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My Gaming Story: Taking It For Granted - Destructoid

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The following blog is set for One Fall! Introducing first, he is the Hylian Champion! Winner of the Seven-Year Slam, making the Hylian Ring safer, one Powerbomb of Courage at a time!

AboveUp!





Started gaming on an Atari 2600, grew into the gamer I am now with Nintendo, playing on an NES and SNES. Became more aware of the wider scope of gaming through the Playstation and Xbox. Now I'm loving the PC gaming life.

My favorite games include A Link to the Past, Terranigma, Guilty Gear X2, Viewtiful Joe, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and DotA 2.

Huge comic book reader, and currently keeping up with Saga and Hawkeye.

My favorites are The Sandman Vol 4, Batman - Court of Owls, and V for Vendetta.

Lover of wrestling, although not so much of the infamous Attitude Era. Much of more a CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler kinda guy.

Life-long reader of books of the fictional and non-fictional variety. Love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Wendig and Haruki Murakami.

My biggest dream is that one day Quintet returns and makes a current generation Terranigma.

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Gaming has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Literally. In my earliest memories, video games already had a large presence. Not surprising, considering my family practically spoonfed it to me. While I was still a young kid with no idea of things like new releases, or an industry that churned out these things, gaming was a major theme in my life.

My mom, aunt, and grandmother were all gamers. They'd buy and rent the games they were into, and I got to play along with them. Several NES systems would float from household to household, as well as an Atari 2600. Later on an SNES would roam along, and it wasn't until that system started moving around the family that I'd begin to comprehend new systems and games were still coming out. This wasn't some magical thing that was just there at the push of a button, the way TV often felt with the endless reruns of shows that never seemed to end. This was something that was actually moving forward and changing, evolving.

And I took it all for granted.

There never really was a moment I can turn to and say "This is the moment that games enchanted me." or "The instantly familiar tune of X changed everything forever."



No matter how far back I try to remember things, gaming had already been there and paved its digital way into my consciousness. There's a good chance I'd already beaten the first Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda before the events of my earliest memory. And my earliest memory doesn't have much of a trace of gaming in it: we were on our way to my aunt's place. I am sure already had an SNES at this point in time.

When I finally got my N64, I was so happy, I literally ran through the house yelling and screaming. You can draw lines with the infamous Nintendo Sixty-Foooour kid, because chances are I wasn't too different at the time. Hearing Mario's voice for the first time was absolutely magical. The jump to 3D with the N64 and seeing all these familiar characters with a whole new dimension to them was one of my all-time high moments in gaming. Something that became even more incredible when The Legend of Zelda made this jump in Ocarina of Time.



The 32/64 bit generation was the first one to really make me believe in the magic of it all. Finally being in charge of which games I could get for the consoles that, for the first generation for me, were actually owned by me changed everything. There were a lot of games I'd always wanted back on the SNES or NES, but my only way to getting them was either by borrowing them from a friend or renting them. Buying was something my mom would do, but that wasn't entirely a bad thing. She'd buy games like Faxanadu, Castlevania, and Legend of Zelda. Going straight for the adventure games, good one at that. In the meantime I'd go for action games, and looking back at some of the games I enjoyed, not all of them were really good.

Still, despite this new power to get my own games, I largely took gaming for granted. Then again, how could I not? It had been a constant in my life. There was never a moment in my life where games weren't a driving force or important aspect of it.

After a while, I kind of lost interest in video games. I put my controller down, buried my consoles, and moved on with my life. Instead I went out every weekend, started reading more books, exercised more, got more involved in comics, started writing more... I went for a less of gaming, more of everything else approach to things.

I also spiraled into a massive depression.

Truth is, I'd already been suffering from one before I quit gaming altogether. But without my most familiar form of escapism, it became a lot more obvious. The others things I started doing, I did because those were all things I'd always wanted to do them. Things I never had the time to do because gaming took up all my free time. I started building up some more self esteem and learned to love myself. Then I took another good look at my life and what was missing. The answer was obvious.

As much as I loved going out, every weekend felt like too much. I limited myself to going out monthly instead. I doubled exercise with watching some of the TV shows I'd picked up because it's not too hard to focus on most shows while moving around. Instead of reading both comics and books, I kept switching back and forth between graphic novels and books, never reading them at the same time. That way, I managed to carve some time for gaming into my life.



There were some differences in my approach this time around though. Since I wasn't just playing them to escape reality anymore, I had a bigger drive to make progress in them. As a kid, I never made an effort to beat any games. As an adult, I try to reach the ending of every game I enjoy. Even going back to a large amount of games from my past. Having read more books, comics, and learned to look at things more critically, I've also taken a larger interest in how games work, what their mechanics are, how they tell their story. I might be back doing the same-old, but the way I've approached them is different entirely.



Surprisingly, one of the games that taught me how differently I approached games now is the Assassin's Creed series. I love these games, despite being able to acknowledge how much is wrong with them, both from a storytelling and gameplay perspective. It's one of the few series where they actually found a compelling reasoning behind the gamification of the presentation with a form of logic that I could accept.

I know it sounds weird, to outline the effect a game as Assassin's Creed had in the realization of what it gaming means to me in a story that started off with an Atari 2600, but that series really helped me look at gaming in a different way. Since playing through the first two games and Brotherhood, I've been on a journey to play all sorts of games I might have missed out on, as well as games I want to refresh upon to get a better understanding of them in general. This has lead me to a lot of PC games I'd never played, like Deus Ex, System Shock 2, and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. But it also brought me to a lot of modern indie games I'd have previously brushed off as trying too hard, like Limbo or Thomas Was Alone.

With all the new things I am experiencing in old and new games alike, I don't feel like my gaming story is anywhere near done either. Which is a good feeling, because so long as there are still things out there that can change my perspective on gaming and everything around it, I can still feel this media format is alive.



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