Finding Meaning in our Games

Friday, September 26, 2008
For every gamer there is a game that defined their interest in games. A single title that above and beyond all others stays foremost in our minds. Whatever the game, there are a myriad of reasons why it holds such a lofty position. It could be the first game to resonate with you, it could have helped you through a difficult time, it could just be the most fun you've ever had. I'd like to open a dialogue with our readers with this post. What game or games hold that kind of meaning for you? I'll start things off.

First of all, I have to talk about X-Com. I know you've all heard it from me before but X-Com was my gateway into gaming. Not a day goes by that I don't think of it fondly. Something about the depth of the gameplay and the challenge the game presented suck me in like no other game ever had. I spent hours researching new technologies, building bases, etc. I even took copious notes on my results. Unlike other games, defeat didn't frustrate me, instead I felt as though I had learned something. I'd been beaten fair and square.

Today I'm still looking for a little of X-Com in every strategy game I play. With Take 2 buying the rights to the series, I might not have to look much longer.

While X-Com got me into games, there is another that holds an equal although different kind of meaning to me. Shadow of the Colossus really cemented a lot of things for me. At the time of it's release, I was dealing with the loss of someone very close to me. The player character from that game shared the same heartbreak that I did. I felt so determined throughout the game to finish my task and bring the girl back to life. In the end, the game actually helped me let go.

Beyond that, Shadow of The Colossus cemented a deep passion for games. Because of the deep emotional attachment I had to the games protagonist I felt more attuned to games as a whole. I felt what a video game character felt. I endured the same trials as my on screen counterpart. Games weren't just entertainment anymore. They meant something to me, they were a lifestyle. A lifestyle that helped me to get to where I am now.

I owe a lot to the games I play. I can trace a lot of life lessons and skills back to games. Monkey Island taught me to laugh at games. Shogun Total War taught me the importance of strategy and got me reading the Art of War. Professor Layton taught me to think things through. Metroid showed me it didn't matter who was under the suit. Medal of Honor taught me the meaning of sacrifice. Syndicate taught me patience. Team Fortress taught me teamwork. The list goes on. I'm sure your list is equally long. So please, share a few of them here.