A long time coming. The staff of Otakuberries have taken time to give their thoughts on a special topic. Hope you enjoy!
What video game has influenced your life?
As far as I can remember, I have always been attracted to the racing genre. My video game influence stems from the Atari 2600, but racing came from numerous arcade visits. Of those visits, I loved “Pole Position” and “Hard Drivin’.” But I only had so many quarters, and my cousins had consoles, and as years went by, I played “Rad Racer” on NES, “Super Mario Kart” on the SNES, and “Ridge Racer” on the original Playstation. I could go on with more examples of the racing games I’ve played, but to finally answer this week’s topic, the title that has influenced my gaming preference is “Gran Turismo.” I actually never played the game until the the second iteration of the franchise, but as soon as I did, I was hooked. I preferred the realism of racing simulation over arcade style racing, i.e. Mario Kart (probably because I hated being blue shelled). I was enticed by the idea of driving real cars I would see daily on the road. Being on the cusp of gaining a driver’s permit, Gran Turismo was my outlet to get a feel of driving, which, by the way, I learned was a totally different experience - thanks officer.
After much reflection, I keep coming back to Final Fantasy VI. I still remember the feeling of awe during the game’s famous opera scene. While games had been fun for years Final Fantasy VI showed me that games could be art. Final Fantasy IV had a plot, and a story, and a great ending, but the Opera Scene served the plot in a way I had never seen before. While Celes sang her aria, the leveling grind, the need to win, stat points and magic all faded and a “game” became an experience. It was pure magic. While the game didn’t make me into a developer, or a writer, or an artist, it did prove that incredible experiences could come from the most unexpected places. Final Fantasy VI didn’t change the direction of my life, but it made me a proud anime fan, watcher of horror movies, listener of speed metal. That moment in that game made me into the kind of enthusiast I am. I’d say that’s fairly influential.
It’s kind of hard to pick only one video game and say, “This game influenced my life!” only because I wasn’t influenced at all by a video game but as the whole industry itself. There was a time where I was the girl who liked watching other people play video games because frankly, I sucked so much if I tried, especially with first-person shooter games. If I played with you, I was always the “target” or I made you die with me while you were trying to save me. You won’t see me playing Halo or Gears of War anytime soon. So if I must, here’s a handful of games that might of influenced me in some way:
-Unreal Tournament 2004 - It’s a futuristic first-person shooter (FPS) game and I hated dying every time I played with others BUT what I loved playing with was the Unreal Engine. I was able to create and design new game levels from scratch that others can join in and play too. Many popular games that are out right now use this engine and many of you might have these games in your archive.
-Plants vs. Zombies - Destroying zombies is my kind of fun. Simple cute characters and graphics with strategic game play made this amazingly fun to play. The characters alone made me want to start drawing again.
-Black and White 2, Spores - We get to be masters of the universe and god-like at that. Played on high, the quality of the graphics are amazing on PC and you get to ultimately choose your own storyline. Which side do you belong in: Good or Evil? It’s up to you.
-Pikmin 1 and 2 - It’s categorized only as a real-time strategy (RTS) game but Pikmin also involved action AND adventure that not a lot of games had at the time this was released. Which leads me into Super Smash Bros - Learning about BOTH Pikmin and Super Smash Bros made these games more incredible. One of my teachers in school worked on both Super Smash Bros and Pikmin and the amount of energy he spent on describing the game play, the possibility of each character and etc… is priceless.
-Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - No one really showed me RTS games like Age of Empires, Command and Conquer, Warcraft, or Star Wars: Empire at War until a few years ago. I have grown a liking to this genre. I almost mastered Dawn of War to the point where I could compete with some of the hardcore RTS guys BUT if you play with me now, I’ll be super rusty and die as fast as you send your men out to get me.
-GTA4 and Saints Row - The entire environment for GTA4 is realistically incredible. Being able to create your own character on Saints Row is amazingly fun. The artwork for both however is awesome and being able to go around the city causing amok and chaos is my kind of fun.
There’s just so much more I could put down like Sims, Singles, Zelda, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Tetris, Doom, etc, but I can’t pick one game when all of these games somehow influenced me into the gaming industry (AND I don’t want to insult any of my friends that have worked on many of these titles). I never hated video games at all as a lot of people would assume back in the days. I just wasn’t shown any other genres that would interest me.
Disgaea influenced my life in more ways than one. It was the first tactical RPG that got me to spend many hours number crunching. The artwork/character design of Takehito Harada is incredible. His work has influenced most of my art creations. Disgaea is one of those gems that will make me smile everytime I play it.
At first I thought the answer to said question would be a no-brainer, especially to those who know me or have at least seen my right hand. But to be totally honest, I had never fully given total thought as to why the Legend of Zelda series has impacted my life as it has. The most concise answer I can give is that even though the stories each game tells predominately stick to the good vs evil vein, each entry came out at a time in my life where I either needed a diversion, a source of inspiration, a means of escaping certain harsh realities, or I just wanted to play a damn good game. Call it what you will - fate, coincidence, or maybe just dumb luck - but a new Zelda has always come out when I was in need of it. I had just never truly realized it until just now. I can look at my tattoos in a whole new light now.
With RPGs being my favorite genre, it only made sense that I had planned to write about either Suikoden or Final Fantasy 6 - both my 1a/1b favorite games of all time. Both having solidified my rapport with RPGs and affected my life at different times in my adolescence. Since thepatches chose to write about FF6, it saved me the trouble of choosing which of the two to write about. Suikoden it was…or so I thought. As the replies came in, I began to think about the question on a different level. Not what game has impacted my life, but rather, what game helped me actually become a gamer. I had to take it all the way back but the answer became clear and simple - Street Fighter 2.
The day I discovered Street Fighter 2 in my local laundry mat when I was 7, was the day I became a true gamer. I mean, I owned a Nintendo like most kids, but it was nothing but mere entertainment for me. My competitive nature was born that day at Wash n Dry. I stopped by everyday during that summer, cutting through quarters like a razor, until the place sold the machine to an arcade place across town. Within the next 2-3 years, I was a regular at every arcade joint in town and in neighboring towns. They called me ‘Kid’ because I was the only boy playing with men. And I became real good. Imagine this 3rd grader gaming it up with a bunch of high school students and adults, beating them fairly regularly. At times all I needed was 50 cents to last me a day. After SF2, there was Mortal Kombat 1+2, Virtua Fighters, Killer Instinct; I mastered them all. Eventually around the time MK3 came out, arcade gaming in general fizzled out due to the fact that all these games were making their way to the console. During that time I discovered FF3, Chrono Trigger, Secrets of Evermore, Mario RPG, etc. These brilliant titles changed my perspective on gaming forever. But I’ll never forget my roots - placing my quarter slightly above the joystick and waiting for my turn.