Sunday, 27 November 2011

BLOG -- Has a video game ever influenced you beyond the scope of gaming?

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the US. I live in Canada, so I don't celebrate Thanksgiving then. On that Thursday, though, I read a neat posting on Siliconera celebrating Thanksgiving and sharing with readers the games that influenced them beyond the scope of gaming. They also asked their readers to do the same. I thought that was really cool and neat.

But it got me wondering: has a video game influenced me beyond the scope of gaming? I know the answer is yes. I mean, I've been playing video games all through my life. I grew up with them. Even when I didn't own any game systems, I still found ways to play video games (please don't ask for any more elaboration on this ;) ). So some of these games must have influenced me beyond the scope of gaming... but which ones?

I'm so tempted to say certain ones because I loved playing/experiencing them and I want to give props to what I love (I'm just like that). But I'm not sure if they really did influence me in that way.


For example, I want to say Final Fantasy VI (named Final Fantasy III back then) for the SNES.

That was my all-time favourite childhood game, and I would still play it now. The story, the characters, the music -- ahhh, sooooooo awesome and breathtaking. It was the first video game that showed me that games can have a story -- where video game characters can experience pain, despair, hope, love, happiness, sadness -- it was a video game world that was alive.

Some scenes were so touching -- I cried! That was the first time I ever cried while playing a video game. I'd like to say that Final Fantasy VI changed me in some way -- maybe helped me think more deeply when writing characters in my stories -- or helped me to be more empathetic -- but did it? I... don't... know...


Another game that comes to mind is Odin Sphere for the PS2.

Gosh, what a wondrous game. A game of five separate stories interweaving as one. I guess you can say that what blew me away were about the same things that blew me away with Final Fantasy VI: awesome story, charming characters, and beautiful music. While gameplay wasn't the best (because I just sucked at it), I played on, wanting to know more of the story and what the characters did next.

When I beat the game, all I did was lay on my bed (yes, my bed is my couch for playing video games), watching the credits roll, letting its serene music fill my being with warmth and utter satisfaction. It was the first time in a long time that I felt such satisfaction after completing a video game. I still get desires now and then to go through it and experience its loveliness all over again.

But... here comes the question: did Odin Sphere influence me beyond the scope of gaming? I think that if it existed while I was still going through school, some of my stories would have been influenced. Beyond that, I'm not so sure...


Well, I've mentioned the games I wanted to mention. I absolutely love those two games. Now to mention what I know for sure has influenced me beyond the scope of gaming. I only know for sure for these games because they're fairly recent. Looking back to older games, I still can't say, but I will write another blog if they ever come to me (really, sometimes it takes years to realize when something or someone has changed you).

Since these two games affected me in pretty much the same way, I will mention them both here.
They are: Daigasso Band Brothers DX for the DS, and iDOLM@STER 2 for the PS3

I was very excited about Daigasso!! Band Brothers DX. I played the first game and loved it. The new, neat thing about Daigasso!! Band Brothers DX was the feature to use Wi-Fi and download up to 100 customized songs that other players have created and uploaded. What a way to customize your gameplaying experience! 

I had read somewhere that the download list would be in katakana and hiragana (the two Japanese alphabets). Guess what I did? Months before Daigasso!! Band Brothers DX's release date, I slowly taught myself those two alphabets. I've always wanted to learn Japanese, but it was this game that drove me to finally get to it. When Daigasso!! Band Brothers DX was released, I was able to slowly but successfully read the download list and download the songs I wanted. After a while, I would check the download list (because new songs got added almost every day) regularly as some kind of katakana/hiragana reading tool. I've stopped checking about two years ago since I've reached that 100 download limit long ago, but if I ever buy myself another copy... :)

iDOLM@STER 2 is influencing me in about the same way, but it is currently driving me to take learning Japanese to the next level -- learning sentence structure, verb conjugations, vocabulary, and then the dreaded kanji (the characters that look like Chinese characters). I... really want to understand the stories in iDOLM@STER 2. I want to know the story behind each idol, and I want to be able to make the choices I want to make (whenever I'm presented with choices that I currently can't read). I would like to fully experience that game. It's quite embarrassing, but whatever. I like what I like, and I don't need to hide it. :)

I may fail in my quest to learn Japanese (learning/mastering a new language can take a long, long time), but I hope that as I go, I will learn more.

Well, that's what I've got to say. Now the question goes to you: has a video game ever influenced you beyond the scope of gaming? :)

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