years, but I do manage to sit down for a good round of Tony Hawk or RCR whenever I get the chance, not to mention my fascination with the extensive extensive amounts of shit that you can garner in Diablo II. But driving games have helped me out so much that I don't know where to start thanking people.

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So I'm just learning how to drive. I swear that when I was first asked to make a lane change, I had the Pole Position theme song going through my head... I did an admirable job, considering the fact that I'd never driven before my first driving lesson, where I was expected to just get in the car and go. It was fun. But this isn't how video games saved my life.

Gran Turismo, really has to be what did it for me. This game depends on a fairly realistic physics system (if I believe what Sony tells me), and the driving skills I learned in it payed off big time. I was driving, soon after getting my first Chevy Cavalier (make that, my only Chevy Cavalier, I don't wanna come off like a whack job or anything), and I was taking a section of my school's drumline (we all played bass), to another kids house (one of our cadre was AWOL, we were going to get his ass to practice).

Anyway, he lives in a fairly rural area, past some curvy roads... I was driving along at a fair clip (probably too fast for my own good), and I noticed a grasshopper on my windshield. This wasn't uncommon, but while I was using my windshield wipers to try to swipe at it, and convince it to go about its business, I drove off the road... whoops. I was going down an incline into a big ditch type thing, and my rear wheels slipped out from under me. My friends were freaking out, and my car was sliding to the point where it was perpendicular to the road. A barbed wire fence and a tree were coming dangerously close to wrecking me for good, and I, with all the calmness that I shouldn't have been able to summon, eased on the brakes and turned into, then out of the slide. I came to a stop parallel to the road, looked up to see if any cars were coming, and then got back on and proceeded towards the kids house. I don't exactly remember the details, but I do remember thinking, as I was brining my unruly vehicle under control, "Hey, this is like that time in Gran Turismo where I was coming off the ramp and I slid into the grass. Cool." And I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but the guy in the passenger seat swears I did it all with one hand. So...

Thanks Video Games!

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