Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It's a gamer kind of thing.

Not me, but close enough
From the time I was born until the present day I have been gaming. I mean really, I was practically given a controller at birth. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t enjoying video games in my life and I don’t ever expect it to go away. It’s part of who I am. And in this time of play there have been many a games that have graced my path through life. Some have impacted me more than others and every once and a while I go back and play through them. Whether for nostalgia’s sake or just for the fun of it, those games are a blast every time I play them. Within recent years there have been a huge lack of games that have made that lasting impact on me. I don’t think it’s just because I’ve gotten older and more mature, but I think it’s just the lack of quality and originality that’s being put into these more current/mainstream games.

To start, I’m a Nintendo/PC guy. The NES was the first console my family owned and I can’t deny that it is my favorite console. I have grown so very fond of that piece of hardware over the years even as newer and beefier consoles have rolled out. I still own one to this day (as to it being the original I owned, I don’t know, but I’d like to think it is) and it’s still kickin’ it 23 years later! Iconic legends like Mario, Link, Samus and Donkey Kong all came out of this era along with so many more. To me, these legends mean more to me than some real people. If they disappeared I think I would feel a void in my being. Like some had been deleted from who I am and I don’t know if I would be able to replace it because they mean that much to me. It’s sad, but oh so true. Video games have had that big of an impact on me that if one of video games’ most loved characters left I would probably go nuts and throw a tantrum of confusion.

Kinda like this, just not knowing whether to shove a splinter up my finger nail or to slam a book  on my pinky toe. That kind of confusion.

I’ve always said video games are analogous to a good book, cartoon, TV show or movie and I still hold true to that statement. What would happen if, out of nowhere, Harry Potter never existed? What about Darth Vader? The Simpsons? I’d even go as far as, dare I say it, Mickey Mouse? These icons of our life have been engraved into what our society is today. I’ve never met someone that has never heard of the The Lord of the Rings. Never. Now has everyone read the books? Nope. Now I’m going out on a limb here and say that over 80% of the people that have heard about the books or have seen the movies have never actually read the story. I’m one of them, and yet everyone knows about the little hairy-foot boy who had to take the ring that made you invisible to the volcano to be destroyed. That kind of, “Oh yeah, everyone knows about that, who doesn’t?”, kind of stuff is what I’m talking about. If Mario never was a part of my life, it’s like all of that stuff was never a part of anyone’s life. Boom. Take it!....Ok, well you don’t have to, but just think about it for a sec.

That’s a long description to help people understand the scope at what I’m talking about here. This is a big deal for me. Now let’s proceed to what I’m trying to get at.

Video games are awesome. Pure and simple like peanut butter and jelly, just awesome stuff. It’s what I do to release myself from the day to day stuff and delve into a different world for a bit. Not that I don’t like this world we live in, but that it’s fun to imagine a world slightly different than our own. Imagination, I feel, is key to living an enjoyable life. It’s one of life’s greatest treasures and one of our minds greatest tools. In a video game you can use your imagination to its full potential. I remember being a young lad playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and thinking, “Man it would be awesome to be a turtle that fights bad guys with a nun chuck, while eating pizza!” No way in heck would that be something I just thought about if I would’ve just stuck to playing with some dirt outside. I mean that’s some pretty cool stuff! And I was 4!...maybe 5! Still, after so many years, that imagination has stuck with me. As video games have gotten better looking due to graphic improvements and have gotten larger as consoles and PC’s have become more powerful, the immersiveness (not a word) of video games have only enhanced that imagination.

The past couple of months have been a trial and error period with some games I’ve played. I don’t remember it being this hard to find a game I liked back in the day, but it’s been difficult. Some I’ve stuck with for the story and others have become a quick fix for some fun. But what has been the most enjoyable out of all of these has been a game that many have called an utter failure due to the disgusting amount of bugs and problems found within it. It’s been panned by others as being too cliché of the RPG genre and it has also been called a sellout to the casual gamer. In all honesty, I love this game. I have seen nothing but pure geniusness put into this game and I have never had a dull moment. This game is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
What this game has done for me is similar to games of the past. It has somewhat of an Ocarina of Time/Halo CE/ Splinter Cell/ Metroid Prime/ Mario 64 and, which is a given, Morrowind feel to it. It’s just pure game playing bliss. The soundtrack alone can put you into a joyful baby coma. I just get swept away by its moving melodies and haunting Nordic chants. The first time you step out into the world of Skyrim the screen melts your brains capacity to believe. “Can a game be this beautiful?” your eyes ask and your brain responds, “Si señor”…well at least mine does, it’s bilingual. I wish I could describe in a written form how amazing this game is. It would take me days to explain the intricacies of what makes this game so enjoyable to play. Really it’s the little things that pop out at me as being a masterpiece. I’m one that pays attention to the little details of games and this game takes the cake. The cake of “OH MY LANTA THIS GAME IS BEAUTIFUL!! LOOK AT THAT BUTTERFLY, IT HAS ITTY BITTY DESIGNS ON IT THAT LOOK LIKE CHRISTMAS!!!”. It’s a great cake indeed. Real talk though, this game is great. I hope everyone can play this game that likes to be alive.
This is what it feels like to play Skyrim when dragons appear.  You just gotta book it brah!

I know I said that I’m a Nintendo guy and explained to you what those Nintendo characters mean to me, but I also said I was a PC guy. There are some magnificent games on the PC that have done to me what Nintendo has done to me. Skyrim is one of those games. It being a more current game also makes this even more important. I said at the beginning that there is a lack of quality games in the gaming market and there definitely is. In my book of video game greatness though, Skyrim is easily in the top 10. Will I spit out those other top 10 at this time, nopers, but I will in the future. This post was just to get my creative juices going and to show that I kinda like video games. Would some people say I’m obsessed, most likely. Do I think I am, nah. The stereotypical gamer doesn’t really line up with who I am. I play for enjoyment, imagination, for the untainted happiness of what my childhood consisted of. It’s that pure joy that brings me back to gaming. To me it’s a perfect blend of all things pertaining to entertainment. I would never put it in front of my own relationships with the people I love, but I would never bury it and let it rot like a forgotten carton of cottage cheese in the back of a backup refrigerator in a musty garage. Like I said it’s part of me and every now and again another fire is lit within me to continue playing and Skyrim has done just that.
Fur reals, play it
“Forget that it’s a video game, that this is an entertainment experience of virtually unlimited possibilities. Where it’s there for you to take it where you want to go and as you do those things it will surprise you and reward you for what you’re doing.” – Todd Howard on the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

<!--[if !supportLists]-->-          <!--[endif]-->I’ll probably talk more about my experiences with Skyrim in the future. This is just a, how I feel about Skyrim and games in general, spiel. Thought I should just get my ramblings out now before I forget them!

1 comment:

  1. I think you might have stolen the words out of my mouth and placed them in a blog.. I think the main thing that some video games miss nowadays is that they focus too much on graphical capabilities, yes Skyrim is a beautiful game and is it very nice to see how far games have come in the last 30 years, but there is something that Skyrim has (as well as other games), and that is an EXCELLENT soundtrack. To be honest Resident Evil 4 isn't THAT scary of a game, but the sounds, and music that plays in the village still plays in the back of my mind to this day. And even though Skyrim is one of the best games I've ever played I'm not sure that I would want to invest another 100-200 hours into it if it didn't have incredible music. The fact that it "feels" and "Sounds" like I am running through a creepy village in Spain in RE4, or that I am sprinting through the beautiful groves of Tamriel.. Is just amazing. And I know those who have played Skyrim, Oblivion and even Morrowind have had those moments where you just look up into the sky (at night especially) and it seems almost real, and I think not only the Graphical capabilities have added to that but beautiful soundtracks as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtcxIq5MONs Music is not only there to fill a void of a game that would be empty without it but it ADDS to a game. Mario wouldn't be the same without his original 8-bit theme, and the same goes for Legend of Zelda; both of those games have gotten to the fame that they are because they have amazing composers that can take a person from the real world and make them feel like they are in the Mushroom Kingdom or Hyrule. Games that are great at this are all of the Pokémon games, just about every boy who was born from 1987-95 remembers when they beat the Elite 4 the first time in Pokémon Yellow/Red/Blue.. Your Pokémon were all nearly dead, and then you hear that you have to face your rival who is the champion!? And then THIS music plays
    You might as well just give up!!!
    You just don't forget music like that. I think music does stuff to video games that a "Cool Character", "Great Gameplay", or "Amazing Graphics" cannot. and when you combine all of those things together you get a game like Skyrim, RE4, Halo (Yes, ALL of them), and Metroid Prime and pretty much all of the Pokémon games (just to name a few).