The following is an entry in "Growth of a Gamer," a series of articles exploring the profound ways that video games can touch people's lives. For more information and more great content, you can check out the series' hub page! Until then, please enjoy "Pikmin: On the Importance of Little Things."
The DK Nature Encyclopedia wasn’t exactly a classic of children’s literature, but I would spend hours flipping through its pages all the same, tracing glossy photos of star-nosed moles and rock hyraxes and blue-footed boobies. I carried this book everywhere, including on my monthly sojourn to Blockbuster (a now extinct specimen of video rental stores). There, the flashiest games would croon at me from their shelves, their titles so full of energy they looked ready to burst with excitement:
Super Smash Bros. Melee! Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Sonic Adventure 2 Battle! Wham! Ka-pow! Wowza! But one month, with my encyclopedia tucked firmly in the crook of my arm, I wandered away from these brighter and bolder titles and towards the sale bin, unsure of what I was looking for until I found it. The game should have been buried under the riot of color surrounding it, but my eye slid to it the way a stone might roll into the valley between mountains. No corona of light crowned it as I dug it out. No fanfare erupted as I turned it over in my hands. It just smiled, the ways games smile, and showed me a name written in flowers: PIKMIN.
I went back home, popped the disc into my console, and waited for the Nintendo logo to fade as I hugged my encyclopedia to my knees; I would need it, if I encountered something strange on my journey. This was new, uncharted territory, and I had to be ready for anything. Head inside to keep reading!