Friday, May 24, 2019

Video Games And Me

Here I sit trying to write up a review on Detective Pikachu, and I am finding myself at a loss for thought towards it.  It is a motivation issue to write it.  Rest assured, the non-motivation problem is not due to a poor review.  I happen to be on vacation, and when one is on vacation, it is difficult to think of anything beyond relaxing, alcohol, food, and more relaxing.  Simultaneously, I have the knowledge that I have committed myself to write at least one article for my page each week.  So the question comes, what do I do to motivate myself to write something?  Anything!

The way I figure, beyond a straightforward synopsis describing me on this page, none of you really know much about me.  Where do I come from?  How did I become this amazing nerd that you all love following?  What are the secrets of life, love, and the universe?  Well, I have a lot of answers for all of these the universe question.  Then I have to ask myself, where is the best place to start on this journey without turning this into a book about a random guy?  The beginning, of course!

My nerd life began right around the age of 6-7 when my mother had purchased an IBM computer.  Oh, yea!  It was old school as hell, and I loved it.  This was back in the day before Windows 3.1.  I grew up on the old DOS system.  Commands to launch applications.  Rather than have the software installed, you had to use a disk to open the software.  The only thing the computer was good for was saving your files onto.  Simpler, yet more difficult times!  I can't imagine what would happen to some of you reading that are younger than that generation.  If I told you to simply open MS Word, you would probably lose your minds!

Image result for pharaohs tomb game
Pharaoh's Tomb - By Abandonware

My fondest memory was a game called Pharaoh's Tomb.  We did not have a color monitor, so I had to play in black and white.  My world was devoid of color, but I was looking for every reason and excuse to play that game.  The game itself was nothing super special; a side scroller/puzzle game.  You spend your time navigating tombs, collecting coins/artifacts, and avoiding a variety of traps.  It was simple but incredibly challenging for a kid my age.  Thus began my obsession...

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Duke Nukem - Apogee Software
A few years passed and I moved up to my aunt's computer which had Windows 3.1 and a color monitor!  I was no longer trapped in the twilight zone, and she had a fresh batch of new games.  My aunt fed my addiction with a consistent stock of games for a few years.  Wolfenstein 3D, OG Duke Nukem (back when it was a side-scroller), and Commander Keen (every release) became the friends I did not have in the real world.  They guided me on adventures the likes I would never live, and so my imagination continued to take off.

By Source, Fair use,
Final Fantasy VI - SquareSoft
As the years progressed, so did my gaming experiences.  I played a lot of games on the PC as it was the most accessible to me for a while.  My parents eventually bought an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and the console revolution of my life began.  SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) came into my life and changed how I started absorbing games.  Years of side-scrolling adventures had not prepared me for the fantastic journey provided in a JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game).  Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, and Phantasy Star showed me a world of in-depth storytelling in fantasy worlds.  As an avid fantasy reader, these continued to fuel my imagination and blast me off to places I had never imagined.

When you grow up in rural Montana in the '90s, you are not exposed to a lot of amazing things.  I continued growing without my parents being able to afford the next few generations of gaming systems.  My best friend was the dealer with all the options for my addiction.  Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and N64 were the highlights of birthday parties.  A time when we had to rent a game system and only a handful of games from the blockbuster located an hours drive from where we lived.

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Star Ocean:  The Second Story - Enix
Eventually, my parents were able to afford the original PlayStation system when it came out, and Final Fantasy VII took me to the next evolution of gaming and my nerd personality.  One of the main reasons that it will always be locked in my mind as one of the best in the Final Fantasy series.  Star Ocean:  The Second Story, Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Mana, Tomb Raider, and many more were my summers and escapism from the rage of my father.

Once I was old enough to get a job, I started getting my own systems.  I was able to get the PS2 slim, and I have since bought every system to come out over the years.  I could continue a diatribe of the games I played for each system, but I think you get the point.  Games were my imagination fuel, my escapism from a broken home, and the only social tool I had to make friends.  I was the weird nerdy kid, and only a handful of people followed me on that journey.

Many other nerdy things were happening in my life while growing up, but video gaming became the thing that defined me early on and still defines me today.  I stayed true to myself, and I have not let anyone deter me from it or belittle me for it.  We are now finding ourselves in a world where "nerd" is much more globally accepted, and I am genuinely thankful for it.  I welcome my former haters to the fold and sincerely hope they find what I found so many years ago.

Well, there it is.  How I came into this world of gaming and nerd culture.  It might not be the most exciting story you have read today, but it is my story.  It will always be the most essential part of who I am, and I thank you for taking the time to share in this part of myself.  As time goes on, I will continue gaming, and I will also continue sharing about myself.  Pieces such as this will not always be about this, but I hope they keep giving you insight and a reason to follow me!

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