The 2019 Normal Happenings Blog Awards: Now Accepting Nominations

Highlights:

  • The 2019 NH Blog Awards will be taking place on February 26, 2019.
  • Five categories exemplifying the best of blogging.
  • Accepting nominations within!

Blogs are great!
Readers are great!
Here’s a great idea!

Announcing:
The 2019 Normal Happenings 
Blog Awards!


We always want to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the people in our little corner of the blogosphere! That is what Nice Job Badges are for, after all. So many of you have spurred our desire for crafting excellent blog posts, and we couldn’t have done it without the constant support of our community. From commenters to contributors to Twitter aficionados, it has been a pleasure interacting with each and every one of you.

But sometimes we want to do more than give a nod to great posts during the week. Sometimes we want to do something really big! Normal Happenings started on February 26, 2018, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate our birthday than celebrating the year’s best of the best. Therefore on February 26, 2019, we will be doing the first annual Normal Happenings Blog Awards!

Here are the categories:

  • 2018’s Best Overall Blogger!
  • 2018’s Best Solo Blog Post!
  • 2018’s Most Creative Blog Post!
  • 2018’s Best Collaboration!
  • 2018’s Kindest Blogger!

Catchy, right? In my estimation, they exemplify the best qualities of blogs and their bloggers, and they deserve recognition of their hard work. Megan from A Geeky Gal has once again graciously volunteered to design some big, fancy badges to commemorate the winners.

This is going to be a collaborative effort. You see, we need your help determining the winners. If you’re like us, certain blog posts from the year have stuck in our memory, defining our life’s journey in some small way. We would like to know what those are for you, so we need your nominations. All nominations will be listed in the awards post, and you will receive a shout-out for your picks!

There are three ways to nominate:

  • The best way is to use the nifty nomination contact form affixed to this post.
  • You can also send Normal Happenings a message on Twitter.
  • If you’d like, you can send us a DM on Instagram.

Please be sure to include the category of your nomination, as well as the needed URL’s so we can read them. Feel free to add why you picked your selections, if you wish. Oh and…

  • Please don’t nominate yourself (or any guest post on your own site).
  • Please don’t nominate any links specifically on Normal Happenings, but feel free to nominate any blogger you like!
  • This is a bit awkward, but please don’t nominate Nikki or me.

I know, I know, that eliminates some good stuff, but I think it’s a good policy.

After compiling all of the nominations, which we will do on February 9, 2019, we will seed the results based on how many nominations they received. If there is a clear and decisive winner, I won’t worry about running a poll and go ahead and slot the winner for the award. If it is remotely close, I will run a series of two-option Twitter polls in a type of bracket format. While Normal Happenings will ultimately pick the winner, there is a very good chance it will be the winner of those polls. Therefore, we highly recommend following us on Twitter so you can be a part of the selection process!

On February 26, 2019 we will announce the winners in a big post! So we hope you are looking forward to this big event! With that, let’s get to nominating!


Reminder of the categories:

  • 2018’s Best Overall Blogger!
  • 2018’s Best Solo Blog Post!
  • 2018’s Most Creative Blog Post!
  • 2018’s Best Collaboration!
  • 2018’s Kindest Blogger!

What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave

ūüí¨ Highlights:

  • There is a concerning obsession for pessimism in world slowly improving.
  • While not blind to the problems of the world, I strongly desire to make the world better.
  • Many Normal Happenings features this year will be thematically optimistic.

ūüéß Recommended Listening:

Your First Light My Eventide, The Echelon Effect

“What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave”

Season 2, Episode 1

Do you remember back in December 2012, when the world was at least in part convinced themselves that the world was just going to end? That, even after all of the little story arcs in all of our lives, Earth was simply going to blink out of existence. Books and documentaries of both prophetic doomsday and analytical reassurance rivaled each other on the shelves of their media marketplaces. The whole pandemonium seemed a bit childish, especially six years removed from the calamity of never.

Yet, I too became fascinated with the phenomenon, not because I for a second believed the end was upon us — though I was slightly concerned that humans and their propensity towards self-fulfilling prophecy were going to find a way to make it happen — but rather how fully many had accepted their impending fate. I recall several media agencies were positing that these types of people felt, even desired, the end of the world out of a sense of misguided judgement. “How could any reasonable person want the world to end?” I asked myself, the burgeoning activist inside of me immediately interpreting such a sentiment as an unusual form of victim blaming.

Fast forward to the present day, however, and I begin to wonder if perhaps there may be some truth to these end-of-the-world desires after all. I suspected our cultural obsession with dystopian literature would subside a few months after the daily life of 2013 kicked in. It has not; the thrill and joy of living has not ushered in a new golden era of optimism. It is as if, despite the world being at a more positive point than it ever has in human history, society is more obsessed with pessimism than it has been in a long time. And, in the face of so many technological, medical, and scientific breakthroughs, I believe that mentality is harming us. I wish to do something about that, in small or in large — whatever opportunities I’m blessed with to show the beauty of life among the pain so self-evident.

As with all explorations of optimism, I would be remiss without noting that I am not naive to the issues of the world. We‚Äôre currently dealing with major battles on two fronts: accelerating climate change, of which we can really only hope technology provides a conduit towards restoration of natural habitats, and sociopolitical pressure that stalls human rights process at a rate I would like to see. These are highly complex issues far outside of the realm of Normal Happenings, but I feel it is important to note that I do not follow blind idealism. Rather, I am the type of person who harnesses that idealism in an attempt to make small portions of the world a better place. All of that is to say, this year in particular for Normal Happenings will focus on unrelenting optimism — a focus on futurism in the context that life can continue to improve on a macro scale if indeed humans are overall good as I suspect.

As the first feature of the year, and a bit of a soft reboot for Normal Happenings, I want this piece to serve as an introduction for the themes you are likely to see this year. It is very brave to be defiantly an optimist in the face of such cynicism, but if others cannot because of culture or experiences, I will. It is my responsibility. I hope you will join me in viewing the world from a more positive perspective. We are the ones making up this amazing planet after all. We deserve to be happy. Our art, our literature, our engineering and architecture, technological advancements and philosophical musings — all of it is beautiful. With the overwhelming effort we put into our accomplishments, we can and will build a future better than the ones depicted in the pessimistic media we love so much. While Normal Happenings will, of course, be about a great many things this year, don’t be surprised if it all comes back to finding ways to make the world a better place. Sometimes the simplest messages are ones that need the most repetition to be understood.

So, let’s discuss. Do you believe there is a lack of optimism in today’s culture. If so, how do you feel about that? And if not, let me know how I can alter my own perspective to see how people themselves are being positive. I would also love some recommendations on some good books, films, television shows, video games, or podcasts that reflect an optimistic perspective. Until next time, may your days be anything but normal!


Help us make amazing designs, better collaborations, and even achieve our dreams of podcast and video content! Consider becoming one of the amazing patrons of Normal Happenings.

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Super Metroid | The Game That Defines Power Bomb Attack

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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

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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‚Äôs a game that taught me many life lessons, a game that taught me it‚Äôs ok to ask for help. It‚Äôs a game that when I hear people talk about it‚Äôs greatness and accomplishments, I can‚Äôt help but feel proud as if I somehow contributed to its existence. It‚Äôs why I‚Äôd 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.

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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!
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StarCraft | The Game That Defines The Zerathulu View

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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

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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 clich√© 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‚Äô 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.

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

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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

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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 Рthe 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 Рmainly 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.

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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 Рand 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 Рshe 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 РI 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 Рat 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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!
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Day Z | The Game That Defines Will

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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

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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‚Äôt 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‚Äôve 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‚Äôt really a PC gamer and only had a laptop that could run a few games that weren‚Äôt too taxing on your processor or that didn‚Äôt need a super powerful graphics card to run ‚Äď 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 ‚Äėproper‚Äô video game on a PC in about 10 years. Up to that point I‚Äôd 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 ‚Äď who I run the site with, picked up a PS4, and our other friend didn‚Äôt 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôm glad I did.

One of my very first sessions playing has stuck with forever. I‚Äôd spent some time searching around Electro ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď kind of like in Monty Python when they‚Äôre 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 ‚Äď he was always going to shoot me, I‚Äôm 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 ‚Äď totally unique and unscripted moments that you just couldn‚Äôt 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‚Äô worth of loot in the blink of an eye, ‚Äėassaulted‚Äô 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‚Äôs, 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 ‚Äėanything‚Äô 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.

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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!
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Borderlands | The Game That Defines FTWRuubin

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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

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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 ‚Äúadulthood‚ÄĚ was so intimidating to me that my only coping mechanism was embracing the nerd inside me and evolving from a ‚Äúcasual gamer‚ÄĚ to ‚Äúhardcore.‚ÄĚ Yup, I didn‚Äôt transition from different levels, I jumped straight from being a Charmander to Charizard himself. I ditched the generic ‚Äúfamily-style‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôve 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 ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs always a brighter side to things but if you really think about it…at the end of the day, we‚Äôre 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‚Äės 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‚Äôt hide the truth that he‚Äôs 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!

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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!
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Fallout 3 | The Game That Defines Upon Completion

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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

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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 ‚Äď Mira Grant’s Feed, Charlie Higson’s The Enemy, Max Brooks’ World War Z.

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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:

‚ÄúI wouldn’t say this thing with ghouls has massively affected my offline self but it has made a difference in my gaming.‚ÄĚ

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. ‚ÄúHow does this relate to your experiences in the Fallout universe?‚ÄĚ, 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 ‚Äď 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.

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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. 

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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!
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Wizard 101 | The Game That Defines Krysanthe

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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

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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.

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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‚Äôt 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: ‚ÄúI‚Äôll think about it.‚ÄĚ

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.  

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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‚Äôs nap time. I‚Äôll be honest, I felt ridiculous. I couldn‚Äôt get over the fact that here I was, a grown adult, enjoying this silly cartoony kids game. Sometimes I‚Äôd jump in game with my daughter and all her friends would ooo and ahhh at the fact her mom was playing ‚Äútheir‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúI think you should join the Wise Wizards. They are on Wizard101 Central.‚ÄĚ

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 ‚Äúfriends‚ÄĚ. ¬†

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.

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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.  

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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!
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Kingdom Hearts | The Game That Defines Overthinker Y

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Stay a while… you can’t go wrong with Kingdom Hearts music.¬†¬†

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.

What can I say, Chris from OverthinkerY, today’s featured blogger, is awesome! If there’s one thing you can always count on with Chris, it’s that you’ll be exploring the outer limits of the English language experience through his text. For example, Chris is the first blogger to ever successfully pull off a double-bracketed parenthetical sequence on Normal Happenings. I won’t spoil it for you. If you’re in the mood for more witty wordplay, you should absolutely check out his blog. He’s working on a novel at the moment!

And here are a couple of other recent favorites!

Today’s game is one of the most emotionally influential games ever, so we hope you enjoy the next chapter of¬†The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

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Chris @ OverthinkerY

Twitter: @overthinkery1

For scattered dreams…

Game: Kingdom Hearts
System: Playstation 2
Release Date: March 28, 2002

1P Start

Even though I can admit Kingdom Hearts has its faults, I can’t help but love it, and it strikes me that perhaps loving something in a way that encompasses all its flaws is the purest form of love.

Imagine, if you will, a boy of around nine or ten years of age. He‚Äôs into books, cartoons, movies; he enjoys experiencing stories in different ways and regularly coming up with quasi-Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style tales on the fly for his friends. Video games have been around for a while, but this lad‚Äôs never really had the opportunity to experience them — to understand what it is that they do. Being an enormous fan of the Harry Potter franchise, however, when the Game of the Film of the First Book is released, he knows he simply has to have it.

Plot twist: that boy’s name was Barack Obama.

Nah, it was me. It was obviously me. C’mon.

This is obviously a knockoff, because it’s not even got the right title. PHILOSOPHER’S Stone. Silly manufacturers.

My first ever gaming experience, then, was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Game Boy Advance, the console that was at the time just new enough to be exciting and just old enough for my parents to conclude was not stupidly expensive. I had a good time with that game, thinking that getting to actually be Harry Potter was just the best thing, and then I finished it.

‚ÄėWhere do I go from here?‚Äô I wondered: I couldn‚Äôt afford to buy myself more games, and I wouldn‚Äôt have known what to get even if I had. Fortunate I was, then, that a shop called ‚ÄėChoices‚Äô had just opened up down the road: a store where you could pay two or three quid and actually take a game home with you for a weekend! It was amazing; through that store, I discovered the endless charms of Pok√©mon Silver, experienced the adventures of Link for the first time with Oracle of Ages, and met Spyro in Season of Ice. I was learning how to play games, how to dive into these worlds and go on incredible journeys, and I was beginning to appreciate that video games could tell stories in ways that other media simply couldn‚Äôt. You had beautiful visuals, music, the ability to pick your own way of overcoming obstacles, and that was pretty incredible to me.

During these formative years with my little GBA, I had a couple of friends lucky enough to own a PlayStation 2, something I thought I‚Äôd never be able to achieve. Going to their houses to play — well, watch them play, mostly —¬†Dynasty Warriors or Lord of the Rings: The Third Age or even something like the Robot Wars game (surprisingly good, actually) was starting to open my eyes to this new world of possibility: games that were even more beautiful, that had the power to tell even more expansive tales. I‚Äôd been saving for a little while to get myself a Game Boy Advance SP (a cute little folding GBA with a backlight, if you can believe such a thing) as an upgrade to my friendly old regular GBA, but I decided in fairly short order that I had to have a PS2 instead. It took some convincing, but my parents eventually agreed that I could have one, not least because my neighbour ran a games store and had a cheap second-hand one.

Anybody remember this thing? There was a version with tribal tattoos, for some reason.

Thus it was that I eventually found myself bringing home a PlayStation 2 for the first time. I imagine my fingers were probably literally shaking as I plugged the thing in, and then – ah.

I didn’t have any games for it.

Right, well then, back over to Choices we go. Not only do they have GBA cartridges, but they have PS2 games and even DVDs too! I miss that store — it was subsumed into Blockbuster fairly shortly after this tale concludes, and is now a charity shop. I scanned the shelves and picked out a title called Kingdom Hearts.

kh1.PNG

If you asked me why I picked out that game, I’m not sure I would be able to tell you. The cover was kind of dark, suggesting perhaps a level of maturity that I was eager to achieve, but the back of the box had some colourful Disney characters on it, so perhaps I was drawn to the balance: the idea that I could go above my reading age, as it were, while safe in the knowledge that if it was Disney it couldn’t be that scary. I wasn’t even a Disney fan; I’d seen maybe four or five Disney movies, but not all that many. As for whether the box mentioned that Kingdom Hearts also featured Final Fantasy characters, I don’t remember. I wouldn’t have taken any notice if it had: I had only the faintest conception of what Final Fantasy was, I should think.

I trundled back down the street with the game in my hands, having acquired possession of it for the next few days. Me, a complete non-Disney, non-Final Fantasy fan, clutching what was actually quite a historically significant crossover between those two titans, without a clue as to what I was in for. My first ever PS2 game, though! I was overjoyed at the idea that I would finally be able to experience a journey on an actual telly rather than a weeny little handheld screen; I didn’t really know or care what that journey was likely to involve, I was just ecstatic in the knowledge that I would get to do it at all.

Getting the disc into the console was, I was relieved to discover, fairly self-explanatory; with that hurdle cleared, I worked out that I had to press X on the PS2’s root menu to open the game, and then we were off.

From the moment the main menu loaded up and I began to hear ‚ÄėDearly Beloved‚Äô for the first time, I knew that this was something completely different to anything else I‚Äôd come across in my burgeoning gaming experience. I don‚Äôt know how I could have known that; it was a title screen, for heaven‚Äôs sake.

Maybe it was just that most GBA games didn’t really have title screens, so I was easily impressed!

Over the next couple of hours, I played the opening sections of the game (taking an awfully long time because I’d never really used a controller like this before), and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, what I was experiencing, what I was doing. The beginning sequence of KH is an exercise in setting the tone: you begin in a dark world, standing on stained glass platforms with an ominous chorus ringing out as a disembodied voice guides you through the first stages. Defeating shadowy foes and making choices that will, though you don’t know it yet, define how the rest of the game plays out, you finally ascend the towers in the blackness and defeat a monstrous being of pure darkness.

Then you wake up on a sunny beach, tropical tunes playing away merrily, and watch as the logo splashes up on the screen, realising that now the game begins in earnest.

 

¬†…through this‚Ķ

 

From this…

¬†…through this‚Ķ

¬†…to this!

It’s a truly impactful sequence Рcertainly it was doing it for the first time as a kid, and I still get shivers now. I felt that I’d touched something huge and terrifying, yet (for now at least) I had overcome it. I knew, though, that despite the holiday feel of Destiny Islands, the darkness would be back.

Looking back, those opening moments stick with me much more clearly than the rest of the game [although there are bits of it forever burned into my brain, thanks to the inability of vanilla KH1 to skip cutscenes (and a remarkable tendency to put the longest ones before the hardest bosses)], and it’s still the point from loading the title screen to defeating the first boss that I tend to think about when I think of Kingdom Hearts. That said, I think it did a lot to define me as a gamer in more ways than just to give me specific moments or memories: it exposed me to the idea that games could be both fast-paced and strategic; to the expanse that is Final Fantasy as a franchise (and indeed to a whole bunch of Disney movies); to the knowledge that video game music is, while its own breed, just as important and interesting and exciting as any other music; and to persistence and ingenuity in overcoming obstacles, however insurmountable they might seem.

Certainly, and as you might be beginning to gather, Kingdom Hearts has influenced my life in wider ways than simply being a game (later, of course, a series) that I enjoy. I can’t actually quantify just how much it’s defined me as a person; through being my gateway into gaming at large, it was the catalyst for what I know will be a lifelong love of stories told in the ways only gaming can achieve. I might never have touched a piano if it hadn’t introduced me to pieces that I’ve come to love; I don’t think I’d have started composing if I hadn’t learned that themes can be intertwined to create a story from nothing but wiggly air (which is all music really is, in some ways!). The courage of the protagonists of this story inspires me, and I often find myself consciously trying to be more like them; I even referred to characters and themes within this series when going through the often difficult transition from belief to non-belief, eventually finding myself on the other side as a proud humanist and, I think, a stronger and kinder person for it. (I know there will be some stories in this collection about people going in the other direction: finding or becoming more secure in faith because of a gaming experience, and I think it’s wonderful that we have this shared sense of affirmation as a result of our love of games, despite our different beliefs.)

Finally, I’m not sure I’d have found the love of writing that I now have Рat least, not to the same extent or from such a young age Рif I hadn’t started with an ill-fated attempt to write a novelisation of Kingdom Hearts and then realised that I could create my own worlds just as large and as confusing and as brilliant as this one I’d discovered.

I’ll always have a soft spot for this game, and this franchise. I put myself through joy and misery when Kingdom Hearts 2 released: I knew the release date, so walked all the way into town with all the money I could scrounge together in the hopes of purchasing a copy of this thing that I wanted more than anything, but it turned out that it had released in the US, not my native England, so I ordered a copy online from America which naturally didn’t work because I had a region-locked PAL PlayStation 2. It was agony, but Kid Me (looking at the release date, I would have been eleven) would probably have said it was worth it. Even though I can admit KH as a series and as each individual game has its faults, I can’t help but love it, and it strikes me that perhaps loving something in a way that encompasses all its flaws is the purest form of love.

I’m not about to claim that Kingdom Hearts taught me the meaning of love, but if that’s what you want to take away from this, I won’t stop you.

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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!
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