Monday, July 13, 2015

"On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."

How time flies by.

People often ask me how I ended up having gaming as a hobby. While it would be interesting if it was just because "I was so different, lulz", the truth is more boring than fiction. It's not that I was unexplainably drawn to games from a young age when other girls chose dolls.

No, it was purely by chance. A series of coincidences, if you will.

The very first people to introduce me to the world of games were my parents, although they did not do it on purpose. My father bought a console home because he was fascinated by it and wanted to do something interesting with me and my two brothers. While he mostly lost interest to it, the three of us would spend long hours grinding through the world of Ocarina of Time, trying to beat that darned Water Temple.

My mother bought us a game boy and a German Pokémon Red because she thought it'd be a cool way to get us learn the language. She wasn't wrong, and Red was soon followed by Blue and Yellow. As my parents divorced, there was one game which tied the two sides my world split in together: Pokémon Stadium, played on the Nintendo 64 bought by my father.

Link, Mario and Red were my earliest acquaintances in the world of gaming, and while I don't play Pokémon actively anymore or own the old console I had, my heart skips a beat at sight of any Zelda, I can name the first 151 Pokémon very fluently and am always up for challenge in Mario games.

Gaming has followed me where-ever I've been. Maybe I wouldn't be so into games if I hadn't befriended a group of gamers in junior high and had a puppy love story with one of them. Not only that was my first touch to world of emulators (Final Fantasy 1-6, Seiken Densetsu, Harvest Moon) but also my first touch to World of Warcraft, which has had a heavy impact on my life. That particular first boyfriend of mine also introduced me to Metroid.

Even when the puppy love story came to an end, my gaming didn't. I continued to wander through Azeroth, replayed Pokémon Crystal and started to realize I enjoyed casual gaming sessions with friends. Having so many people around me who were more or less obsessed with the gaming world couldn't help but brush off on me; not only I can kick ass as a support/healer, but I can also hold a semi-fluent conversation about the golden age of video games and the bursting bubble.

I am rambling.

Gaming has given me a lot over the course of years.As a child it was as welcome a distraction from ordinary life as books and writing, another two obsessions of mine.
As a teenager they were a way for me to connect with other people.
As a depressed person scared of going outside and even more scared of other people, to the point of locking herself to her room for a year, the games (especially MMORPGs, and especially World of Warcraft) were a window outside through which I talked to people.

Not much has changed today. Games are a part of my everyday life in various forms. I talk about them, I play them, and starting at the end of this year I will start my journey towards developing them as well when I start studying the subject.

But who knows? If I didn't have Pokémon Crystal at my bag as a teenager, or that N64 which had the wonky controller joystick issue, I might be into something else entirely. Maybe I would have picked up jogging. Or painting. Or horseback riding.

But I'm here, painting the skies of Okami, horseback riding in Ocarina of Time and jogging endless amounts in Draenor.

And I owe at least some of that to the man who passed away today.

Rest in piece, Satoru Iwata. Nintendo will have some large shoes to fill after you.

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