By Laura . November 24, 2011 . 12:05pm
Thanksgiving is here! Aside from the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, the apple cider, and the cranberry sauce (is anyone hungry yet?), we can’t forget to give our thanks to what’s important to us. Here at Siliconera, each of us will be sharing one game that was influential to our lives beyond just the scope of gaming, and we’d love if you would do the same in the comments.
These can be games that lead you to your current careers or games that helped you grow as a person, among other possible influences. Just remember, they need to have influenced you beyond the realm of gaming! So, before you tuck in to your lavish dinner, pitch in with your offering of thanks. (And for those of you not in America and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope you enjoy this discussion nonetheless!)
There are tons of games I’m glad I played, but, since I have to pick one title… I’d have to go with the original SaGa, better known as The Final Fantasy Legend in North America.
When I lived overseas, I used to trade video games with one of my parents’ friends’ kids. We knew them from back in the States, so I’d see their two boys (both older than me) and show them whatever odd games I had from Japan.
On one visit, they were playing something I hadn’t seen before — The Final Fantasy Legend — and I think I was lured to it because they talked about humans and mutants fighting monsters. I got sucked into the world fighting goblins and looking for pieces of the King armor.
Before they left, we traded something (I think it was a Doraemon game) and I spent every school bus ride climbing the tower to Paradise. While I had Dragon Quest, it was The Final Fantasy Legend that got me hooked on RPGs. It was a gateway into story-based games and other niche titles that my friends weren’t playing. Looking back, playing Final Fantasy Legend was the seed that led to Siliconera, since it broadened my horizons and I’m infinitely grateful for creating this site and for all of its readers.
I played Tsukihime at a very impressionable age. Up until that point, none of the games I’d played had dealt with the subject of love or human relationships in any way that you would call “effective.” Tsukihime, on the other hand, was a pure love story in game form, and I’d never experienced that before. By the time I got to the end of Arcueid’s route, it had left me with a sense of fantasy that is still with me today.
Tsukihime came at a time when I was just starting to grow up and find out that life isn’t always as nice as you’d like it to be. When you’re at that stage, you need something to keep you optimistic and from growing old too fast, and Tsukihime’s world and characters did just that. It dealt with adult themes, but at the same time, it was so innocent and idealistic. I’d probably be a different person today if I hadn’t played it.
Out of all my hobbies, I’d say the one that has influenced my life the most is writing, and that’s not just because of the sheer amount of time I’ve poured into it. Much of what I do revolves around it. I own books on herbology, guns, myths from all around the world, and philosophy. I buy art books and figurines for the purpose of studying them so I can one day hopefully draw the characters in my story.
My love for writing actually started with an accidental purchase in Walmart way back in 2000 — Suikoden II. I loved it, but more importantly, I ended up taking Creative Writing class because I was so inspired by it. I had such a wonderful time writing my final project for that class that I used it as a base for the original story I’m (still) working on. It has since become its own monster, but ultimately I have Suikoden II to thank for all of this and for giving me a goal in my life.
One of the great things about video games is how they can bring people together. Back when I was in college, I’d started hanging out with a few classmates. We were all pretty different people, but we had one thing in common. We all loved video games. One day shortly after we’d met, we were killing time before class. Somehow, the topic turned to horror games, and one friend brought up a game she had just bought called Fatal Frame. As she described it, we all started getting excited about the prospect of playing.
After class, we found ourselves heading to three different Blockbuster Video stores until we finally found one that had a copy of Fatal Frame. We then went to the nearest house and literally stayed up all night, bonding while banishing ghosts. For years afterward, we would randomly get together like that to play games, often returning to the Fatal Frame franchise when things grew dull. I’d like to think that Fatal Frame helped forge friendships that have now lasted almost 10 years.
When I was very young, I often hung out with my older cousin Derek. When we got together, we’d play NES, as young nerds are wont to do. While we had a number of games that we played together, my favorite of game of his was Mega Man 4.
Everything about it enchanted me: the art, the music, the powers, and the challenge (I couldn’t even get to any of the bosses back then).
I loved playing with my more talented cousin, and we bonded as we played together and as he showed me different strategies for getting through tougher levels.
When I was about five years old, my appendix burst. Unaware of the potential fatality of the situation, I just knew that I had to spend a lot of time in a hospital bed and was happy that they had a SNES and an NES that I could play (even if most of the games available were Mario games). While I was bedridden, Derek came to visit, bringing some of his personally selected “get well” gifts: one of his stuffed toys and his copy of Mega Man 4. Bear in mind, this act was incredibly selfless for an 11-year-old, and even at five, I was moved.
My first experience with video games was through single-player games like Super Mario Bros., Darkwing Duck, etc. As such, my younger brother and I had to take turns playing games, and being kids, we didn’t have much patience and tended to quarrel. This wasn’t even counting competitive games like sports games or fighting games (and I outright blow at competitive play, even to this day).
My elder first cousin, knowing this, lent us his cartridge of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. It was everything we loved about video games at the time. It was an arcade game; it was a side-scrolling brawler; it was freaking TMNT. But more importantly, it was a co-op game. Knowing that we didn’t have to fight against each other, my brother and I played that game together ad nauseum even though we weren’t good enough to get past difficult stages.
From then on, we agreed to have some co-op games in our library. Concepts like sharing and patience may be a given for adults, but I have to say that it was good fortune for me to have learned those early. I still prefer co-operation over competition in gaming to this day. I have my cousin to thank for lending me this game, and this game to thank for helping me learn an important lesson.
Do you have any games that influenced you beyond just your hobbies? We’d love to hear about them!