Started gaming in kindergarten, when the most advanced piece of hardware I could get my hands on was a black plastic handle and an orange button attached to a brick. I used it to blow up little squares on a black and white television screen. A couple years later, I was molested by the girl next door after beating her copy of The Legend of Zelda. I have mixed feelings about the experience.
Unfortunately, over the years, my ability to maintain a passion for games has waned (as in being able to play through them start-to-finish). This is due to various reasons and issues that would be too emo to get into at this juncture. But suffice to say, though my passion has waned, my interest in them has not, as evidenced by my being here.
Nihil (or Nils) is the pseudonym I currently use for writing and gaming on the internet. I came across the Destructoid website by searching for information on Way of the Samurai 3. Tubatic pretty much has the most comprehensive coverage on it I've seen anywhere. And for that, and the other thing, I thank him.
10 Most Influential Games of Nihil's Life - Finale
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
Well, you had to find out sooner or later.
You hear a lot about this game taking over people's lives. Or practically destroying it, in ways they could not have anticipated. Though personally, as with TVTropes, I had the good fortune of exploring it at a time when I didn't have a social life to begin with. This might have turned into an entirely different story, had I been fully exposed to it any earlier.
I started out with the series, like most pre-MMO fans, with Warcraft 2. It was my first RTS game, and as such, I sucked pretty hard at multiplayer and never really got better. But I was hooked on the single player campaign; for its story, the clever map setups, the artwork, and its music. It felt pretty odd having fun with it, especially considering that it was given to me for the purpose of mainly utilizing the feature I was so shitty at. So of course when the third installment came out, I was on top of that. It was a true sequel in every way possible. They upped the ante on everything, creating one of the most remarkable stories/universes I've ever known, as well as an awesome game that I still sucked at. So, naturally, when the MMO was announced, my mind went aflutter with the possibilities! It looked great, the new mechanics they cooked up sounded interesting - why wouldn't anyone into games try this out? I was so there come launch day!
That, however, was not meant to be, as the family computer was by then heavily outdated (it was barely able to play WC3), and I had no income to toss at the subscription fee. Nihil was a sad panda, indeed.
It wasn't until many winters later that I was made aware of a free 10-day trial, via its advertisements molesting every gaming news website on the fucking planet. The dream of entering Azeroth as one of its denizens was calling to me again... New computer - but still didn't meet the hardware requirements... DAMN THE GODS! I HAD TO PLAY THIS GAME.
Granted, I wasn't able to make full use of the social features, and I hardly remember anything beyond the beginner areas, but my first steps into the world (of warcraft) were nonetheless awe-inducing. The rolling planes of Mulgore, the lush forests of Teldrassil - it was all fresh, and detailed, and my expectations were already well met. Then my 10 days were up, and I went back to life as usual since I had more pressing things on my mind at the time...
Two years later, with nothing to do but kill time and money, I returned to Azeroth. But there were changes! Two new races brought into the conflict, a new continent/world to explore, dramatic gameplay features added and changed... If there was ever a time to get back into the game, it was then! Neophytes, such as myself, would be greeted and congratulated by veterans upon reaching the new content, with heart-warming comments like, "Welcome to a year ago." and "wut a fukin noob...". And once again, same as it EverWas, exploiting the male gender through use of female avatars was as fulfilling then as it was when a certain other game had a monopoly over the MMORPG market.
Look atcha. You're reaching for your wallet already, aren't you
I had made a few acquaintances through the game that made it more enjoyable than it was solo, and thus, I was given full exposure and insight into why the game is so popular... The game itself, like all other games, can only go so far - but it's the people that make it worth while, that keep you looking forward to the next log in. If you're lucky enough to have encountered this part of the game, then chances are you're either still playing or have some contact with people you met there. It's an experience every role-playing gamer should have, whether it's D&D or this, because it's a good feeling.
But as life moves on, so do people, and things eventually became quiet. However, "the grind" had its hooks in me by then and I couldn't just up 'n leave everything I'd built with these characters and their world. This is where I believe the "addiction" part had set in. Again; hard to tell when you don't have a life to fuck up. So I turned to podcasts to fill the silence, which made a more than suitable substitute. I don't regret my time spent during this period at all, because I got to know and hang out with Kevin Smith & Scott Mosier while running around dank forests and battling through underwater labyrinths. With maniacal laughter, I committed Dwarven genocide and simultaneously learned of the inner workings of the .jpeg business. My sentiments echoed the /Filmcast crew's latest review and meanderings, as I surfed the auction house for whatever. So yeah, if it wasn't for this game, I probably wouldn't be bothering with any podcasts now. ...And I would be missing out.
It was also just a feasible way to unwind after work. Some people meditate or workout. Some have sexual relations. I got drunk and played WoW while listening to podcasts.
I look back over the time I spent with this MMO, and I can't help but think we had a pretty fucking good run. I have fond memories with this game that, in my other life, I'd probably call myself a fag for cherishing. But whatever. The path I'm walking now, I can't really be held accountable for the retarded shit I think about and amuse myself with.
Which brings us to the last, most influential video game of my life...
That's right, I got nuthin'. But that's not to say there weren't countless other games that I dumped endless hours of my life into...
Combat (Atari 2600), every early TMNT, Elevator Action (Gameboy), X-Men (Game Gear), Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, Star Fox, Virtual-On, Guardian Heroes, Ridge Racer, Tomb Raider 2, Revenge of Shinobi, Tekken 3, Shinobi (2002), Mega Man Legends, TimeSplitters 2, Bloody Roar, Soul Calibur, SoulCalibur 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Jade Empire, Music Generator 3, Mega Man X4, Resident Evil 3... Those are just what I can list off the top of my head right now. All of them had an impact on me. All of them served to make me a more experienced, more versatile, and more accepting gamer. But more importantly, they did their job; which was to take me out of my reality for a time, and immerse me in theirs.
You can consider this spot either an amalgamation of, or an ode to, those titles. The other nine games on this list just started my life as a gamer. They help me remember why I'm a gamer. And they make me goddamn proud to be a gamer. Every other game I've played only helps their case.
Consider this an open spot. This medium is steadily evolving. We've seen a lot of exciting, new things that hardware can do in the past decade. Things that you could only imagine and speculate about 15 years ago, can now be made a fully-fleshed reality. By 2025, who knows what we'll have?
As I said at the beginning of this, I don't play favorites anymore. I come at every new game with a fresh mindset, willing to accept what it has to offer. But maybe, one day, I'll be able to hold up a system or video game - which by then prolly won't even be considered a video game anymore - and say, "This is it, people. This is what we've been waiting for. Zombie Roger Ebert can eat a fat fucking crow, and all the haters can STFUAJPG." Til then, I keep my head low and my ears/eyes open.
Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing, because that lets me know that I'm still good at something that I'd given up for a while. Please fap or comment, have a good weekend, and I'll see ya on the flip...