I couldn't really participate in last month's Musings, but after listening to Podtoid and hearing what this one was about I had to chime in after reading other C-Blogs and having similar experiences. But I think some back story is needed, and my gaming affair starts a little differently, with a system called the Commodore 64.
When I was about 6 years old, a family tragedy rocked my life. My Mom, ever persistent to keep me and my brother's life upbeat, decided a computer of sorts would keep occupied. See, my Mom didn't know too much about gaming(now she owns a DS), and it was always synonymous with computers to her. So she purchased a C64, thinking it would allows us to learn and play some education games here and there. My brother and I were perplexed by this machine. Here all our friends were gaming with the NES and we were stuck with this hunk of silicon and plastic.
My brother abandoned the system in favor of a sports life, but I decided to stick with it. I knew there was something underneath this mystery, and I wanted to unlock its secrets. After tooling around with it, I found out how to boot the floppy disks it came with, which were unlabeled mind you, and found some interesting programs. I had a word processing program, some sort of spreadsheet program, and a mystery program which I didn't comprehend. But the next set of floppy's unveiled what I was looking for.
Games like Spy Hunter, Caveman Games, Ghostbusters, and Movie Monster Game(the sold contributor to my movie monster addiction.) But the most intriguing game was Metal Gear. Metal Gear was the game I played into the night, wanting to learn what this game was about and how to play it. It was an mystery. A game that didn't want me to shoot tons of bad guys, but avoid them and fight with my brain. Needless to say I beat the game, many months later, but it was still a memorable experience.
Gaming was always something that I was always one generation behind. While I was playing the C64, my friends had the NES. When I had a NES, my friends had the Super Nintendo and the Genesis. This was mostly attributed to my families financial troubles, but also educated me on the classics. On my 15th birthday though, I received a Playstation. I was ecstatic, finally I was playing what my friends were, and could participate in conversations, not reduced to discussing the Minus World, while everyone was talking about how awesome Final Fantasy VII was.
I was allowed one game with my shiny new PSX, and after intense thought...I spotted Metal Gear Solid.
I wasn't sure if this was a sequel to that old C64 game I played, but after scanning the back, and seeing a lone hero take on a tank, I had to play it. I frantically rushed home to pop the CD into my system, hoping I made a good choice.
It would turn out to be the best gaming choice I made in my life.
Before MGS, I never took a game as anything more than, save the princess or get the most amount of points. They were always diversions to me. But MGS changed that. Here was a game that showed me video games could be art. A cinematic experience. Something that I could get emotional over. When I played MGS, I didn't feel disconnected. I felt like I was Solid Snake. I got into it. I was going to save the world, and stop Liquid. I was going to destroy Metal Gear. I almost talked to the TV. Everything about this game was superb. Voice acting, cinemas, story, game play. I couldn't put it down.
The game also holds the distinction of making me get teary. The death of Grey Fox made me angry at Liquid. Sniper Wolf's death made wonder what I was really doing here in Shadow Moses, and Naomi imparting the story of Frank Jaeger made me sit up and empathize. And let's not forget Psycho Mantis. I truly wondered how he knew what kind of gamer I was.
After the masterful ending of Metal Gear Solid, I was turned around. I believed that games could be something more. This was no accident. I began to reach out to this medium. I began to see games in a different light. I saw them as a story telling medium, and this truth holds till today. My favorite games all have excellent stories in my opinion, with memorable characters and events. I'm always looking for the next great story in games. I began to learn game director's names and follow my favorites from game to game, like an avid reader does to an author. I felt these men and women had great stories inside of them, and I wanted to be there for it.
And it's all thanks to this man.
I have to thank him for getting me into gaming in a hardcore sense. Without his wonderful series, I probably wouldn't be playing games, and he is the only person I would get star struck meeting. Whatever game he makes next, I'll be there for it, while I think back to that moment, that he showed me games aren't something to be thrown away.