One of my favorite activities when I was younger (after reading of course) was to play video games/watch my older brother play video games. Not the first person army shooters or grind fests, because I’m terrible at game mechanics, and those types of games often have rudimentary plot structure. Give me the long-form story modes with ridiculously beautiful clip scenes, the games that are like watching a show that I simultaneously direct.
Fortunately, my partner also likes to game, so now I finally have access to consoles again after a long time away from them! Let me tell you, it is a whole new world from the early to late 2000’s gaming experiences I cultivated in my formative years.
To illustrate this point, I shall list my favorite games to play (which will probably surprise no one who actually knows me):
- Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – (I recently posted on social media about this analytical video, which anyone who has any interest in this game should go watch, because it is amazing)
- Tales of Symphonia
- Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Grandia II
- Soul Calibur III (campaign mode)
- Super Smash Brothers: Melee
- Animal Crossing
- Harvest Moon
- …Eggmania (which does not fit into the overall long-story games above, but I can’t resist egg pun-themed Tetris)
Since I’ve returned to video gaming, I’ve been able to add new stories to my list of favorites, like Witcher 3 (watching, not playing. Yet…) I’ve also discovered Youtubers who specialize in game reviews like Dunkey and Girlfriend Reviews, who have helped familiarize me with modern gaming. Now that I have access to updated consoles beyond the Gamecube and the PS2, I’m finally able to actually play some major games that I missed over the past…ten years… I finished Fable and Fable 2 last autumn, and I just started games for Portal 2 and Skyrim! (Though in all honestly, I’ll mostly be playing Skyrim for the ability to ride a horse around a giant map…)
For my birthday, my partner bought me a remastered version of Tales of Symphonia. But he also procured games like Nier Automata and The Last Guardian. I learned about this game through Dunkey’s video, which I’ve watched multiple times now, just for the comedy. I’m really excited to be able to play it for myself and see how my relationship (frustration?) develops with this bird-dog Trico. As for Nier Automato, I was originally against it because of the way the main character was designed (read: dressed), but after learning more about the plot line and the sound track through Girlfriend Reviews, I had to check it out.
I’m so excited to get back into gaming, because it was a huge part of my childhood and teen years, and I really loved the interactive experiences that became treasured memories. I still recall watching my brother play Tales of Symphonia for the first time and the specific moment a major plot twist was revealed. When I began my own game file, it was specifically to see that scene again. I also remember the first time I beat Ocarina of Time on my own (sort of – much credit is due to my high school SO/current day close friend who let me come over to use his WiiU and also patiently supported me through my ridiculous battle-nerves dancing) and the sense of accomplishment that came from seeing the end-game credits. I made that happen.
If my brain was mapped Inside Out style, gaming would definitely be one of my islands. It connects me to many of my closest friends, family, and loved ones, as well as to these amazing, immersive stories assembled through the hard work, dedication, and innovation of writers, designers, and creatives around the world. I’m looking forward to engaging with a whole new set of stories, characters, and people while I delve into these titles and more beyond.
Happy gaming, reading, writing, creating, or whatever it is you do to get that seratonin flowin’!
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
- The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messaud