April 28, 2016

Thoughts of the Thinking Gamer: Emotional Attachment

It's strange how memories are formed. The most mundane of events can be remembered for years to come, but the most monumental of family gatherings is pushed to the outer rims of one's daily recollections. 

Once a memory has left a person's conscious mind, it lies there in your subconscious, waiting for the right moment, where it is brought to the forefront again. Sometimes, nothing except the emotions of a memory are left, leading to an object such an article of clothing evoking a strong feeling of sadness or joy for no discernible reason.

For some, this same feeling extends to entertainment. Movies can remind you of a time in your life, such as the grief from the death of a loved one, or the birth of a child, or the beginning of a relationship.

Television series' can evoke such memories as well. Music, especially, is good at provoking emotions, as is the nature of the medium itself. Ditto for books, comics, and the list goes on.

But does the same principle apply to video games? Yes, it does, for two primary reasons.

1. They're works of art.

2. They're time capsules.

Works of art naturally provoke emotions. Whether it be happiness, or horror, or excitement or curiosity, video games are just as emotionally compelling as other mediums of entertainment.

Take The Walking Dead for instance. (The video game version, obviously.) What started out as a simple adventure game set in the apocalypse evolved into so much more in its two season run, with the first season ending on a tremendously heartbreaking note bringing gamers far and wide to tears.

The oft-spoken about death of Aeries in Final Fantasy 7 comes to mind as well, shocking young and old gamers with its surprisingly brutality. The plot twist at the end of Shadow of the Colossus subverts all traditional video game endings and aims for a much more artistic one, proving to be highly effective and haunting.

And who can forget the insanely unsettling world of Silent Hill 2, a deeply psychological look at the mind of a man going through severe grief, manifesting itself in the many, many gruesome sights the titular town presents.

As you can see, video games are works of art capable of provoking strong emotion. Sometimes the emotions last upon multiple playthroughs, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they even deepen on more expeditions through their landscapes, due to changes in one's life prompting for a deeper connection with the material.

Which leads me to the second big emotional attachment one may form to video games; the time in which you played it. Speaking from a purely anecdotal viewpoint, there are certain games which, no matter what their quality may be, will always be of importance to me. Not because of their lasting value, but because of the emotions they bring back.

The crazy levels of MDK2 are compelling, sure, and the unique gameplay of Giants: Citizen Kabuto hold up pretty well considering its age. But that's not why I play them. I play them because of the nostalgic feeling I get from them.

Some more recent games evoke certain emotions which made me connect more deeply with them. Hitman: Blood Money is an interesting example. I first started up the game in 2014, whilst going through severe depression, so severe that I couldn't bring myself to play a game as intricate as a Hitman title.

Fast forward one year, and after making a commitment to getting over my depression and moving forward, I decided to try out all the things I previously abandoned and see if I could regain my passion for gaming. Hitman: Blood Money was challenging, but the feeling of finishing it was amplified by my feeling of personal triumph at overcoming a roadblock in my life. (For the time being.)

Video games are many things. They are fun, they are frustrating, and they are highly, highly entertaining. But some experiences can't be carried over from one player to the other. Sometimes, the emotions they evoke are as unique as the players behind them.

It's not something you can explain. Like the feeling of peace when one stares out the window, or the warmth you feel from a sweater you got last year, some things aren't physical.

Some things are just pure emotion.

April 21, 2016

Land of The Living

When Friday finally comes around...

Hello everyone! After three months of procrastination, I've decided that I'm absolutely still game to go on with the blog (pun fully intended), and will do so without any hesitation.

However, there will be a few limitations. The first of which is that I'm not, what you might call, able to do a lot of reviews right now. (It's a new condition hence the awkward name.) The reason for this is twofold.

Eins: I recently moved (AGAIN) and had to leave my gaming PC behind, due to my parents needing it for work purposes.

Zwei: I have too little internet to download videos of newer games. Yep. #BudgetCuts

As you can see, this is a bit of a challenge. BUT, I do plan on taking the website back to it's Christian roots, content guides and in-depth analyses included. 

When we'll start again...I don't know. But we'll get there. Eventually..