I’ve loved video games since I was a child, they’ve been a part of me since childhood. Literally. When I was little, it was pure coincidental when I first got my hands on a NES console (Nintendo Entertainment System). From what I remember, my cousin was moving into a house or flat and a NES was left behind. Neither my Mum or my cousin wanted it, they had no use for it and I was a kid so it was passed on to me.
One of the first games that I remember playing was this game called Duck Hunt. You had this orange and grey plastic gun and the goal was to shoot ducks that appeared on the screen, whilst a dog would pop up in the centre and chuckle at you occasionally (from what I remember). One of the first games that I really got into though was Super Mario Bros 3. I was immersed into this game, each level and world, a new, innovative and colourful adventure. I owned quite a few of the really old consoles. The SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), the Sega Genesis. I had a whale of time playing through some of the games that I had in my possession, Sonic The Hedgehog, Donkey Kong Country, Streets of Rage….this was the beginning of my love for video games.
I don’t really remember how I came into possession of the Playstation 1 console. I do remember my Mum taking me to HMV occasionally so I could browse around and buy any PS1 games that took my fancy. One of the games I liked the look of was a game called Grandia. It’s not particularly well known, but it holds a special place in my heart. It was my first experience of the RPG genre, otherwise known as Role-Playing Game. For those not familiar with this video game genre, it’s a game with a heavily focused story and often a ‘save the world’ type plot. The world in which you play in is intricate and well defined with characters you come to know and love (or hate) during the course of the game. You play as the main character. Over time you build up a party of characters that help you fight the bad guys and eventually save the world. These games are usually quite long, about 60+ hours or so. It’s basically just a reaaaaally long, interactive film.
You have to really invest your time in playing these types of games, but what I love about RPG’s is that you can easily become immersed in the world, the characters and the story. It’s not hard, considering the fact that you are controlling your character and spending an X amount of hours on the game itself. You can often make choices on how your character responds, or look for little optional things in the game, which can sometimes uncover an optional story or character. There’s more time for character development as well because of how long the games are.
Grandia was one of the first games I fell inlove with, but I think it was the Final Fantasy series that really came to inspire me. If you know anything about video games you will probably know of Final Fantasy. The one game that I think helped to trigger my aspirations to write stories is Final Fantasy X.
It’s one of those games that stayed with me long after I finished it. It had this impact on me. It affected me. You know when you become really invested in something, when you become invested into the characters and the world and the story. When certain things happen, you find yourself becoming affected by it. There were moments where I cried of happiness and then of sadness. I genuinely cared about the characters and what happened to them. I wanted the main character, Tidus and other main character Yuna to live happily ever after. The world felt real to me. It was.
It was strange. I had never experienced that sort of thing before in a game. Games are fun to play, but they can also be another means to tell a story and the story is one of the things I loved the most about that game.
There are a couple of other RPG’s that also inspire me, but I think it really started with Final Fantasy X. When I was 16 and still in high school, I spent lunch writing the synopsis of a story over the course of 2 days. I have mentioned this in a previous blog post, but the thing is, the synopsis I ended up writing was heavily inspired by Final Fantasy X. It inspired me to write in the fantasy genre, to write something that would impact me as much as that game did, to create interesting, in depth characters, to unlock the portal to my imagination, to think large scale.
It’s hard to think if I would still be passionate about writing, or the type of stories I would write if I never had video games in my life.