Final Fantasy almost prevented my existence. My father was so enamored with the game and the downright addictive qualities it and the whole JRPG genre contained, that he stayed up late at night leveling up his characters and slaying any enemy that dared cross his path. My dad loved Final Fantasy, but there was one thing that he would throw that entire experience away for: my mom. She was so fed up with his late night gaming tendencies that she threatened to leave him. My dad then realized he couldnít ruin his relationship with his girlfriend over some Japanese game that ultimately didnít mean anything in the grand scheme of things. So he toned it down, let my mom sit down with some Lolo action on the NES, and went on with his life.
In the year of 1995, a child was born. This child was the light of all creation, the savior of every living being, and source of the greatest entertainment mankind has ever known. This child was Earthbound. Oh, and I was born that year too. I was born smack-dab in the middle of the Super Nintendo age, and you know my cool dad was on top of that Super Mario World business. I donít remember much of my really early childhood, but I could assure you that I was amazed at the 16-bit Japanese goodness on the screen. It was the beginning of a deep-rooted love between me and the games old Japanese dudes threw at meÖ figuratively. Cartridges hurt, dude.
In the totally-safe-not-world-ending year of 2000, I was coming home from a long, hard day of Kindergarten; Naptime is serious shit. When I arrived home, I was ecstatic to say the least. In the living room lay an entire team set of Power Rangers action figures and the technological marvel that was the Nintendo 64. That shit rocked my whole world. It wasnít even my birthday, my parents just decided that on this day I should be the happiest human alive, and holy shit was I happy. Pokemon Stadium 2 and Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue (I really liked Power Rangers, alright?) were my first games, and they continued to be my first games for a good 6 months.
While both of those games were fun, after a while I decided it was time for some more games. So I begged, begged, and begged some more. My parents never really budged on the issue, and understandably so because games were expensive as fuck back then. The situation was looking pretty dire until the heavens opened up and angels came down to close down Blockbuster for good in the area. Games went on sale, my parents bought some stuff, and I sat in the car wondering what games they would pick. I was only five, so I had no idea what was worth getting. Good thing my dad has excellent taste. The car doors opened, and in came my hulking goliath of a father with a bundle of six Nintendo 64 games. The games were Pokemon Stadium, Wave Race 64, Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Super Mario 64.†
Those games wholly shaped my taste in video games through elementary and middle school. Hell, they helped shape my taste in games in general, and I thank Nintendo for that. Nintendo was the catalyst for some really magical times like my father and Iís first playthrough of Ocarina of Time which ended in a hilarious way by way of my little brother accidentally deleting our file right after we reached Ganonís Castle. This carried over to the Gamecube age which really influenced me in a visual sense. Games like Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and Viewtiful Joe opened my eyes to cel-shading, which to this day is still my favorite graphical style. The clean textures and loud colors really resonated with me at the age of nine or ten and still resonate with me now. Because of those games, I am still drawn to bright, colorful cel-shaded or pixel art graphics a lot easier than I am realistic graphics.†
My love for Nintendo charged on forward at a breakneck pace when I started watching E3, and boy did I start at the right time. When I saw the words ďNintendo RevolutionĒ appear on the screen in front of me with this foreign, strange device accompanying it, I was completely and utterly bamboozled. So many questions entered my mind. How do I even play that? THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS? Why is Reggie suddenly the coolest guy Iíve ever seen? At that moment, I knew I was hooked. Iíve watched every E3 since then and I have been completely enamored with not only the games, but the games industry, and I have E3 to thank for that.
Around when I was in middle school, it started to get hard to blindly love Nintendo. After a couple years of games like Wii Sports Resort and Animal Crossing being my only sought after exclusives, it came time to diversify. I got a PS3 (that ended up breaking, the damned thing...) and started discovering truly awesome games like God of War and Uncharted. I borrowed a friendís PS2 and played through Persona 3, which is a stellar game and I still need to play its sequel. I got a steam account, and that probably ranks in my top five best decisions in my life so far due to its awesome community and even better deals. I still loved Nintendo, donít get me wrong. I picked up Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Skyward Sword at launch, and my 3DS XL and Wii U are two of my favorite things I own, even if the Wii U has like four games worth owning right now. Through this diversification, however, I started to come to a massive realization about video games and how I play them.
It wasnít until a couple years back that I really started seeing video games as an art form and looked at games in a critical light. I realized that games can make me feel the same emotions television, books, and actual life events could. It was games like Wind Waker, Mother 3, The Walking Dead, and Hotline Miami that really opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes games are playthings, and sometimes they have something to say. Through this, I have really taken an interest to the people behind the games, the people that make the games work and bring it to public light. I also realized that some games are just shit, while other games absolutely are not. I began to look at why games are bad and good a lot more closely. Both of these realizations really changed how I play on a daily basis.
After E3 2012, I decided to look into how I can be a part of the gaming industry, particularly gaming journalism and/or gaming criticism. I obviously like to write, and video games are one of the things I take an interest in the most in my life, so why not do it as a career? So I started a blog on the beautiful Destructoid Community Blogs about three of the most magical games I have ever played and as a result, I have met some of the coolest people in the world. Gaming has entertained me my whole life and now I would love to be a part of that world. My gaming story has only just begun and I have a whole life of carefully timed button presses and screens entertaining me ahead and that honestly excites me to no end.