Hello, fellow gamers, my name is Moises Nunez and I just started a blog called The Gamer Culture where I explore, as the name implies, the culture of gamers. I delve into what makes someone a gamer, why do people game, and what makes games special.
I’m honored to be a guest writer for Gaming & God. Michael shares a similar point of view as me about games, that there’s more to them than just entertainment. So let’s get on with what we’ll be exploring in this article, and that is how games can form deep connections with gamers.
Gaming started with small sticks and dots moving left to right, to then transform into an 8-bit adventure of an Italian plumber saving a kidnapped princess from a dragon turtle. With each generation video games have changed. What was seen by many as something for kids is now an interactive experience that many can connect to. It’s now used by authors and creators to get people more involved with their stories through a virtual world. Many different types of experiences are shared throughout the gaming community such as simply enjoying a fun family adventure in Super Mario to being deeply moved by the intense and emotional story of The Last of Us.
There are many ways through which gamers relate or connect with games, and two of those are through nostalgia and community. Nostalgia is a big factor for many, as we remember treasured moments as kids when we experienced our first games in our childhood. We get to time travel through our memories when we stayed up late trying to perfect our skills in Super Mario or trying to finally beat that pesky boss fight with our friends in Contra. There are communities dedicated to retro gaming, trying to share their love for those simple yet memorable games and getting a whole new generation to experience them.
Another community of gamers shows how games have impacted their lives through cosplaying as their favorite characters. They unite and connect with each other and attend events showing off their love for these beloved franchises. If you were to ask them why they dress up like that, they’ll most likely tell you some sort of testimony of how they can relate to those characters or how their stories inspired them.
Gamers also connect emotionally to what they play, like with God of War. This game on the outside may seem like you’re typical action heavy, gory game, but it also explores parenthood. Here we see a battle-weary, stone-hearted warrior named Kratos having to raise and look out for his young son as his wife has just passed away. We get to see their struggle to connect with one another as Kratos was mostly absent yet they now have to depend on one another. People can relate to this situation if they have had a troubled relationship with their own father, or are fathers going through fatherhood. Some were even able to reconnect with their fathers through this experience.
The Last of Us explores another facet of paternity. It features a man named Joel who tragically lost his daughter and who through sudden events ends up reluctantly becoming a father figure to another girl named Elie. Through many hardships, they get closer and end up doing anything possible to keep each other alive. The protagonist even does the unthinkable that seems like a horribly selfish act in order to keep his now adopted daughter alive. It became a fan favorite among the gaming community and is considered the best game of the PS3 generation because of its relatable, emotional and realistic plot.
Strong storytelling really became a mainstay in gaming through the RPG genre, and two of the best examples are Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy VII. A game’s story was not very important in the early years, but Final Fantasy changed that. Final Fantasy X, many fans favorite entry, has a large detailed storyline.
It explores many themes beyond a hero saving the world, such as a corrupt religious organization manipulating faith for their own occult purposes, romance and more. You get to see the growth in maturity of the main protagonist Tidus, from being selfish to willing to sacrifice himself for the world. It also shows how an evil being called “Sin” seeking the destruction of all humanity and how the sacrifice of an individual can prevent that from happening.
The one that was recognized by the mainstream was Final Fantasy VII. It was the first to feature CGI (computer-generated imagery) cutscenes and a large story that spanned multiple discs. It follows how a celebrated hero, Sephiroth, turns villain as he struggles to find his identity about who he is and his purpose.
Once he finds his identity through occult findings of an evil being, he believes that he must become a dark force against the world. We also discover how the main protagonist, Cloud Strife, also has a hard time with his identity but finds purpose in his friends that he meets on his journey. He also has to handle the death of a beloved companion. There are many reasons why this is so relatable and beloved by gamers, from it being their first RPG experience to going through the ups and downs of the characters.
In conclusion, gaming isn’t what it was since it first started, it is so much more now. It is a medium in which we can explore a living world with a rich story that inspires and impacts us. It’s where we can join communities that share our same interest and love for gaming through cosplay and tournaments. We all have experiences that have created precious memories, some are nostalgic, and others through a more personal story that we relate to.
How has gaming impacted you? I would love to hear about your stories, so feel free to share in the comments.