Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The sublime experience of beating Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

Last night I beat Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (the two exclamation points are part of the name), the Nintendo classic. This is something I thought I'd never be able to do. I am not being cute: beating Tyson was among the most difficult accomplishments of my life.

Human potential guru Michael Murphy has collected anecdotes of athletes who have experienced transcendence once or twice in their lives when performing beyond what they thought their bodies were capable of. I won't go that far regarding Punch-Out!!, but my consciousness did feel peculiar for a moment there, wrapped entirely around the tiny world of Tyson's movements and my twitch responses.

Are video games, along with everything bad, good for you? I don't know, but kids could do worse than to play games like this that require observation, mental system-modeling, and patience.