Nick Valdez, 23, chick flick lover. I'm an Editor over at the awesometastic Flixist (but I like vidyagamez too guies for realsies), currently attending a college to get educated, and trying to have just an overall fine time.
Favorite Game: Pokemon Gold.
Favorite Category: Gummy Bears.
Favorite Console: Game Boy Color.
Favorite Generation: That one time I owned video games.
Favorite Childhood Memory: When I bought my second Super Nintendo back from the pawn shop and was able to keep it forever.
In my family we subscribe to the "ignore it and it goes away" philosophy. When my father struggled with lymphoma, I didn't react. When my mother nearly died due to a flesh eating virus, nothing. When my uncle died, nothing. When my sister lost her ability to have children, nothing. I struggled for years due to my lack of feelings. I "lived" day in day out with a fear that I might have been a sociopath. What the hell was wrong with me? Was I a monster?
Turns out, I wasn't completely right.
You see, I've never played a Persona (let alone an JRPG with a sizeable time investment other than Pokemon) game until a few weeks back when I finally experienced Persona 4 Golden. And...I'm so glad I took the plunge.
Persona 4 Golden introduced me to Shadows and Personas, or otherwise known as the Id and the Ego. A shadow is a physical manifestation of a person's inner struggles and desires. Their doubts, envy, rage, insecurity, every feeling that was cast aside and ignored. A Persona forms when all of those hidden struggles are subdued by the Ego, and that Persona becomes an entity that helps fight against the further development of those desires.
As I slogged through more and more dungeons, the very definition of those two entities swirled through my mind. As far as I've known, personas are guises. When someone adapts a persona, they are hiding themselves from others as they become someone else. I can go as far to say that every time I play a videogame, I am taking the life of another person for my own. That's especially true in Persona 4 when you become the super popular main character who every guy wants to be and every girl wants to be with. As much as I began enjoying Persona 4's story, I was scared to continue. Scared that the deeper I threw myself into the story and its main character, the more I would lose aspects of myself.
Persona 4 makes developing relationships with others the most important facet of the story. As the caricatures of the story slowly became fully fleshed out characters, I couldn't help but wish that life's relationships were that easy to develop. I wish there were a set amount of conversation options to choose from in order to fully develop a relationship. I wish there was an easier way to get closer to people. I wished I could ignore those relationships for days on end, yet start each conversation like I never left...and then I met Kanji
Kanji was a scared, confused child who threw himself wholeheartedly into his manhood. In order to avoid looking feminine, he performed his masculinity in a grandiose matter. His "persona" was of the tough punk who took no guff from nobody. Yet...it wasn't enough to hide himself from everyone. As I formed a bond with him, I found out his "true self" was nothing more than a Shadows, an Id. Kanji was a bundle of confused sexuality, yet I couldn't save him. I merely helped him change his mask (as his Shadow "evolved" into a Persona). I was disappointed I couldn't help him more, I was ashamed of myself. I just couldn't figure out why.
And then it hit me. Kanji was just a version of myself. He was one of my personas. The more I spoke to Kanji, the more the sudden realization made sense. I've had problems with my sexuality in the past also. There was a time where I thought I was a homosexual, but soon discovered I was mistaken. I just grew up in an environment so damn obtuse that the things I loved could only be loved by a gay man. What made matters worse was that I had crippling self esteem issues. I'm not the most attractive of men, and it bothered the utter crap out of me. It was a terrible life experience. I had trouble talking to others, making friends, I thought I was gay and ugly, and I couldn't pull myself out of it. That's when I decided to fake it.
I created a new me and donned a persona that was like everyone else. I pretended to laugh at jokes that weren't funny, pretended to enjoy the things I despised, and ultimately pretended I didn't hate myself all the while. I wasn't happy, and it was hard faking happiness. Through the mutilation of my personality, I died on the inside. I was no longer able to process the right emotions at the right time. It was almost as if my heart died. This carried on for years until I eventually forgot about it. I guess that my guise became the real me. Then this magical, yet simple game forced me to look inside myself.
Immersing myself completely into the main character, meeting the children of Inaba and their struggles, and watching Kanji remove his false persona all brought those memories rushing back to me. I was forced to relive my past for a few brief moments. I had to accept my false guise, my Shadow, my true feelings. Except...I still don't know what those are. I've been away from them for so long, I have no idea where to even look for them. But I have a support system now. Through the years I had some friends see through my false guise and accept me for the confused individual I am.
Though I still have a ways to go on my journey, I have at least accepted the darker parts of myself. Does that mean I get a Persona also? Do I get that special guardian that helps keep my heart safe from the darker desires? If I do get a Persona, and it is a reflection of myself, what does it look like?
Hey everyone, I've been a semi-longtime reader (since about 09-10, whatever), but I've never really commented or involved myself with the community in any notable capacity. And that my friends (are we friends? I sure hope so), is just plain wrong. All of you are great and I internet love the lot of you. I think I commented once or something, and wrote a single blog a bit ago, but that's because I'm not entirely confident in my vidjagamez writing.
What I do know, very well I might add, is movies. I'm an Editor over at Flixist where I get to write about "chick flicks." I've been there officially since July (but lurked in that community for well longer), and at one point had erotic fanfiction written about me. I have to admit, it is pretty boss for realsies.
I'm in my final semester of collegio and getting my Bachelor's degree in English and Communications in December. As that part of my life comes to end, I feel like I'm stuck in an airport terminal like Tom Hanks was in that one movie. While I'm trying to figure all of that out, I want to try my hand at other writing topics. I've loved the videojuegos for the better part of my life, so I figured it was time to try and articulate my thoughts toward them.
So for starters, here's a bit about me and my gaming history (and a picture of a Surfing Pikachu I found):
-Until a few years ago, I've always been a system generation behind due to having to pawn, and then re-pawn, my games for food money. My game preferences might lean toward Nintendo because of this. A Game Boy (and then eventually Color because of the colors) and Super Nintendo got me through ten years of gaming.
-My favorite game is Pokemon Gold.
-I've only played a handful games all the way through due to losing them, losing time, or losing interest (this includes games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Final Fantasy X)
-I work three jobs (not including Flixist), so I am utterly dependent on handheld gaming.
-I'm listening to Aqua's "Barbie Girl" as I write this.
-I only buy games I know I'll play for a long time because they're soooo damn expensive now. But I can't stop buying them because I love 'em.
-I totally use a lot of 90's Valley Girl slang.
-Gummi Bears are totes money.
-I once pooped myself on a bus. Used to be embarassed about it until I said it on a Flixist Show once. So now it's an icebreaker in business meetings (not really).
Now that I have more monies and a comfortable life, I can explore the greater world of gaming. When I blog in the future, I'm thinking I'll discuss "classic" games that I should have played but never have before (much like Flixist's Losing My Virginity series). If not, maybe I'll write about Pokemon (because if anything is cool it's Pokemon). I just wanted to be involved in this community more. You're all sooooo great. I'm always stuck reading the hilarious comments, the c-blogs are better and more involving than ever, and the Dtoid community looks like it's a very warm and welcoming place.
I'm not exactly made of gold bling and diamond rings. Each console generation, I struggle to maintain the large quantity of money needed to go out and purchase each console released. Rather than giving up an arm or a leg every five or so years, I end up deciding on a single console for its merits while eventually getting the rest.
At the very least, I'll scrounge up enough monies to secure a system...several years after the next one releases.
Well, I'm tired of that. I finally own every console within a generation and the very notion of a new one scares me. I don't want to restart my terrible, terrible cycle.
I mean, really. Do I even need a new game console?
The fun is still there, so a shake up isn't totally necessary.
Let me start at the beginning. My first console was a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. You know, the one that came bundled with Donkey Kong Country? It totally ruled. My father worked his butt off to get my sister and I the finer things after his illness, and when the fruits of his labor brought smiles to our faces, he could care less how much money he blew (I would have been fine with a Gamecast anyway).
Little did I know, the Nintendo 64 was already two years old and the Gamecube was on its way. You see, back then before the Internet and cellular telephones existed I was not aware that I was supposed to want better technology. There was no constant hunger for better graphical output and super mega hertz televisions. All I saw was the awesome way the Kongs collected bananas and how I kept dying every single cart level.
My point is, it's the software that makes or breaks a generation. All of these upgrades would be pointless if the games weren't fun to play at all. The SNES could have been terrible if no one supported it with amazing games. If we analyze what happened to the Wii, with its explosion of lackluster titles, the announcement of a Wii U seems like an attempt to make up for the Wii's "casual gamer" (read as sucker apparently) missteps. Nintendo wants us to buy the Wii U because of how it changes our gaming experience? Please. The Wii could have succeeded in that regard if I didn't have to wait so long after its release for a new Donkey Kong Country or Legend of Zelda.
I just got an HDTV, so why do I need more graphics?
When I first bought my Xbox 360 (when the new "slim" model released), a friend of mine told me I would have to buy a new console in a couple of years anyway. Besides the fact that he's a terrible friend, he had a point. I don't necessarily understand all of that Direct X247 mumbo jumbo, but it seems that visuals that cause brain aneurisms are all the rage now. That one tech demo from Square Enix? While others praised its beauty and looked forward to the next generation, I just watched it thinking "how much is this crap going to cost me?"
To stay in line with my tradition of workin' hard for the money, I finally got an HDTV a few months ago from a pawn shop (where I also bought a PSX for the first time, yay!) I'm starting to realize what all the negative hubub toward the "standard definition" Wii was. True it does look bad on my tele, but DKCR is still super cool, brah. Since I'm so behind, I don't necessarily get impressed with graphical marvels. I'm just not used to it.
I like my television, but a new console generation would diminish its quality and exile it to obsolescence. Sony tells me I need a 3DTV to better play its games, Microsoft tells me I need a bigger television and overall gaming space to better experience its motion control, and Nintendo tells me its Wii U will force me to play "together alone" and forgoes the television all together. When is what I have going to be enough? As long as the greater gamer mass hungers for better visuals and its Direct Xs, I'm going to have to be a multi-millionaire in order to keep up.
Above all, I'm happy with gaming's current form.
With all this talk of the future, I think we're all forgetting the more important present. As someone who has resided outside of previous console generations, I've learned to milk each experience for what it is worth. Right now, with the current generation not having a definitive end, I believe other gamers are finally doing the same. This generation can still provide great things without relying heavily on being for a shiny and new machine.
Saints Row: The Third had me jump out of a helicopter while Kanye West's "Power" played in the background, I gasped the first time I saw a Necromorph in Dead Space, I fell asleep during LA Noire, I tilted my head walking around planets in Super Mario Galaxy, I cried when I couldn't solve a single puzzle in Portal, I sighed the first time I was sniped in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and I laughed with joy the day I bought my PS3 and finally owned each console within a generation.
I used to feel bad when a kid down the street owned either a Sega Genesis, Xbox, or Playstation 2, when I didn't. Although I appreciate the work needed to afford one of those fancy machines, I felt obsolete myself. I had to go to pawn shops and Funcoland to buy games since stores ceased to carry them. I love gaming and the wonderful things it can do, but I especially love being able to share my adventures with others on equal ground.