I�ve been gaming for roughly 21 years now. That being said, it may surprise you to know that at the time of this blog I�m only 23 years old. (I�m certain you�re capable of doing the math.) My first game was Super Mario World
, and I used to spend countless hours collecting every coin and repeatedly capturing that blue Yoshi I loved so much. I was more than capable of beating the game, and even needed to help my teenage uncle get past a few levels from time to time. This isn�t me throwing my gaming achievements in your face, I promise, the point is that I�m just about as familiar with video games as humanly possible. And in order to determine what makes me the gamer I am today, preferences and all, we need to take a hard look at my gaming timeline.
As far as consoles that I�ve owned, the list is as follows: Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast, GameCube, Xbox, and all three current-gen consoles. (I�m betting you can tell at which point in the timeline I started making money and taking gaming seriously.) I plan on owning a Wii U as soon as I see a release date for Smash Bros
. As you can see, there are some pretty major gaps there. The reason for that is I had a best a friend who owned a Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and PS2, on top of my uncle who owned an NES, SNES and Sega Master system. So, given how much time I spent with them, I had access to all the consoles and games I ever wanted. For the purposes of this piece, and to spare you from the 100 lb. tome this reflection would inevitably become, I�m going to focus on the consoles I owned and the games I�m most fond of. He ain�t handsome, but he�s a great guy. (Not shown: His giant war axe.)
So, great characters, solid story, varied locations, and beautiful graphics, sounds like most RPGs, right? I guess what separated Grandia II
from the rest of the pack was that, for me, it was the first time I genuinely connected to a game. This story became about more than just Ryudo and his gang having an adventure. It became about how games can have an emotional impact on a person, and that these stories can engage and immerse us in their worlds in ways absolutely no other entertainment medium will ever come close. I felt like a part of the action in Grandia
. My decisions were the ones that brought these people together, and we shared experiences simultaneously. Grandia II
featured these �campfire� moments throughout various dungeon expeditions where you could either just go to sleep or stay up and make the characters talk to each other. I used to milk those conversations as long as possible, and they ended up being some of my favorite scenes in the game. Not because the battles were dull or anything, far from it, but because I simply began enjoying the company of these characters. These tender moments during down time from the action, when these people were just getting to know each other, those were the moments I felt most connected to them, and their fictional world.
From Grandia II
onward, RPGs have been my favorite game genre, bar none. I absolutely adore getting lost in these massive worlds teeming with exotic locales and endless wonders to explore. But, even crazier than that, the characters and personalities of Grandia
made such a profound impact on me that I still carry the spirits of those characters with me today. I take a little of Ryudo�s courage every time I have to face a giant boss at the end of a dungeon. I can�t help but share Mareg�s compassion when deciding to either �rescue� or �harvest� the Little Sisters in BioShock
. (I to this day can�t �harvest� even a single one just to know what it looks like.) I�m foolishly attracted to any red head who has a sassy remark in response to anything I say. (Millenia might not be the only
reason for that, but that�s another story.) Bottom line: This is �the one game� that took the epiphany bat and beat me over the head with it.� I haven�t just been a core gamer since Grandia
, I�ve been absolutely enamored by the feats this industry is capable of accomplishing.� This is the game that made me realize the sky�s (skye?) the limit, and that video games can be so much more than the children�s toys/killer-breeding machines mainstream media makes it out to be.
So, there�s my story, humble beginnings and all.� If you stayed with me all this while, and I mean this, God bless you. You�ve either got way too much time to kill, or you�re as passionate about games as I am. Whatever the case, I thank you for taking the time to hear my story, and I encourage you to share a few of your own in the comments.� Everybody has that �one game� that made an impact on them, what was yours? Did it affect you as profoundly as Grandia II
did for me, or was it simply a realization that you loved video games? If you�d seriously like to share your whole story with the gaming community, check out HAWP star Ashly Burch�s How Games Saved My Life
. It�s filled with testimonials from gamers just looking to share their passion and give thanks to the wonderful games that made a difference in their lives. Alright, that�s more than enough out of me. I hope you�ll tune into future stories, although they won�t all be as reflective as this. Until next time, keep gaming folks!
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