Thought I'd write out some thoughts and share it. No real point to this rambling, but I'd be glad to hear some comments.
Let's get a few things out of the way first. I'm not a writer, nor am I especially knowlegeable or well read. I don't blog, this will probably be my one and only go at it. (Maybe :3)
Let's kick this nonsense off.
My history with games. My first console was a Sega Mega Drive, can't really remember much about it except for "Castle of Illusion" with Mickey Mouse and of course Sonic 1 and 2. I then got a SNES from my Dad, with a wide mixture of games. All from "Tiny Toon Wacky Sports" to "Super Mario World." I later bought an Nintendo 64 with such classics like "Banjo-kazooie" and "Worms Armageddon." Not the greatest games, I know, but back then I really didn't care. And then I bought a Playstation 2, that's when it al started for me. My only Playstation experience prior to it was watching my friend play some Final Fantasy game, which one I can't remember. But the Playstation 2 was excellent. This is where I was emotionally invested in a game for the first time, but more on that later. My next console was Xbox 360, which I still play (Duh.) I later bought a Wii in '08, but sold it early '10. Not because it was a bad console or anything, I just didn't play it. Although I still get this urge to play some Mario or Donkey Kong.
Where do I stand today? All of my older consoles are gone. My Mega Drive got thrown out when we moved, my SNES got stolen, my N64 got lost, I think it got thrown out. I still got my PS2 and most of my games for it, too. I don't play it though. But I've got fond memories of it. I'm mainly a PC gamer nowadays. Although I really like my 360 and I do play it quite often. I would like a PS3, but most of the games that come out are crossplatform so the only reason I'd buy a PS3 is for the exclusives, which are great, don't get me wrong. But it's alot of money. Now that might sound kinda silly from someone who claims to be a PC gamer, I know. But yeah, enough about that.
So what kind of games do I play? Nowadays I play almost anything that looks fun. Although I'm not very fond of car games, with the exception of Mario Cart-esk titles, or sport games. I think my favorite genre is point-and-click games. Well, sort of. Sam and Max are brilliant, so is the Monkey Island series. So much fun. My least favorite are open world sandbox games. Don't get me wrong, Just Cause 2 was great, had a ton of fun. Red Dead Redemtion was fun, but not as great as most people say. Now, why do I not like sandbox games? It's hard for me to explain, if I'm completely honest. I get the appeal, I really do, but to me it's too much freedom. Like GTA for instance, there's not alot happening in the world unless you're doing a mission, gosh, I don't know. Something like that. Not for me, in any case.
(Achievement unlocked!) You've read this far! This'll sound a bit ranty, I'm sure, but that's fine. I'll just hope I get my point across. Achievements in games are fun. I'm no achievement hunter myself, but if you do something cool and get awarded for that, that's great. And that's the thing. Most achievements are so basic and/or ridiculously easy to get. I'm talking of course about the "Beating a Chapter" ones or what not, that's not an achievement in my eyes. I mean, I guess technically it is, but do you really feel like you achieved something special? In my opinion, there should be more "crazy" achievements. I recently completed "Dead Space 2" on Zealot difficulty with only my Plasma Cutter, I got nothing for it. And that's what I'm trying to get at, there should be achievements for more stuff off the beaten path. It's not that big-a-deal, I know. But I think people should be rewarded for doing things more challenging to themselfs. For example, if I take down that extra hard Dragon in an RPG with only my starter wooden sword and no other gear. Now that I call an achievement. so TD;LR, Less "basic" achievements, like completing the first chapter on easy, and more achievements that are off the beaten path.
A game made you feel something? BUT IT'S A CHILDS TOY! So I guess this is the main event I wanted to talk about. Games as a medium. I'm no movie buff or a book worm, although both can be quite enjoyable. If something, I'm a metalhead and I adore music. But that's neither here nor there, what I'm trying to say is that games are the most powerful medium out there for telling a story. If done right, you feel connected to the story and characters, you care for them even. There are so many ways to do it, too. The writers can make the story for you and you follow along and root for your favorite characters. And in some cases you shape the story, you are the main character and you are in their world.
Like I mentioned previously, it was back in the PS2 era that I was first emotionally invested in a game, and that made me completely fall for this type of storytelling. I guess it was two games, but we'll talk about one of them, "Kingdom Hearts." My friends tease me for it even to this day. I know, I know. Just like movies and books, not every game is for everyone, but it struck a chord with me. And, uh, I guess *spoiler* warning unless you played it? Here we go. (I'm paraphrasing here, so sorry if I get something wrong)
So you start out as Sora, a kid on a desert island. With a bunch of his friends (But only Kairi and Riku matter to him? *shrug*) They, as in Sora, Riku and Kairi, want to leave the island on a raft and explore the world. But as luck would have it, their world gets destroyed by the heartless, a sort of heart-eating monster, and they get split up. And so begins the adventure and you have to find your friends.
Now, I was pretty used to happy endings at the time and had no freaking idea of how sharp of a turn this game would take on me. After defeating the final boss, which had 5 phases I think, you need to close the door to "Kingdom Hearts," which has the heart to all worlds in it. This is where you find Riku, on the other side of the door, and he helps you close it, but he's left behind. After the door is closed, all the worlds that were destroyed by the heartless return again so Kairi returns to their island, but not Sora, who's still wants to find Riku.
Ugh, I wish I could write a better summary. But that's about it, I left out alot of character development, too. So basiclly, Sora went on this grand adventure, fighting off monsters and bad guys only to be snubbed at the finishline. I cried. I cried for Sora. what a terrible, terrible way to end all he fought for. (This is why I'm so sad to see this series get so waterd down with no real sequals and a continuously polluted story.)
I also wanted to talk about something a book or a movie couldn't do. Side storys and collectables. While I played the game I'm about to talk about, I had a little trouble of coming to terms with my own mortality, and this actually made me feel better about it. In the game "Lost Odyssey" (One of the better turn based games in the last decade, just FYI) there's this little story. If you don't know, the game is about Kaim, an immortal warrior who's lived for a thousand (?) years. Again, I wept. This was so touching to me, so sad. In no other medium can you get backstory, tidbits or more content for simply exploring the world you're in.
It's hard to put all the feelings into words, hope I made a fairly decent job at it. (Really hope I didn't come off as a doucher, I really didn't mean to if that's the case.) The world of gaming can be such a beautiful place to be in. I've laugh with (at) York Morgan in "Deadly Premention," I've cried at the loss of friends in "Kingdom Hearts" and covered in fear in "Amnesia: the dark descent." If done properly, it's more than engaging, it's an adventure and an experience.
(Also, any pointers to make a better blog would be great, incase I decide to make another one.)