I haven't written some C. Blogs in a while. I've been busy with stuff on our sister sites -- PC Invasion, Daily Esports, PlayStation Enthusiast. So, here's my contribution for this month's BOB. Be forewarned, it's a bit lengthy.
I've lived my entire life in the Philippines. I've also been a Nintendo fan for most of my childhood before switching to a Sony PlayStation in my mid-teens. I never planned on grabbing the Xbox, mostly because I had no idea what it was. If you grew up in some random tropical country in Southeast Asia, you'd have been surrounded by Nintendo-playing', Sony-lovin', non-Xbox-knowin' fellow kids such as myself... wooooo!
There was, however, one fateful moment when I finally had a chance to try out Microsoft's first foray into the console market. Along with that, I also fell head-over-heels for Bethesda's Morrowind. All of this happened in one summer almost fifteen years ago when I was a working in the US.
An agency dropped by our school offering an opportunity to work abroad for Busch Gardens. I worked from March until July, the duration of the contract. Yes, those are indeed summer months if you're a Filipino. I was part of a group of other students from all over Asia. We had Filipinos, Thais, Koreans, Malaysians, etc. It was like a "summer job-slash-internship" for us. We did get free rides on our days off -- that meant riding on the Alpengeist (seen above) over and over.
I was doing manual labor at first until I managed to join the Human Resources team by sheer luck. I asked a lot of questions during one of the seminars. Luck was because I had a slight twang in my English accent because of so many years growing up watching Disney and other American movies. Just because of "having an accent," I guess, they gave me a comfier job.
The pay was slightly better, but a job like that meant less stress and more time to explore. I was finally able to tour the Virginian countryside and visit historically important places. I went to Jamestown and other colonial areas. I traveled a bit further, visiting Washington D.C. I was also able to visit the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, and, I kid you not, I cried! I mean... if you don't know by now, I LOVE history. I never thought I would ever get the chance to visit the places I've only read about in books.
But, oh yes, where was I? Ahh, Morrowind and the Xbox!
I thought to myself that I should probably have a souvenir to remember my time working in the US. With that in mind, I went to a Target and got a Microsoft Xbox. It was the first time I bought a console with my own hard-earned money. This was a big deal for me, as I'm sure it was for other gamers who were finally able to have a steady income that allowed them to buy their own stuff.
Naturally, I picked a few games. I discovered the joys of video game rentals as well! I even found out that you can return the games you bought after a set period of time if you did not enjoy them! The Pinoy me would have never thought this was possible. In our part of the world, the moment you opened a game's case, that was the end of most of your consumer rights. The only way you could return something is if the disk was already scratched when you bought it.
Anyway, one of the games I picked up was The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition. I have heard of the other games in the franchise (Arena and Daggerfall) but Morrowind was the first TES game that truly piqued my interest. I absolutely devoured the setting, the world, the lore, and the mechanics. I was exploring a massive, open world where there were dangers and wonderment in every corner. I became such a fan of it that I even grabbed a Prima Guide!
After work, my fellow co-workers/international students milled in our common area. They logged on Friendster to talk to their loved ones. Me, I plugged my Xbox in the common room's TV and got everyone to play. Obviously, they all enjoyed Halo and Project Gotham Racing. But when I played Morrowind, given that it was a single-player game, the reaction was mixed. Some were enraptured, others were bored. I guess there weren't enough molerats and members of House Hlaalu to pew-pew.
No summer loving article would be complete without a summer fling moment. I also dated a fellow international student/worker from the Philippines all because of that Xbox. Even though we already had some moments beforehand, the Xbox gave us more bonding time together. She was a bit into Morrowind, but Soul Calibur II was her jam. She mained Xianghua, and of course, like any self-respecting bro, I was happy enough to lose to her while using Astaroth. Honestly, I couldn't wait for her to stop playing just so I could get back to exploring the countryside and looking for Dagoth Ur.
So there ya go fellow DToid peeps. Sorry for this long-ass trip down memory lane. That's pretty much my Summer Loving experience -- working in another country for the first time, buying my own system for the first time, getting the Xbox and Morrowind for the first time, and many amazing memories all around. All of that in the course of one summer abroad.
Thanks for reading!