The boy wonder was a role model to a young Wrenchfarm. Daring, smart, and able to handle the worst convicts and psychos of Gotham City, Robin embodied all the qualities I wished I could in my most private fantasies.
But his costume was a custom made battlesuit of integrated high-tech gadgets and bulletproof super-weave. Mine was basically a pair of ladies tights and a red tunic that Velcroed together at the crotch.
I never felt further from the Tim Drake ideal than I did fidgeting with my Velcro crotch desperately praying that nobody was watching.
2. Dime store Link/Robin Hood/Peter Pan
Zelda 2: The Adventures of Link left an indelible mark on my childhood. It was a game I was obsessed with and the first thing I bought with money I earned myself. It was only natural that I would want to dress like my hero for the Holidays.
Unfortunately, there might have been a little break down in communication between me and my mom. What I ended up with that year wasn't the iconic green tunic, glimmering sword, and Triforce emblazoned shield of my hero, but a sad mash up of fantasy characters. Like a Dollarstore knock-off toy trying to avoid copyright law.
A green corduroy cape, a tasseled brown shirt, green tights (again... hum, what was it with my mom and those?), a cheap plastic bow and arrow set that snapped in my hands, and the pointy green cap of the Boy Who Never Grew Up. I limped up and down the street for a handful of houses before calling it a night. Link may always finish his adventures with a full item kit and a wallet swelling with rubies, but I had only a handful of candy corn and a few spare candy necklaces to mark my sad journey.
3. Cardboard Robot
The classic old school robot. I rocked this look when I was four years old, proving that we never really change.
Tin foil plating, a coat hanger antenna, Pringle can arms, my costume was actually pretty swag.
Sadly, it provided ABSOLUTELY ZERO protection from a devastating gut punch delivered by the neighborhood bully. It was at that tender young age that I realized appearances don't matter unless you can back them up. After all, what kind of killer robot lets some future multiple-offender/gas attendant take his candy?
I swear, if I ever have a kid, his/her robot costume will have a functioning plasma pistol.
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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