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Yes, I am being serious. Video games saved my life, or changed it in some way. “How?”, you might be asking. They are only video games after all. Children’s toys. They can’t possible change, let alone SAVE, you life, can they?
My answer in one word is yes. My answer in many paragraphs?
When it all comes down to it, video games are fun. All we’re doing is pressing buttons, sure, but those buttons are having an impact in a virtual world. One that is physically viewable mind you. As such I feel that my actions matter to the people inside the game. Well, in some games. Other games I merely play because of how much fun they are. They have essentially given me a hobby that keeps me from doing stupid things.
Games/Franchises applicable: F.E.A.R., Call of Duty, Half-Life, Portal, 007 Quantum of Solace, Bulletstorm, Quake, Star Wars: Dark Forces/Jedi Knight, DOOM, Final Fantasy, Unreal, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid
Video games have the power to look absolutely gorgeous. That doesn’t precisely mean photorealistic, but simply pretty to the eyes. It’s always a treat to stare out at a beautiful vista in sheer awe at the artists beauty. To know I’m walking around in this beautiful world is absolutely breathtaking. Now I’m aware that I’m not ACTUALLY walking around in it, but virtually I am. I am still experiencing these beautiful worlds with my eyes even if I am not physically there. I am still listening to the ambient sounds such as birds singing in the morning. I absolutely love it, and it really helped me appreciate how beautiful nature truly looks in real life as well. I absolutely adore snow-capped mountains and lakes.
Games/Franchises applicable: The Witcher, Guild Wars, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Drakensang, Trine, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Final Fantasy
Video games have come a long way since the Nintendo Entertainment System days. No longer are games played alongside beeps and boops(which arguably were catchy back then too). Nowadays we have full orchestral scores, full symphonies giving us epic music to get us pumped, ready to take on the ancient evil, save the princess, or otherwise. With that, video games have given me more appreciation of music in general, so much so that I listen to orchestra on youtube sometimes such as Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain for no reason other than I like them.
Games/Franchises applicable: Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher, Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy, Portal 2, Kingdom Hearts, Brutal Legend
And here we are. The final chapter, and probably the most important. I absolutely love stories. Who doesn’t? It’s why we read books or watch movies/tv shows. Did you know video games can have amazing stories? It’s true! Sometimes you have to dig a little deep though to find the gems; the games with memorable characters, fantastic writing, and great set pieces. Or maybe it’s just games with minimal dialogue, but superb production that gives you tremendous atmosphere and tells the story with pictures such as Myst or Portal. Games based more on exploration and discovery which tells the story with the whole world around you. It’s absolutely incredible and I love every bit of it. I love involving myself in these worlds, and love crafting the story as well. I love games that let you choose how things play out, but I also love expert story tellers taking me down a set patch just as much. Stories in games have helped my imagination run wild, and I feel truly free and comfortable when involving myself in these stories.
Games/franchises applicable: The Witcher, Dragon Age, Guild Wars, Neverwinter Nights, Planescape: Torment, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, Alpha Protocol, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid, Shadow of the Colossus, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Heavy Rain, Portal, Half-Life, Gothic, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Silent Hill, F.E.A.R., BioShock
To sum it up, video games have given me something to do to keep me from doing stupid things, an appreciation for music in general, beautiful vistas to stare at, and characters/stories which will stay with me forever. It might not seem like much to some people, but you see growing up I never really had anyone to talk to. I never felt like there was anyone to run to if I had any issues. Thus I thrust myself into these worlds full of fictional people that I felt I mattered to. It was comforting in a way, thinking that I could help these people. Maybe it’s silly, or childish to think that way. Whatever it is, it makes me happy and that’s the only thing that matters.