The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time | The Game That Defines Sheikah Plate

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Well, do we have a treat for you? This time, in every sense of the word! Please join me in welcoming back one of the most creative bloggers I know, Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate! She transmutes dishes from The Legend of Zelda series into real life recipes you can cook at home. I don’t want to say anything, but let’s just say you won’t be disappointed with the end-result of this piece. She’s already composed two amazing pieces (and dishes) for Hyrule: See the Sights! Hear the Sounds!

Once you finish this piece, you should head over to Sheikah Plate and enjoy some recent posts:

We hope you enjoy this delicious chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

DkFH4ynU8AM8ntk

Teri Mae @ Sheikah Plate

Twitter: @sheikahplate

For my first Hyrule…

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
System: Nintendo 64
Release Date: November 21, 1998

1P Start

I’ve learned to be brave.  It’s not a big, bold bravery – one where I stand up to “the man” or “the bully” and win.  It’s just an internal bravery. One that means I’m willing to accept when I’ve made a mistake, and do everything I can to make up for it.

When I heard about this project I was so excited!  Finally an excuse to gush about my love for The Legend of Zelda… again!  But then how do you say the words you feel in your heart? How can you put two decades of love, pain, and growth into a blog post?  How do you sum up the changes in your life that have come because of your favorite thing? And yet this is the insurmountable task Matt has asked us to perform.  And while others have been enthusiastic, eloquent, and impressive in their ability to complete the challenge I have struggled, from day one, to say what I really think and feel.  And at the final deadline I still am not sure if I’ve done enough to express what The Legend of Zelda as a series, and more particularly Ocarina of Time, has done for me.

It starts when I was a kid.  My family, my entire life, had gaming consoles.  Gaming was simply something my family did, be it tabletop or video.  And being an incredibly nerdy family meant that it never occurred to me playing video games for hours “wasn’t something a girl should do”.  But these passions; video games, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings to name a few, meant I didn’t have a lot of friends. Sure, I had my younger siblings who followed me around, but outside of family I was a pretty lonely child.  There were a few friends, off and on, but rarely consistent. We didn’t live in the same neighborhood, parents worked, they moved on, we went to different schools, etc… In fact, I couldn’t keep a friend for more than 6 months for most of my young life.  Which meant I spent a lot of time indulging on the singular pursuits that I loved so much.

I remember dabbling in earlier video games – playing Mario Bros 3 when my siblings weren’t there and trying desperately to get through the stampede level in The Lion King alone.  But my first real video game, the one I finally played, start to finish, alone, with no help, and without watching to see how someone else did it, was Ocarina of Time.

ocarina of time

The graphics were incredible.  The three dimensional world, blocky but still defined, allowed my imagination to soar.  With a relatively open world (it felt like it took forever to travel from Death Mountain to Hyrule Lake) I was able to explore, imagine, and create my own ideas about Hyrule.  It was so easy to imagine myself there! And not only were the graphics incredible, but the story was so inspiring. Here’s this little boy, lonely, with only one real friend, suddenly sent out to save the world with the help of a very new acquaintance.  He’s smart and sensitive, determined and courageous, and, well, cute. And with only his wits and his basic supplies he’s able to gain new weapons, new abilities, and save the world.

And just like that, Link became my hero.  Some kids idolize superheroes, but not me.  I idolized a video game character. He was everything I wanted to be – smart, kind, and brave.  I wanted to be able to solve intense, challenging puzzles in mysterious ruins. I wished that I could have a fairy to help and guide me through challenges.  I wanted everyone in the whole world to like me, just as they all end up adoring Link. I mean, I still remember the first time a girl in Hyrule doesn’t have a crush on Link.  And it’s very recent. That’s how popular he is!  But he’s popular because he helps everyone – he finds the cuccos, takes medicine to other people, plays matchmaker, supports businesses, and fixes entire towns!  And he’s so brave. He always stands up for what’s right. He always pushes to be better, work harder, and fight the bad guy. As a timid, shy little girl I could only dream about that kind of courage.

I ate up every single thing I could about the Legend of Zelda.  I bought every game, usually saving up to purchase it and the new console it was released on.  I played everything obsessively, over and over again, until it was all memorized. And if I got bored, I simply paused, played a different game, and then found myself drifting back toward Zelda after a time.

And as I delved further and further into the world of Link, Zelda, and Hyrule, I didn’t realize then how much the game, and Link, impacted my life.  It’s really only now, looking back, that I’ve seen the influence it had on my development and on me.

puzzles

I didn’t realize how unique it was to be really good, and I mean really good at puzzle solving until recently.  Difficult brain teasers, spatial reasoning, logic puzzles, all these come naturally to me.  And yes, you could say some of that ability I was born with, but quite a bit of it is enhanced and focused thanks to my life spent solving the puzzles within the Zelda universe.  It is exactly the type of thing I learned by exposing myself to really difficult puzzles at such a young age. And it pushed me toward a love of questions and answers that led me to become a scientist – someone who literally solves puzzles for a living.

zelda and link

I learned that being kind is the best way to make friends.  I tried the bragging, boasting routine and I couldn’t even attempt the “cool” factor.  No, when I made friends it was because I was kind. In a high school that thrived on catty, gossiping behavior it certainly didn’t make me popular.  It didn’t even mean I had any close friends – because I certainly didn’t. What it did mean was that I had a lot of general acquaintances. Quite a few people who thought I was great, even if we weren’t close.  And plenty of people willing to say hi to me in the hallways. And as I’ve gotten older, the friends I’ve made that have stuck – the people who are still a part of my lives – have come through kindness. A willingness to help others and serve those around me that I learned through example, both my parents and my hero, Link.

perserverence

I learned the art of perseverance.  As many of you may (or may not) know about me, I’m an incredibly and insatiably determined person.  If there’s something I want to learn I don’t just google it. I research it, the information relating to it, journal articles, books, podcasts, documentaries, classes – the list goes on and on, until I feel I’ve completely mastered a subject.  And I don’t give up and I won’t back down. Just like getting through a LoZ temple – the drive to complete, to overcome, is simply too powerful to just let things fall by the wayside.

brave

And I’ve learned to be brave.  It’s not a big, bold bravery – one where I stand up to “the man” or “the bully” and win.  It’s just an internal bravery. One that means I’m willing to accept when I’ve made a mistake, and do everything I can to make up for it.  One that pushes me to express my opinions, even when they aren’t the popular opinion. And one that allowed me to recognize when things were wrong in my life and seek professional help for my anxiety and depression before they got worse.  It’s the bravery that’s helped me navigate my way back into more of a social life than I’ve had in years. And it’s the bravery that’s helping me finally learn to accept myself, warts and all, and simply be who I was always meant to be.

So, while it wasn’t some big life-changing moment, my life has been irrefutably and undeniably influenced by Ocarina of Time.  This simple game, played by a kid, was able to change the woman I would become. And for that, and so many other things, I will be eternally grateful to my best friend, Link, and Nintendo for creating him.  And, in homage to my first Hyrule, I wanted to create a special meal, inspired by the entirety of Hyrule, to share with you. So here, with some very shortened instructions with but links to the more complex issues (I’m looking at you, roast chicken), I present to you: Lon Lon Ranch roast chicken, roasted Goron garnet sweet potatoes, and fresh Kokiri Forest green salad.

chicken, sweet potatoes, salad

Lon Lon Ranch Roast Chicken

 

 

This one’s the hardest, but also the one most worthwhile!  For more detailed instructions on the pre-cooking bit check out this recipe for my Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat aka Turkey.  We start by unpackaging the whole chicken, removing the giblets and the neck by checking the cracks, crevices, and insides and taking out anything that looks like it doesn’t belong.  Pat the chicken dry, rub with generous amounts of salt and pepper, and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.  Wash the sage and thyme, slice a medium onion into quarters, and remove the skin from the garlic cloves.  Place these inside your 9×13 baking dish, putting the onions in the corners.

After the brine, rub the entire chicken with room temperature butter, ensuring the entire bird is covered.  Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).  Put your chicken in the pan and put your pan in the oven on the middle shelf.  Close the door and walk away for 45-50 minutes to prep the sweet potatoes!  Continue to bake (with the sweet potatoes – check out that recipe below) until the internal temperature, using an instant read meat thermometer, reaches 165°F (74°C).  Remove the chicken (and potatoes) from the oven, cover loosely with foil for about 15 minutes, and allow the chicken to rest.

Roasted Goron Garnet Sweet Potatoes

 

 

Wash and dice your garnet sweet potatoes (I mean, it could be any potato, but Goron’s eat rocks… so it has to be garnet sweet potatoes, right?  And yes, they do exist.  Cool, huh?)  into large bite-size chunks.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and, with 15-20 minutes left on the chicken, add them to the bottom of the pan containing the chicken and herbs.  Add one pat of butter on top of each pile (in the corners was the easiest place to put them) and bake with the chicken.

When the chicken is resting, remove the sweet potatoes and allow them to rest in their own bowl so they don’t get mushy next to that hot chicken!

Kokiri Forest Green Salad

 

 

It’s pretty to make a chopped green salad – cut or break apart your greens, wash and cut your veggies, toss them all together with your croutons, and drizzle with delicious ranch.  But that’s where this recipe kicks it in to high gear – homemade ranch.  You can easily skip this and use store brand or the Hidden Valley ranch packets (which is wonderful).  Or you can add all the ranch ingredients I listed together, shake it up, and allow to refrigerate for about an hour.  It’ll be thick, creamy, and delicious!

food close up

Lon Lon Ranch Roast Chicken with Goron Garnet Sweet Potatoes and Kokiri Forest Green Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Whole roast chicken with garnet sweet potatoes and a chopped green salad with homemade ranch dressing.


Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 7 sprigs fresh sage leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion

Garnet

  • 3 large garnet sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp black peper
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter

Chopped

  • 1 head salad greens (I prefer romaine or red leaf lettuce)
  • 1-1.5 cup snap green peas
  • 1-1.5 cup cucumber
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 cup croutons

Ranch

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh italian parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 drop Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Make the ranch by adding all ingredients to a container with a lid and either shaking it or whisking it until it all comes together.
  3. Refrigerate ranch until ready to eat.
  4. Unpack the whole chicken, removing the giblets and neck.
  5. Pat the chicken dry, rub with generous amounts of salt and pepper, and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Wash the sage and thyme, slice a medium onion into quarters, and remove the skin from the garlic cloves. Place these inside a 9×13 baking dish, putting the onions in the corners.
  7. Rub the entire chicken with room temperature butter, ensuring the entire bird is covered.
  8. Put your chicken in the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes
  9. Wash and dice your garnet sweet potatoes into large bite-size chunks.
  10. Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with salt and pepper and, with 15 minutes left on the chicken, add them to the bottom of the pan containing the chicken and herbs. Add one pat of butter on top of each pile and bake with the chicken.
  11. Wash and cut or break apart your greens
  12. Wash and cut your veggies into bite-size pieces.
  13. Toss the veggies, greens, and croutons together.
  14. After 1.25-1.5 hours, check the temperature of the chicken with an instand read meat thermometer. The chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) – if it doesn’t simply cook until it does.
  15. Remove the chicken and potatoes from the oven and put the sweet potatoes into a separate bowl. Cover the chicken and potatoes with foil and allow the chicken to rest. Serve with the salad and enjoy!

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form.

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

Super Metroid | The Game That Defines Power Bomb Attack

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

So, what does Zerathulu, yesterday’s writer, and Power Bomb Attack, today’s writer, have in common? They both have blog names inspired by the games they’re writing about in this collab! Today we’re joined by Imtiaz of Power Bomb Attack, a wonderful blogger and super nice guy. I’ve been excited to explore another SNES title, and this is the perfect blogger and game to lead us in that adventure!

Here are some favorites from this awesome blog:

DLC Pack two of four has been installed. We’re ready for the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

DkgBNE_VsAAJvDK

Imtiaz @ Power Bomb Attack

Twitter: @powerbombattack

For the answers under your nose…

Game: Super Metroid
System: SNES
Release Date: March 9, 1994

1P Start

It’s a story about how the young boy known as myself, learned that attention to detail is key in games like Super Metroid. That scanning every nook and cranny or rooms and maps is needed to move forward.

Super Metroid is one of those games that when I think back, holds many dear memories for me. It’s a game that taught me many life lessons, a game that taught me it’s ok to ask for help. It’s a game that when I hear people talk about it’s greatness and accomplishments, I can’t help but feel proud as if I somehow contributed to its existence. It’s why I’d truly call it, my video game…

I could go on for forever about Super Metroid, but this post is to focus on stories I can recollect of my time with the game. One instantly comes to mind. It’s a story about how the young boy known as myself, learned that attention to detail is key in games like Super Metroid. That scanning every nook and cranny or rooms and maps is needed to move forward. This story is none other than…

That Time Super Metroid Kicked My Ass

There comes a point in Super Metroid where you get to Upper Norfair, and need to proceed to Kraid’s Lair. Up to this point in the game, I was proceeding pretty smoothly. I really had to learn my way around Zebes, but never hit any major walls, besides a few mini bosses that terrified me as a child.

Back when I played Super Metroid, the concept of the internet was non existent. If you got stuck, you were screwed. There was no quick google searches of youtube videos conveniently showing you the solution. No Miiverse to post on why Metroid can’t crawl…

Kids these days… Well, I certainly hit my big wall in the game in Upper Norfair. The next area I had to get to was Kraid’s Lair. I had received the High Jump Boots. After that, I searched around and simply could not find my way forward. I went all around areas I had access to over and over again, passing many times by areas I knew I couldn’t get to yet for what felt like weeks on end. It was infuriated.

I felt like I found many upgrades, and ended up learning those parts of Zebes very well. In fact, I perfected the wall jump technique during this time. But I still couldn’t move forward no matter where I looked.

It was only when I turned to a friend of mine. You see, this friend is the one who turned me to Super Metroid. But he wasn’t the expert, he didn’t like the game very much, I sought the knowledge of one greater being than himself… his Father! Yes, his father was a master of Super Metroid. The man finished the game countless times in under 3 hours and got the secret ending. I was blown away how a game this big could be finished so quick, so surely he knew the answer.

I told this… father of my plight. Instead of telling me what to do, or booting up his game, he instead did something very special for me. I only realized what it was when my friend came over with a VHS tape from his father. This tape contained recorded footage of how I needed to proceed, along with some bonus footage or some secret power ups I would eventually run into. Score!

I popped the tape in and eagerly anticipated the big reveal of what I needed to do. Despite being ecstatic to finally find the answer, it’s was sad to find out the answer was under my nose the whole time, and had I simply looked very carefully at my map, I would have found the way…

See that there? Next to the pink room is a blue coloured room on the map?

They are side by side, which must been, there is a secret passage between the two. Laying a couple of bombs reveals that the wall can be broken with super missiles, and voila! The way to Kraid’s Lair is now open.

You see, it was such an easy solution, and part of me kicked myself for not finding it sooner, but was also relieved I was finally able to move on. From here, I was able to take out Kraid and smoothly progress through the game. This moment definitely taught me to really look carefully at my surroundings and map. Never will I hit a dead end again.

You see kids, this is what we had to resort to before the internet. Intimate techniques like this. I sadly have to say, I don’t have the VHS tape anymore, but the secrets it held have definitely cemented themselves in my memory and will never be forgotten. And that is the story of how Super Metroid kicked my ass. I hope you enjoyed it.

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form.

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

StarCraft | The Game That Defines The Zerathulu View

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Zerathulu has come from the abyss to bring you an amazing first piece of DLC for The Games That Define Us. Each of the four DLC pieces are absolutely incredible, so you all are in for a treat during the first four days of December. Zerathulu is an awesome writer (and future physics teacher) with a focus on discerning indie gaming. Their reviews are top-notch, and we think you’ll enjoy these recent favorites:

These next four days of The Games That Define Us are going to be awesome!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

Dkk8740V4AATL_u

Zerathulu @ The Zerathulu View 

Twitter: @Zerathulu

For commonality!

Game: Starcraft
System: PC
Release Date: March 31, 1998

1P Start

Eight years later I somehow found myself in a tiny dorm room with an amazing bunch of like-minded people. It’s absolutely incredible how at university you can meet people from all backgrounds and still have so much in common. All of us were studying either Physics or Chemistry. All eighteen. All vociferous nerds… And all of us were hooked on StarCraft.

It was probably a weekend, because the midday heat was stifling and I was at home, rather than at school. My brother and I were upstairs in our tiny, poster-adorned shared bedroom, and like all brothers in a confined space we were arguing.

“You’ve had it all day, I haven’t had a go yet!”

“Get off, five more minutes!”

“You said that ages ago, it’s not fair!”

“Let me at least get to a PokeCenter to save!”

[sighing] “…fine…..”

*2 minutes later*

“…hey, you’re on a Route now!”

“I’m leveling-up my Pidgeotto, five more minutes.”

I was ten and my brother eight. The Pokemon craze was still in full swing but as you can guess, my brother and I shared a GameBoy Color. It would’ve been fine, but my brother did not know the meaning of the word ‘share’. He took what he wanted, when he wanted. It made no difference that I was older, he knew I was a pushover and knew how to exploit me. Frustrated with myself at not having the courage to do something other than run and tell, I left the room. Sulking my way down the stairs which led straight to the front door I saw a blurry pair of legs through the frosted glass, and seconds later my father walked through.

My dad is the definition of eclectic. He had so many interests that he wanted to spend time pursuing, and had banks of magazines devoted to fishing, photography, birdwatching, DIY, American Football, motorcycles, and so on. Usually he went through phases of being obsessed with spending time/money following one interest, then rotated every couple of months. Recently however he’d found something new, something that already we could all tell was special to him because he was already talking about forming a side-business to make some extra cash.

He had discovered computers.

Instantly noting the look of dejection on my face, he gives me a hug and asks me to give him a hand with something. He tells me he’s just been to the local computer fair and he’s bought some new upgrades for his desktop computer. I watch as he squats down next to the big grey machine and starts removing all manner of wires and chips and things, handing him a screwdriver or cable tie as and when he needed. I remember my ten-year-old brain being both fascinated by the inner workings of the machine, but simultaneously feeling like it may as well be alien technology that I’d never be able to understand. It didn’t help that he kept muttering words like ‘ram’, ‘gig’ and ‘motherboard’. It’s a cliché I know, but it genuinely sounded like another language at the time. After a little while he puts the side of the machine back on and boots the computer up.

I still don’t really see what’s supposed to be cheering me up. But his shopping bag still has one item left in it. As he pulls it out, I see it’s made of dark, glossy card, roughly the shape of a hardback book. On the front is an unquestionably alien face, with no nose or mouth but burning yellow eyes. A mosaic-like pattern covers its otherwise featureless physiognomy. It’s flanked on either side by the face of a much scarier-looking alien, with a grotesquely evil demeanor and razor-sharp teeth framed by a chin that’s tapered to a point, and the face of a human, with large goggles and an unflattering bulbous nose. Above the three faces was silver-grey writing as if wrought in iron, with a faint blue glow. Just one word was written:

StarCraft

screen-shot-2018-12-01-at-9-42-45-am.png

He digs out the disc from the case and inserts it into the drive with a series of whirrs and clicks, beginning the long and arduous process of installing the game. I was definitely a little curious, but the game took forever to install. It just went on and on. I waited as long as I could before heading to the kitchen for a drink. I came back; it was still loading. After what felt like hours (though we all know how differently time travels as a child) my dad gives me a nudge and tells me excitedly:

“It’s done!”

All I can remember thinking was that this had better be good. The opening cutscene did little to encourage me: the graphics were so pixelated and the characters’ accents so contrived that I could barely make out what was going on. But when that stopped and the actual game finally started, I sat up and took note. I watched as during the tutorial my father controlled a little robot-looking thing and ordered it to do tasks, like mining a patch of nearby blue crystals and putting together new buildings.

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 9.39.19 AM

Honestly? I had no clue what the point of the game was. There was no main character, no jumping, nothing to collect, no power-ups. I watched my dad quickly progress to the first main level. Some nasty looking aliens, by the looks of them the evil-looking ones from the box art, had been spotted near a human (though for some reason I couldn’t understand they were calling themselves ‘terrans’) settlement, and we needed to move the terrans someplace safe. The mean-looking boss guy put us in contact with the local marshall, a cool and friendly guy by the name of James Raynor.

I remember liking Raynor, he had a cool-sounding voice and he was completely dedicated to helping people in need, even if it got him into trouble with his superiors. But to be honest, I don’t recall much after that in terms of the story. I was just fascinated by the gameplay mechanics; controlling an army of different types of soldiers, ships, weapons and buildings, and using it different ways. I had never seen anything like this from a video game, which might have explained why I never fully got into the game at the time. The next time I saw my dad playing he seemed to be controlling one of the other races, the ones with deep, echo-y voices and super-advanced technology. As I stood behind him and watched over his shoulder he sent a lone fighter to attack a base by himself. To his surprise, the single fighter killed a slew of enemies during his final stand before falling. Unaware of my presence, I clearly remember my dad saying under his breath:

“Cor, he’s a tough little fucker that one.”

Pretty sure that was the first time I ever heard him swear.

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 9.38.54 AM

I couldn’t get into it. Not properly. It went on for too long, I couldn’t follow the story, and it was too different to anything I’d seen before in a video game. I lost interest, and my recollection of that period of time ends.

Eight years later I somehow found myself in a tiny dorm room with an amazing bunch of like-minded people. It’s absolutely incredible how at university you can meet people from all backgrounds and still have so much in common. All of us were studying either Physics or Chemistry. All eighteen. All vociferous nerds. All had strong opinions on the distinction between geeks and nerds. All totally in love with then presidential candidate Obama, even though we were studying in the UK.

And all of us were hooked on StarCraft.

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 9.39.27 AM

To this day I have no idea how all of us found each other, and how it was that all of us were into the game. As we were getting to know one another and the types of games we enjoyed, as soon as the first person mentioned Starcraft we all took turns to say: “Holy shit, me too!” I wasn’t as enthusiastic as the others, but I remembered the memories of watching my father play which gave me the sufficient impetus to go out and acquire a copy of the game before anyone noticed I didn’t already have one.

It was awesome to bond with my classmates like that, and we spent endless hours embroiled in weekly mini-tournaments among ourselves. I picked the game up quickly, remembering certain units and buildings from all those years before. I never won any of the tournaments (mostly due to one of the others being a God at playing as Protoss) but it didn’t matter, never had I felt so accepted. My school life had been so crappy, so full of bullies and isolation. I even had a teacher who once joined in with the class as they all made jokes at my expense (though to be fair, I was able to do a brilliant job of acting like it didn’t bother me in the slightest). So to go from that environment of assholes and clowns to one full of people that all thought like me…well, it was special. And StarCraft was a huge part of that.

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 9.39.34 AM

But more than anything else, I think it was the story of StarCraft and its sequel Starcraft II that made me. It’s unlike anything that I’ve played before or since. The magnitude and scope of the games is breath-taking, on a par with games like the Mass Effect and Final Fantasy franchises. Power struggles, overthrown empires, all-out war, sacrifice, revenge, star-crossed love, redemption, and the ever-present threat of a prophesied apocalypse, all beautifully woven together into a rich tapestry of storytelling.

But what’s key to note is the sheer length of time in between my humble first experiences with StarCraft to the final chapter of this epic saga: Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void. I was ten years old the day my dad pulled the game out of his plastic bag to cheer me up after the argument with my brother. Eighteen years old when my true love for the game was kindled by my coursemates. And twenty-six on the day I finished the last installment of StarCraft II and the story was brought to its incredible, breathless conclusion. A sixteen-year journey, over half of my life, from watching Raynor take his first steps on the road to heroism, to seeing Artanis triumph over the dark God, Amon. From seeing a corrupt and brutal Terran Confederacy morph into Mengsk’s tyrannical Dominion, to a peaceful democracy allied with the Protoss Daelaam.

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 9.39.38 AM

And from seeing a lowly Protoss Dark Templar, exiled from Aiur along with others of his kind for their rejection of the Khala, display courage and wisdom in his attempt to unify Templar and Dark Templar alike. It was he who taught the warrior Tassadar how to use Dark Templar energies in his suicide mission which destroyed the Overmind. It was he who used the prophecy to foresee the return of the Xel’naga, and raced to urge the principals in this story: Raynor, Kerrigan and Artanis, to work together and save the galaxy. And it was he who gave his life to free Artanis’ mind from the control of Amon, and allowed him to rally friends and foes alike under one banner to defeat the dark God. An individual of courage, intellect and cunning. A valiant warrior bearing a powerful message of hope, unity, and friendship, with incorruptible morals and the enduring belief of a single, unified Protoss. A being that made the most fundamental impact on me more than any other game character, who helped to shape me and make me who I am today, whose name I would take on not just to honour his legacy but to remind myself of the values that he embodied, and to strive to conduct myself in the manner befitting his name.

Zeratul.

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form.

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

The Sims 4 | The Game That Defines Nerd Side of Life

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

The Sims franchise has legendarily great music. We hope you enjoy this playlist of calm Sim-creation and build music. Feel free to keep it running in the background while you work, play, or read.

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Welcome to the final day of November — the end of regulation for The Games That Define Us! But not to fear, we’ve got four more incredible DLC posts coming up in the first four days of December! These will be followed up on December 5th by the final secret entry.

Thank goodness for optimism. We’ve had so many dark games lately, it’s refreshing to be joined by Alyssa from Nerd Side of Life to finish off November. She’ll be dissecting the latest, greatest game in the most popular life-sim franchise ever made. Alyssa just launched a Patreon, you know, so you should consider supporting a great content creator!

I love her writing style; it’s so fun-loving and quirky, but serious when it needs to be. Here are some recent favorites from Nerd Side of Life:

We’re in the homestretch now. Please enjoy this next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

DppdiPMXcAgEocw

Alyssa @ Nerd Side of Life 

Twitter: @alyssamichelle_

For living a great life!

Game: The Sims 4
System: PC
Release Date: September 2, 2014

1P Start

Even after streaming and playing, The Sims 4 is letting me express my creativity. When I feel like I don’t have any creativity in me, I find myself going on The Sims and building houses and creating families. So thank you Sims 4, for being the best game I could have asked for. You are there for me when no one else is.

1

As someone with two brothers, I’ve been around games my entire life. From playing Mario Kart on the GameCube and to Mario Party on the Wii, my brothers and I were obsessed with gaming. And then I got older and they got into shooting games. I had lost people to play with and the motivation to play. Until I saw The Sims 2 in a Toys R Us sales bin and convinced my mom to buy it for me. Actually, we had to go BACK and buy the base game – the thing I had selected was just a stuff pack. I felt incredibly foolish but needless to say my mother and I went trekking back to find the base game. From that moment in early 2009, I’ve been obsessed with the Sims franchise. The Sims franchise is known for many things – mainly how people use the Sims to kill people.

What? It’s entertaining to watch. Don’t lie and try to say you haven’t attempted it yourself.

I remember that my first family I made in The Sims 2 was just a random couple in some base game starter home. I didn’t play as hardcore then as I did now because I was only 13/14 playing the game. Anyways, my first family was just a husband and wife. I was excited because I had gotten her pregnant and she was about to give birth when just suddenly, out of nowhere, THE HUSBAND DIED. I didn’t kill him or anything, he just, died.

And then I befriended the Grim Reaper. Good times, good times.

Anyway, back to my backstory with The Sims. When The Sims 3 came out I was thrilled because the graphics looked so much cooler and I played it obsessively, until about 2010 when I got a MacBook and everything changed. The game wouldn’t load and it was no fun for me to play anymore. I would try every once in a while and it would just end in frustration and a frozen game. Despite all my frustration with trying to play the Sims 3 I still loved the franchise and followed it religiously, waiting for news a new release and desperately hoping for a better Mac release. I even continued to buy the games and still have them in my Origin account.

That was until the holy grail of The Sims came out. The Sims 4 came out in September of 2014 for PC users only (and boy was I pissed about that) and shortly after for Mac users in February 2015. It was a long couple of months until the release.

4.PNG

I was in class during release time, and had bought the PC version the night before knowing that it would download as Mac when it released – and I also researched about it and discovered that if I bought it the night before, I wouldn’t have to bring my debit card with me to class and I would just be able to download it. Which was a win for me because I wanted to be able to play it right then and there.

Thankfully, that was my last and only class of the day so I spent the rest of my day forgetting about food and other people and just playing Sims 4 in my dorm room. I chatted about it for a little with my then roommate (who is also a gamer – she understood my excitement) and my boyfriend, who just nodded and agreed to keep me happy. He brought me food that day so I wouldn’t have to starve because honestly – I would have.

I swear, there is a point to this. Just keep reading.

Around the time the game released for Mac users, I felt alone. It seemed like all my friends had left me and I was feeling oddly home sick. I didn’t want to be at school and I wanted to transfer out somewhere and just give up on life. I was depressed all the time, but when I had The Sims 4 open, I was satisfied and content with myself.

This is incredibly cliche and cheesy, but The Sims 4 was literally my escape. It allowed me to create myself with another person (usually whatever fictional character I am currently crushing on – at the time Matt Murdock probably, and now currently Kylo Ren and Dan Howell) and live out a life that I knew couldn’t exist. I’d started off married, have a boat load of kids, and then have my dream job and dream house. For those moments that I was in the game, I was truly living the life that I wanted to live.

2.PNG
It became even more fun when my boyfriend would join me and we would make ourselves (and still do – currently we have all daughters in game which makes me laugh) and have children, our dream careers, and he would see me happy and still supports me and my obsession.

After that, it was even more fun when I found a community of other Simmers who loved the game as much as I did. We share Sims, stories, builds, and just build each other up and make each other happy.

For a brief time I streamed playing on Twitch and it allowed me to make so many MORE friends because I could be myself and play something that I adored more than anything else. I made YouTube videos of me playing the game and even though they got no views, it felt nice to be able to share myself playing. (I want to get back into that, but life.)

3.PNG

Even after streaming and playing, The Sims 4 is letting me express my creativity. When I feel like I don’t have any creativity in me, I find myself going on The Sims and building houses and creating families. Sure, I don’t make storylines like some other Simmers do, but I make it what’s best for me. I’ve even started dabbling in CC recolors!

So thank you Sims 4, for being the best game I could have asked for. You are there for me when no one else is.

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form.

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

Day Z | The Game That Defines Will

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

The zombies. They’re back.

You know what else is back? The illustrious double-act of Geek. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat! That’s right, today we’ve got Will from G.S.R.R. covering a surprisingly modern game. It’s a stark contrast to the previous zombie game we covered all the way back on day five.

Will composes some great pieces for G.S.R.R., so if you survive this piece, you should journey over there. Here are some recent favorites:

Also, be sure to check out Murr’s much brighter piece on Pokémon Red and Blue.

We’ve turned down the lights in order to set the mood. The hunt begins, as well as the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

Dow6Zb8UYAAtKsL

Will @ geeksleeprinserepeat

Twitter: @Will_GSRR

For the adrenaline…

Game: DayZ
System: PC
Release Date: December 16, 2013

1P Start

Since DayZ, survival games have come in droves, some have stuck around but many failed and disappeared, they just couldn’t quite capture that DayZ feeling… I owe that game so much, it has shaped me as a gamer, it is the game that has inspired me to make videos, to write stories about my experiences. I’ve literally made friends for life playing it.

DayZ, just the mere mention of it can spark some very firm views; it’s a game that splits opinions, a game that has been sat in early access for over 4 years. Some say it will never be finished, some say it’s a scam, others claim it to be a unique and incredible experience. Whatever your opinion on it, for me, it completely changed my video game world.

DayZ first existed as a mod to Arma 2; I only played the mod after the standalone version came out back in December 2013. Back then I wasn’t really a PC gamer and only had a laptop that could run a few games that weren’t too taxing on your processor or that didn’t need a super powerful graphics card to run – basically I played Football Manager and that was pretty much it.

Nevertheless, I was excited for the DayZ standalone experience, I wanted to play it and forked out for it on steam when it first released. This was my first ever early access game and my first ‘proper’ video game on a PC in about 10 years. Up to that point I’d been an Xbox owner, all of my serious gaming was done on console. But with the new generation of consoles, my gaming community became fractured. I stayed with Xbox and got the XB1, as did one of my friends, Murr – who I run the site with, picked up a PS4, and our other friend didn’t get anything, slowly but surely our group played together less and less.

But all was not lost, I had another group on the horizon they were PC gamers – one of which was my now brother-in-law. Actually at that point he was the only one I really knew from the group.

So there I was, with my laptop – underpowered though it was, and booted up DayZ for the first time. It ran like crap, my laptop could barely handle running it – it sounded like a jet trying to take off whenever I played it, and there was basically no optimisation at all. I was lucky to get 20fps on it, but I still persisted and I’m glad I did.

One of my very first sessions playing has stuck with forever. I’d spent some time searching around Electro – one of the bigger cities on the coast, and had a decent bit of loot which included a revolver in my backpack. I was making my way to try and meet up with a friend when I was held up by this kid – he must have been about 13. He was trying to make me do this quiz in order to keep my life – kind of like in Monty Python when they’re crossing the bridge. Anyway, he turned his back on me and I was able to quickly equip the revolver from my backpack and kill him before he could kill me – he was always going to shoot me, I’m not dumb.

It was only a brief encounter, but it was my first one that I’d ever had in an open world online game, it was an encounter that was unscripted with a stranger. This was something that I’d never experienced before; my heart was racing because I didn’t know how it would play out. I knew there was a good chance I would die and that I would need to choose my moment to strike perfectly. After it was over, the adrenaline was running through me, I was excited and actually glad that I was alive.

This encounter set a precedent and every time I was playing DayZ things like this would happen often – totally unique and unscripted moments that you just couldn’t really get anywhere else. Remember that up to this point I had either been playing single player games, co-op games, or multiplayer shooter games like Halo, Gears, and Battlefield. In my eyes there had never been anything like DayZ before, nothing that offered this freedom, the potential to meet all these random people with totally unpredictable outcomes.

Over the next few months I played DayZ more and more, eventually to the point where I decided I needed an upgrade in my rig. So I forked out for a new PC powerful enough to run most games.

By this point I also now had 3-4 other people to play DayZ with and we would regularly group together for adventures. During our time playing we had firefights across airfields, made friends with survivors, betrayed other survivors, got betrayed by survivors, saved people, stole vehicles, crashed vehicles, died climbing ladders, lost hours’ worth of loot in the blink of an eye, ‘assaulted’ a place called Green Mountain only for it to end in a massacre. It was incredible and an unparalleled experience.

Before seriously getting in to PC gaming, I played a lot of single player games, I was able to sit down for hours upon hours and plow my way through huge expansive RPG’s, spending tens upon tens of hours exploring every inch of what they had to offer. Nowadays I can barely complete a game that has a campaign of around 10 hours. I just lose interest with so many games now. I have a burning desire to play co-op or online, to play these sandbox style survival games where ‘anything’ is possible. Spending almost 30 hours on Rust one weekend was a joy because it was an experience that only my friends and I had.

Writing my DayZ diaries series on my blog was such a fun experience that again, no one else will ever have. That is what has stuck with me all these years, so many unique and memorable moments with my friends that you just can’t get playing games like Call of Duty or similar.

But it’s not just my experiences that I’ve loved, I’ve also loved watching and hearing about others playing the game, I closely followed a number of YouTubers through their adventures in the game seeing what they would get up to and who they would meet.

Since DayZ, survival games have come in droves, some have stuck around but many failed and disappeared, they just couldn’t quite capture that DayZ feeling. Sure it ran like crap, and has been stuck in development hell for years, but I owe that game so much, it has shaped me as a gamer, it is the game that has inspired me to make videos, to write stories about my experiences. I’ve literally made friends for life playing it.

The experiences I’ve had in that game are unique to the people playing at that moment in time and that’s what makes it so special for me, not knowing what’s going to happen when you next log on to play.

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form.

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

Borderlands | The Game That Defines FTWRuubin

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

There is so much talent on display in this collaboration that it’s amazing. From FTWRuubin, today we have, well, Ruubin! This blogger has mastered the art of humor, and you can’t help but laugh all the way through reading their posts. We’re honored to have Ruubin on board, discussing the quirky sci-fi western shooter Borderlands!

Ruubin recently took on one of my Daily Inklings — my series of writing prompts I publish everyday at midnight!

And here are some other recent favorites!

Give this great blogger a follow — they deserve it! And with that, we hope you enjoy the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

Dm_wdLoUYAAXNuT

Ruubin @ FTWRuubin

Twitter: @FTWRuubin

For the masks…

Game: Borderlands
System: PS3
Release Date: October 20, 2009

1P Start

From games like Borderlands, we learn about kindness, that children can be scary but often grow up being reactive to negative experiences in their childhood, and that people can hide behind a mask so we need to look more at the way they treat people instead of the makeup they wear.

Let me sum up the first twenty years of my life as a gamer with one word — casual. I was the biggest casual gamer out there. For the n00bs that have stumbled upon this post and are wondering what in the world that would even mean, a casual gamer is a gamer that plays a few games a year. Sure, I grew up with video games and consoles (Super Nintendo, Gamecube, Kingdom Hearts, Mario Kart, etc.) but my record of ever beating an actual video game was shorter than the attention span of a goldfish.

Then, college happened. And, the very idea of having to embrace this awful thing called “adulthood” was so intimidating to me that my only coping mechanism was embracing the nerd inside me and evolving from a “casual gamer” to “hardcore.” Yup, I didn’t transition from different levels, I jumped straight from being a Charmander to Charizard himself. I ditched the generic “family-style” games like Super Mario and dove straight into defending the Horde in Northrend and saving Pandora as a Vault Hunter.

Of all the games I’ve played, the two that had the most significant influence on my life was World of Warcraft and Borderlands. Life changing events happened while I was immersed in these two worlds. I graduated college. I got married. Started my first “real” job where I have to think about scary things like taxes, health insurance, and retirement. However, a lot of what I learned from life, I learned from video games. Which leads me into the top three things I learned from Borderlands about adulting that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise:

1. Always Be Positive

I know there are going to be a lot of gamers out there that disagree but Claptrap is the most underrated character in Borderlands. As my gaming friends would say, Claptrap is that annoying NPC you wish would just die already, but let’s be real for a minute. Really, Claptrap is just that one annoying person in your group of friends that always has to be optimistic. Someone whips the entire instance? Not to fear, so and so will give us a pep talk about how it’s not about the dungeons we conquer but the time we spend together as friends, and blah blah blah.

They’re not just always there for the group raids or in the discord chat but the one that gives the best pep talks and advice. They’re just there and frankly, if they weren’t, deep down you’d kind of miss them. They are that little bit of hope that reminds you that life isn’t so bad. And, we can’t help but love the Claptraps in all our guilds, friend groups, etc. Sure, they might annoy us but in most cases, it’s better to hear them hammering on about how positive their day was or how delightful the pizza they just ordered is then listen to everyone else breathing through their mics (thank you gaming universe for the push-to-talk button now).

Moral of the story. Sometimes that positive person gets on our nervous. There’s always a brighter side to things but if you really think about it…at the end of the day, we’re just playing a game. It might as well be a positive experience.

2. Children Can Be Creepy

Tiny Tina has some pretty foul language. Tiny Tina is a twelve-year old explosive expert that likes to blow things (and people) up. How creepy is that? However, you have to admit, her names for things are always really funny. I mean, who else enjoyed searching for the badonkadonks (two rockets) in Borderlands 2?

I mean, Tiny Tina is crazzzzyyyy. When I think back to my twelve-year old self, I’m pretty sure I was playing innocent games like Legend of Zelda or playing outside with the kids in our neighborhood. I wasn’t building bombs. However, in Tiny Tina’s defense, she and her family were some of Handsome Jack’s test subjects so I think poking and prodding a child is just reason to make her into an explosive-building warrior. It also shows that the traumatic events children experience truly do impact the way they grow up (#stopbullying). However, it’s because of Tiny Tina and her crazy language that I usually recommend Borderlands to my friends with a slight disclaimer.

3. You Can’t Hide Behind a Mask

Handsome Jack is the villain for the majority of the Borderlands franchise. He‘s taken over the Hyperion corporation, is trying to take over Pandora, and has stolen the credit from the original Vault hunters. However, his mask can’t hide the truth that he’s actually a fraud.

I think in today’s society we often overlook things because we only see the outside appearance. As sad as it is, we judge people based on their beauty. However, beauty works both ways. Sometimes we might overlook someone who is beautiful and automatically assume they are a bad person. We might judge them by thinking they are obsessed with themselves. Instead of judging people on appearance, we need to look more at how they treat people. In Handsome Jack’s case, it’s easy to see through his mask and realize that he’s just a dictator trying to take credit for things he didn’t do.

Overall, I think we often mistaken the value of video games and the impact these stories have on our lives. So many people are willing to point their finger at video games as the cause for today’s violence and negative behavior in the younger generations that they fail to see the influence some of these characters have to enhance the opposite. From games like Borderlands, we learn about kindness, that children can be scary but often grow up being reactive to negative experiences in their childhood, and that people can hide behind a mask so we need to look more at the way they treat people instead of the makeup they wear.

So, my question to you is, what’s a life lesson you learned from a video game character?

❤ Ruubin

P.S. Thanks to Nikki and Matt for letting me participate in this collaboration!

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form.

Image Source via Borderlands Wiki resource. Borderlands is owned by Gearbox Software and 2K Games.

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

Fallout 3 | The Game That Defines Upon Completion

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Their tagline may be “one day we will finish a game,” but my goodness their content doesn’t show it. There sure is a lot of text in italics in this post, an indication of vast cultural knowledge. Today we’re joined by the amazing Khinjarsi of Upon Completion, a fantastic writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of the gaming zeitgeist. You’re going to love today’s piece — it’s insanely detailed and cultural references abound. After you finish here, you should enjoy these recent favorites over on Upon Completion:

Only nine pieces remain, but it’s not the end of the world. We hope you enjoy the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

Dm1PFRAUYAE6sH2

Khinjarsi @ Upon Completion 

Twitter: @Khinjarsi_

For the brave…

Game: Fallout 3
System: XBOX 360
Release Date: October 28, 2008

1P Start

Fallout 3 was one of a few things I experienced (since I think games like Fallout are experiences) that helped skew my brain toward a more curious nature. I always tend to be curious about things, but I think Fallout 3 encouraged me to explore those new things, try out new tactics and try something new.

1

War. War never changes.

Perhaps not, but I owe a lot to Fallout 3 for changing me. It may seem an odd choice of game to write about in this context, but it didn’t actually take me long to think of a game that has more meaning to me than most. I would love to have written a huge tome about going through a difficult patch and Fallout keeping me going through it. I’ve been through many of those rough patches, and sometimes there is a Fallout game waiting for me at the end of a long, difficult day to shoot things at long range and revel in joining the Legion the Brotherhood. Hell, it would make writing this and taking part in The Games That Define Us a lot easier. But it would also be doing Fallout 3 an injustice. You see, Fallout 3 changed smaller parts of me that have had small but, I feel, important aspects of who I am, what I play, and how I play.

Before I start, I want to put it out there than I prefer Fallout 3 to Fallout: New Vegas. Each have their faults, each have their shining moments. However, Fallout 3 was my first Fallout, and therefore I am biased in two respects. First, that in most cases, the first version of a series you play will likely be your favourite (as another example, I prefer FFX to all other Final Fantasy games, and prefer Persona 4 to the rest). Second, that Fallout 3 had a much bigger impact on me and my relationship with video games. Would New Vegas have had the same impact? Possibly. I’m not here to talk about what ifs. I ask that you just leave your opinions of which is better here (yes, specifically here) and learn a thing or two about me.

Fallout 3 marked a turn in my gaming self. I stuck to fantasy adventure and RPGs for most of the years I was gaming. Occasionally I would branch out into a platformer or point and click. Then I was introduced to the Xbox 360 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (which, yes, I adore). None of my gaming friends back then had dabbled in the Fallout universe either, sticking to brightly coloured fantasy JRPGs or occasional action-adventure games. I had noone to adventure with and noone to seek a recommendation from before I bought the game. We didn’t exactly wander far out of our comfort zones back then.

You see, the box of Fallout 3 and the general descriptions and reviews of the game presented this post nuclear apocalypse as a 50 Shades of Brown first person shooter. My past experiences with the likes of Call of Duty and similar titles most definitely turned me off the genre and things that looked like it. At the time this included Fallout. It looked drab, it looked like a hundred other shoot ’em ups at the time, and I was not interested.

A cheap discovery in the local GAME store prodded me in the direction of the wasteland after learning Fallout 3 had come from the same developers as Elder Scrolls. I bought it, and challenged myself to play it for a while after being encouraged by my adventures spent in Cyrodiil. I loved it. It surprised me that I did, and perhaps more importantly it showed me that I shouldn’t be afraid to try games that I may not immediately gravitate to. I sank so many hours into my characters, as I did with my Cyrodiil character. I loved the depth of the lore, the mysteries to stumble across, and the sense of achievement felling Super Mutant Behemoths gave me. I have never regretted picking up a Fallout game since.

So what did Fallout 3 change?

At the core of it, Fallout 3 made me a braver player, and ultimately helped me be a braver person. Not only am I happier to explore games I wouldn’t normally look twice at (I usually give the indie games on PS Plus a go before deciding if they are my bag or not), but it made me braver in the games themselves. Take for instance, Ghouls in the Metro system of the DC ruins.

I’m not the biggest fan of zombie fiction. Partially because I’m not 100% convinced that the zombies are necessarily the real horror (why I liked the first couple of series of The Walking Dead), but also the right ones in the right fiction at the right time can give me the real creeps – Mira Grant’s Feed, Charlie Higson’s The Enemy, Max Brooks’ World War Z.

3
In the same way I don’t actively seek out gorilla houses in zoos (yay recurring nightmares about one specific gorilla house at one specific zoo), I don’t actively seek out zombies in fiction, particularly gaming. The ghouls in the Fallout games are the nearest you get in the series to zombies; poor souls who survived the nuclear bomb but succumbed to years of radiation. There are a few friendly ones like Hancock (or perhaps Moira Brown) but generally they want to bite your kneecaps off. The odd one on its own is no real threat, but get three or four, or a Tenpenny Tower-ful, and you’ve had it, and that can be a terrifying thought sometimes. (It’s the same feeling I have with ants, only ants are more real and currently can give me an allergic reaction).

All this makes traversing the mid to late game of Fallout 3 really challenging for me. A huge amount of time is spent in the Washington Metro system where it seems most of the city’s population ran to when the bombs dropped, and where most of the feral ghoul population seems to be now. And so a lot of my Fallout time was spent creepy-crawling around every corner and sniping things from far away. As I got more powerful things got a bit easier and I could deal with the odd surprise attack. The low level ghouls became another mole rat, another skeever to deal with. The higher level ones became predictable bosses I could pick off from a distance, or avoid altogether. I became less intimidated by the challenge and eventually made my way out of the tunnels.

So, how has that changed me?

When I did the first draft of this post, I wrote the following:

“I wouldn’t say this thing with ghouls has massively affected my offline self but it has made a difference in my gaming.”

On re-reading my thoughts, I stopped and wondered if I truly meant this. I say this because I think actually, Fallout 3 was one of a few things I experienced (since I think games like Fallout are experiences) that helped skew my brain toward a more curious nature. I always tend to be curious about things, but I think Fallout 3 encouraged me to explore those new things, try out new tactics and try something new. At the end of the day, if I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t have to continue, and that principle still stands. It helped me strengthen my resolve and ability to reject things I don’t like.

It wasn’t the only game to encourage this, and wasn’t the only thing in my life to do it either, but I think it’s an important part of who I am today. In gaming, it certainly made a difference to how I approach new games I wouldn’t normally try, and even how I play in games I know I will love. I’ve said in many of my posts, I’m a sneaky sort. Bows, sniper rifles and sneaking are my jam and usually how I play my first characters in games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls. Since playing with Fallout 3 and having a go with different builds, I can cope better with sudden close quarter attacks and sudden spoops. I can cope with the zombies in the Elder Scrolls series better and I’m marginally happier in the tunnels of games than I was. Except maybe that one zombie at the start of Elder Scrolls Oblivion which always makes me jump.

Having said all that, I still don’t actively seek out zombies hordes or underground lairs, but I’m much less averse to the Metro system than I was when I started. Mind you, having a Ghoul Mask also helps.

And now, to focus less specifically on Fallout 3 but the series as a whole; Fallout has helped me embrace the 1940s and 1950s culture. You see, since discovering my great-grand-uncle was at the Battle of the Somme and my grandfather (who I sadly never met) was an REME engineer in the Second World War, my dad and I got into visiting 1940s recreation events. There’s a fair few of these in the UK, and after visiting a few, my parents and I now attend at least one a year in outfits of the time. “How does this relate to your experiences in the Fallout universe?”, I hear you ask. Let’s use the music as an example here.

The Fallout universe is set in an timeline where the bombs dropped across the world; our reality and the Fallout reality split shortly after the Second World War. Where our reality sped through the 1950s, 60s and onwards into the world we have today, the Fallout reality embraced the styles and tech of the 1950s and stuck with the Golden Age – think Worlds of Tomorrow meets the Jetsons. Everything from the advertising to the fashion looks like the styles we had in the 1950s. When the nukes were dropped in Fallout in 2077, the radio was still playing tracks dating from that time; the Fallout Wiki lists tracks for Galaxy News Radio from Fallout 3 as dating from 1935 through until 1954, whilst Fallout 4 has tracks that stretch into the early 1960s. Of course, attending 1940s events means we miss out on some of the more rockabilly style songs. Luckily there are still a few, however, that I learned the words to whilst travelling the wastes, and can sing along with whilst sampling the Camp coffee. In particular Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo) by Danny Kaye and The Andrews Sisters and I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire by The Ink Spots. It helped me embrace more of the 1940’s events than perhaps I would have otherwise, and helps me feel more a part of those events.

2

I am sure Fallout 3 has impacted me in so many other ways that I don’t notice or am not aware of. I wish I was able to write about all those. Sadly, without being aware of them, I can’t, but I hope this short essay gave you an insight into why Fallout 3 is so important to me and my gaming self; why I prefer it over Fallout: New Vegas, and perhaps why you like the games that you do.

If you found this kind of post interesting, I encourage you to read the rest of The Games That Define Us. It covers a huge range of people, personalities, writing styles, games and eras. Despite the procrastination on my part, I’ve actually quite enjoyed taking part in this massive collaboration, and examining Fallout 3 in a personal kind of way. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Fallout, the games you love or what games mean for you, and if you want more of this kind of writing, please do let me know. It takes me a lot longer to get a post out in this style, but it turns out I enjoy it.

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form. 

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

Wizard 101 | The Game That Defines Krysanthe

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

The days of November are dwindling, and we find ourselves with just a few more pieces in what has been a definitively epic collaboration. So much talent has been on display from all corners of the blogosphere, and today we’re joined by another such individual. That’s right, it’s the crafty Kathy from Krysanthe! Try saying that three times fast! Kathy is all about making geeky crafts, and she does so in style. If that wasn’t enough, she writes about the creative process behind these works of art. Here are some recent favorites:

It’d also be a great idea to follow her on Instagram!

But today she’s not writing about crafts. She’s writing about one of the most unique games in this collab: the kid friendly MMO Wizard 101! We hope you’re spellbound by  the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

DltS0klU0AAdm2p

Kathy @ Krysanthe

Twitter: @Krysanthe1

For the child inside…

Game: Wizard 101
System: PC
Release Date: September 2, 2008

1P Start

Here’s the magical thing for me about Wizard101: I made amazing friends, many whom I’m still connected with today. I learned that you can trust people you’ve met on the internet. In fact, you can learn and grow with them. Without my Wizard101 friends, I never would have had the courage to begin my online writing adventure, and I never would have started my blog.

null

The year was 2009. I was a stay-at-home mom with a two and a seven year old. Although I played video games on the PC and Wii, the idea of playing with other people around the world wasn’t even on my radar.  

One day my seven-year-old daughter came home from school begging me to set up an account for her on Wizard101. I’ll be honest folks, I had not even heard of Wizard101.

After asking all kinds of questions, I figured out that Wizard101 was an online video game. A game filled with magical spells that she could play with her friends.

I wasn’t amused.

My mind screamed…STRANGER DANGER!!! The idea of my seven-year-old princess playing an online game with potential predators just really wasn’t something I thought was appropriate.

As a mom from a conservative Midwestern U.S. town, I lived in a bubble. All I could think of was what could go wrong if I let my baby play… scammers, predators, fake friends or even kidnappers. Oh the horrors!!!

Although I was silently freaking out at all the possibilities, I told her the only rational thing that I could: “I’ll think about it.”

I wasn’t going to think about it.  I was hoping it would just go away like so many things do when you are seven years old.

Guess what? It didn’t go away.  

Those fools at Wizard101 had the nerve to advertise their game on Nickelodeon. So, every time we sat down and watched ICarly or SpongeBob, we were bombarded with Wizard101 commercials.  

Advertising works folks.  

She kept asking to play, and I watched the ads. The ads really made it sound like a kid-friendly game. So after watching the ad for what seemed like the millionth time, I broke down and decided to do some research.

I was quite impressed by what I found by trolling the Wizard101 website and forums. The game creators, KingsIsle Entertainment, were doing everything possible to make this a family-friendly game.  

Anyway, my research found that the parental controls were rock solid.  The chat features were made for kids, to both keep them safe and from being inappropriate.  The game was heavily moderated. As far as MMO gaming goes, Wizard101 seemed like the perfect game for a kid to play.

This resolute mom was breaking down. Before I gave her permission to play though, I decided that I needed to see for myself if it really was a safe place for my kid.

So I downloaded the game to my PC, hit play and started off on my own wizarding adventure.  

null

It took me about 30 minutes of game play to realize that this game was going to be safe for my daughter to play.  Then something magical happened, I wanted to keep playing.

I was completely mesmerized by the story. I wanted nothing more than to help Headmaster Ambrose save the Spiral from the evil Malistaire.   

As a huge fan of Harry Potter, I relished the fact that I was an apprentice wizard who cast magical spells on trolls, ghouls and other mythical beings.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the cartoon scenery, the simple controls, and the turn-based game play.  

So, even though I had deemed the game worthy of my daughter, and there was no other reason for me to play. I kept being drawn in by this magical adventure.

At first, I just would play for a few minutes during my son’s nap time. I’ll be honest, I felt ridiculous. I couldn’t get over the fact that here I was, a grown adult, enjoying this silly cartoony kids game. Sometimes I’d jump in game with my daughter and all her friends would ooo and ahhh at the fact her mom was playing “their” game.

Eventually, I hit the end of the free to play area. I was torn. A huge part of me wanted to pay actual money for this game, but the rational part of me couldn’t make sense out of paying $10 a month to play a kids’ video game.  

Not gonna lie folks, I was old school. I wanted to hand the game creators a sum of money and then be able to play that game forever. Monthly fee? Just insane in my mind.

I’m sure you guessed it already, but I broke down and signed up for the membership.  

As I continued to play, I still had no interest in playing with others except my daughter. In fact, I was more annoyed with other players than anything. Jumping into my rounds, casting worthless spells, using the chat to say stupid things, in general messing everything up. In their defense, I knew they were mostly kids, but it still somewhat annoyed me.    

Then one magical day a wizard jumped into the ring with me. We killed the baddies and then moved on to the next set of enemies. This went on for a while, and we chatted a bit as we played. Then, before he had to poof out of the game he whispered to me, “I think you should join the Wise Wizards. They are on Wizard101 Central.”

Those words meant nothing to me. ZILCH!

I was curious enough though to find out what he meant. So after some searching I found a forum called Wizard101 central and on that forum was a group called the Wizened Wizards.   

The Wizened Wizards were a group of Wizard101 players who were over the age of 21. I was in awe to find out that I wasn’t alone, and that there were other crazy adults enjoying this kids’ game.  

I also was beginning to figure out that as a single player playing an MMO, I was missing out on one of the largest parts of the game, the social aspect.  

I was still fearful about the scary place that was the internet, but I knew that there were places in the game that I could not explore without a group. I also figured out something my seven year old daughter knew from the very beginning; that an MMO is meant to be played with friends.

So, I decided to join the group on a whim, and was pleased a punch when I was finally approved. The group itself was bound to the rules of Wizard101 Central, so it was really strict. Just to give you an idea of some of the rules:

  • Only forum and character names were allowed (no real names)
  • No phone numbers
  • No locations
  • No outside voice chats (like discord)

Those rules, which seem crazy to me today, made me feel safe enough to get involved in the Wizened Wizard group.  

I’ll be honest, I had some of the same fears for myself that I had for my daughter.  Somehow I believed that the internet was a scary place filled with the dregs of humanity.  So I had zero intention of letting this game get personal, but I still wanted to find people to play with from time to time.

One of the first activities I decided to participate in with the Wizened Wizards was a Meet and Greet. Since Wizard101 didn’t allow for guilds, this really was the only way for members of the group to connect in the game. The group would meet at a specific location in game and send friend requests to everyone there. 

I went to my first meet and greet not knowing what to expect, and left it with a ton of new in game “friends”.  

Even after joining the Wizened Wizards I still played mostly alone.  I went to meet and greets for the group and from time to time I’d go help someone out that needed it.  

Then something shifted.

null

I don’t know if it was the small talk at all the meet and greets.  Or if it was the fun of doing things in Wizard101 in a group, but there was a shift.  I found myself with a group of friends that I consistently played with.

And folks, it opened up my world.

No, we didn’t share personal information, but I knew a lot about them.  Some of them were mom’s like me, there were gaming dad’s, there were even couple’s that played together.   

We did the most challenging and ridiculous things together in game, and we had a blast doing them.  It was a small group of friends, but we never excluded new members to the Wizened Wizards. We encouraged them to play with us.  

In fact, a few of us volunteered to be the ones who did all the screening of new members to the group.  

They were good times.  We played, we laughed, we had fun.   

Slowly, I began to realize that not all of the internet was out to get me, and that the internet was filled with people like me. It was just a matter of finding them.  

Eventually, I started opening up to my inner circle of Wizard101 friends.  I told them *gasp* that my real name was Kathy and I was a stay at home mom with two kids.  Looking back on it now, it seems like nothing, but at that time, to me, it was a big deal.  

As time went on, I realized that we really had a lot in common and that I treasured each and every one of their friendships.

Eventually, we outgrew the Wizened Wizard group.  Their rules were too confining. We started using Skype for communicating, and eventually I started a Facebook group called the Wise Wizards for people who wanted to be able to chat more freely and connect on a more personal level.

As all good things do, it came to an end.  

Not abruptly, but slowly. Real life got busier, I had less time to play. Then SWTOR came out which I desperately wanted to play. So I just stopped playing Wizard101. I still administered the Facebook group until it became a more of a group filled with people I didn’t know as opposed to ones that I did know.

Here’s the magical thing for me about Wizard101: I made amazing friends, many whom I’m still connected with today. I learned that you can trust people you’ve met on the internet. In fact, you can learn and grow with them. Without my Wizard101 friends, I never would have had the courage to begin my online writing adventure, and I never would have started my blog. So yes, Wizard101 is game that defined me.  

null

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form. 

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption | The Game That Defines Wintendo 64

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

 

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

Some are great writers. Some are great cosplayers. But there is one who is incredibly talented at both. KT from Wintendo 64 has been a long-time supporter of Normal Happenings, and even contributed a wonderful piece for Hyrule: See the Sights! Hear the Sounds! She is also and extraordinary cosplayer — seriously, her work keeps getting better and better with each cosplay. I was so impressed with her recent Barbarian Link cosplay, so you should definitely follow her on Instagram if you want to be constantly in awe with the creativity on display. As far as writing is concerned, I loved her recent piece on supporting content creators!

KT is covering a game that I consider highly underrated, as most Wii games seem to be. The next chapter of The Games That Define Us is underway!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

DqIi-_iV4AAp1zP

KT @ Wintendo 64

Twitter: @wintendo_64

For overcoming obstacles…

Game: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
System: Wii
Release Date: August 27, 2007

1P Start

Metroid Prime 3 was the first game to show me that a female protagonist can be just as valid as a male protagonist. In addition, she’s a character living with mental illness who is capable of overcoming her obstacles. Whenever you seem to be on your own it doesn’t mean you’re helpless. And even when you’ve lost everything life is still worth fighting for.

Sophomore year of high school was a weird time. Everything seemed scary, and I was just starting to get slammed with the questions and anxieties of college and “what do you want to do when you graduate?”. It was a time when my anxiety and depression would shove me in such a dark place. Often times I’d find myself exploring Hyrule’s vast green fields for a short vacation from reality.

But not this day. I had just beaten Twilight Princess (again), and I wanted to try something new. Looking at all my games, there weren’t many that I hadn’t played. But there was one that was unfamiliar to me. “Metroid Prime 3: Corruption” — the silver words on the side of the case caught my eye and I pulled it off the shelf. I remembered my brother playing the game when the Wii first came out but I couldn’t say I actually knew anything about the game.

I had never played a Metroid game before; the only time I’d seen Samus was in Super Smash Bros. All the lore, story, and everything about Metroid was foreign to me. Boredom and curiosity drove me to give it a try. As soon as the theme music played on the title screen, I was sucked in. It’s a little odd that I game can “define” me despite not knowing anything about it until a few years ago. but Metroid Prime 3 was the beginning of my love for a series I had been missing for so long. The cutscenes, the music, the game play, everything was absolutely perfect.

Shortly after this game sparked my admiration for Nintendo’s fearless bounty hunter, I was inspired to try cosplaying her. I had only seen cosplays of Zero Suit Samus before, but my 15-year-old self set high standards. I was determined to make her Varia suit. Now keep in mind that I had only done one cosplay before and it was only because I had my grandma help me sew the whole thing. This was before I knew what EVA foam and Worbla were and I had no idea where to even begin to look for tutorials. This was also before I got my first job, so I had very little money to put into it. But I wasn’t about to let that stop me. My mom was throwing out an air mattress, when I saw it in the garbage I thought maybe I could use it as my armor? So my 15-year-old self cut the armor pieces out of an air mattress, duct taped them together and spray painted everything. And when I tried it on I cannot begin tell you how empowered I felt.

Looking back at the photos, it clearly looks like it was built by a clueless 15-year-old with no money. But I was so happy back then that I actually built it by myself. I proudly wore it to conventions not caring that I was a walking pile of trash. Literally the cosplay was made out of trash and paper mache. But I did it, I made a cosplay of my favorite video game character despite how impossible it seemed.

Growing up a girl that loved video games, it was such a big confidence boost to be portrayed as more than a girl that needs saving or the useless eye candy. Female representation in gaming has definitely improved over the years, but I think we can all agree that it has been a long and rough road of progress. As much as I love Zelda and Mario games, I got a little tired of always saving the princess. Don’t get me wrong, I love Peach and Zelda and they both have strong moments and are still great role models. But this was the first time I got to play as a female protagonist. Something about seeing this girl single handedly take out alien space pirate bases was so amazing. Reading all the data entries from the space pirates on how they described the orange bounty hunter how afraid they were of her. And it was just her.

Every other game I’ve played the protagonist has friends along their journey, not Samus though. You play on planets that are nothing but ruins overrun with monsters and Phazon, which is basically a disease slowly killing and corrupting everything it touches. It gets a little depressing honestly. Especially in the third one when you finally meet NPC’s that are joining you in the fight, but soon find everyone is corrupted by Phazon and find yourself alone once again. Samus faces so much and has such a tragic backstory and suffers from PTSD as a result, but she never lets fear win.

Samus by herself drove fear into Nintendo’s most terrifying monsters. As I was entering a relatively scary and uncertain part of my life, it was really encouraging to see this character with such a broken past overcome the impossible. It introduced me to a world where a girl who’s lost everything and arguably has nothing left to fight for, is strong enough to continue anyway.

The reason I can name Metroid Prime 3 as the game that “defines me” is actually less about the game and more about Samus. But without this game, I would have never been introduced to this amazing series. Metroid Prime 3 was the first game to show me that a female protagonist can be just as valid as a male protagonist. In addition, she’s a character living with mental illness who is capable of overcoming her obstacles. Whenever you seem to be on your own it doesn’t mean you’re helpless. And even when you’ve lost everything life is still worth fighting for.

Thanks so much to Matt from Normal Happenings for this super amazing opportunity to talk about a game that has meant a lot to me over the years. It’s been a fun and unique experience talking with other bloggers that share my same nerdy passion. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next mission!

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form. 

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

BioShock | The Game That Defines Git Gud at Life

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>

TGTDU Logo - Copy

Audio

I love the uneasy feelings of this BioShock ambiance mix. 

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

If you’ve never met Michael from Git Gud at Life, you’re going to love this guy. Not only does he have impeccable taste in games — I’m so glad to be featuring a BioShock piece in this collaboration — but he also has this quirky writing style that reminds me of those cool university professors or high school teachers you learned to connect with. GGAL explains things like a teacher would, and yet the whole experience is laced with humor. It’s an unorthodox and awesome combination I would have never expected from a blog! But enough of me describing things. After you get done here, why don’t you check out the new GGAL Post-It series, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Additionally, check out these recent articles:

Without further delay, we hope you enjoy plunging into the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

divider

starring

DlJStjHU0AA7qNn.jpg

Michael @ Git Gud at Life

Twitter: @gitgudatlife

For scarily profound concepts…

Game: BioShock
System: XBOX 360
Release Date: August 21, 2007

1P Start

BioShock proved to me that games could be something I never even dreamed of. They could be dark, scary gruesome but at the same time beautiful, sophisticated and yes… fun. So BioShock changed me — games were once little more than a way to waste some time. Now they are something more. Games are a form of art.

249122-bioshock-windows-screenshot-title-screen-and-main-menu

To say that BioShock is my favourite game would be an understatement. By the time I had resurfaced from my first ever dive into Rapture, I can honestly say that I was a changed gamer. Now if that sounds a little over dramatic… you’d be right. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

Now to truly understand why this title was so game changing for me, I need to briefly explain what games meant to me before. I’ve been playing games since I was 4 years old and back then, these were games like Spyro the Dragon or Pokemon Crystal. Games were always one of my favourite pastimes and that part of me has never really changed. What has changed however, is the way I look at games. Back then they lived and died by one word: fun. That’s all. They were really no different, in my juvenile eyes, to Lego blocks. They were just a kid’s simple hobby and you could see that in the types of games I would play, namely family friendly platformers. The most violent game I had ever really experienced to that point was The Simpsons’ Hit and Run. Bioshock changed everything.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 7.40.06 PM

I would remember seeing the game’s cover art in stores and being genuinely mesmerised. A monstrous robotic creature with a giant drill for a hand partnered by a creepy little girl holding a syringe. Spyro the Dragon this was not. Now normally cover art like that would put me off, it didn’t really fulfill my “fun looking” criteria. But for some reason I was drawn to the game, and while it would be a couple more years before I actually got my hands on it, my mind was made up; I needed to play this game.

So where does a boy go to see more of a game his parents won’t get for him? YouTube, of course! I would spend hours watching trailers, gameplay and even developer commentary vids. It was through these research sessions that I realised that BioShock was not your average dumb shooter. It had themes… complex ones! It asked questions of politics, religion and philosophy, which for a preteen kid who wanted to be an intellectual was pure gold.

And eventually, the day finally came. After what seemed like ages of begging my parents, they finally submitted… I got BioShock! So, could the game that I had waited ages to play possibly live up to my expectations. Yeah. It actually did. You see kids, back in the golden age of 2007, developers actually shipped games… finished (crazy I know).

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 7.42.02 PM

But anyway, back to the story at hand. I fell in love with the game from the second I picked up the controller. From the second I was lost at sea staring at that ominous lighthouse, I was completely engrossed. Then came the inflight movie… now if you haven’t played the game yet, this part won’t make total sense for you, so all I can say is play the damn game! (Or watch a walkthrough, or do whatever you want… I’m just a voice). You see once your character steps foot on the bathysphere you are plunged into the depths of the Atlantic with nothing but stone columns informing you of how many fathoms you have sunk. Then it happens. A slide show presentation featuring a voiceover from the game’s main antagonist: Andrew Ryan, the objectivist Billionaire who founded the Capitalist paradise of Rapture begins to speak (for Objectivist see meaner libertarian [for Libertarian see nicer Republican]).

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 7.49.07 PM

Here he explains his vision, a perfect Capitalist society where there would be no interference from Governance, religion or morality. Crazy I know… but then you see the city, an incredible feat of creativity, engineering and art. A metropolis at the bottom of the ocean. This was almost too much for my young eyes, I honestly couldn’t believe that a console had the processing power to put what I was seeing on my screen.

But then reality struck, this paradise was not all it was cracked up to be, the utopia that Andrew Ryan had promised had in fact completely fallen apart. The city was virtually in ruins. Death, drugs and destruction greeted your character on every turn. You were in hell. You were trapped, with the only help being a voice on a short-wave radio. It was the perfect game environment, both beautiful and terrifying. I mean what other game lets you see a whale and drug riddled corpse at the same time? Actually, don’t answer that, but you get my point.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 7.41.07 PM

This game had so much going for it that made it perfect for me. The graphics were better than anything I had ever seen before, the combat, while a bit stiff compared with modern shooters, was creative and for lack of a better word… meaty. The themes were far more mature than any other game I had seen (granted The Simpsons Game was the most adult game I’d played up to that point). And the commentary on the tricky political themes was so incredibly nuanced (can a city as incredible as Rapture truly be a critique on Objectivism). But what really hit me hard was the game’s views on choice. “A man chooses, a slave obeys”. Throughout the game, choice is a major factor for the player. Whether it be the choice combat style, the paths you choose to explore or the infamous Little Sister choice (look it up), choice is a recurring theme. But when the game reveals its big twist (again look it up), you realise that your choices don’t really mean much. In fact, there really wasn’t much choice to begin with. This is a pretty crazy thought on its own, but when you put it in the context of all gaming, or all art or perhaps even all life. This is a scarily profound concept and it was a damn video game that let me experience it. And that was life changing.

BioShock proved to me that games could be something I never even dreamed of. They could be dark, scary gruesome but at the same time beautiful, sophisticated and yes… fun. So BioShock changed me — games were once little more than a way to waste some time. Now they are something more. Games are a form of art. Yeah that sounds a little douchey, but it’s true, they are an art form that pushes boundaries just as well as books, film or anything else. They are one where you have total ability to choose… even when you don’t. BioShock taught me this, and for this I will always be grateful.

divider

adventure map


WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form. 

patreon

This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
become_a_patron_button

<< Previous | Adventure Map | Next >>