The Humble Beginning to Clarity

How am I going to go about getting into the industry. As I write this and the many other drafts I have sitting in the draft bank, It sounds silly to say “This is how I’m going to get into the gaming industry.” Kind of a far-fetched idea. I’ll admit it. I know the mountain that stand in front of me. I do. Am I intimidated. Hell yes. Do I think it’ll work out? No. But I just can’t sit back and let this opportunity go by me. I just wouldn’t feel right.

So what about gaming has me thinking that I can maybe, somehow, possibly, make some kind of career out of this.

Let me explain.

As a child I grew up with playing the NES and Super Nintendo. Like many other children of the 90’s. I used these consoles even when the first PlayStation came out. Actually I don’t think I stopped playing Super Street Fighter until we got a PlayStation 2. So you can do the math. The reason why I continued to use these systems in the early 2000’s isn’t because I was hipster before you. No. It was however because we just couldn’t afford the new systems. In my family birthdays and Christmas’ weren’t a time to get gifts you wanted but those of things you needed. Like underwear. A sweater. It’s okay, this isn’t a sob piece. I’m simply painting the picture that we grew up understanding the value between want and need.

Now we did have a PC. It was a 98′ Windows 95, Compaq PC. It was a beaut! And heavy as bricks. I swear if I close my eyes I can still hear the hum of the fans whirling around in that thing. What a machine. Being the son of a mother who was a computer teacher I had good access to computers. I got to spend a lot of with them. Learning how they work and the programs they use. I remember working on word and creating 3D shapes thinking I was on my way to making animation shorts. I tell you this however, those skills I learned messing with computers served me well.

But that good ol’ Compaq PC is where I got my first taste of superior gaming. With the release of the new DOOM game around the corner it only seems right that that was my first PC game ever played. Doom. You remember. The game that took four, count them four floppy disks to install! Yep, that’s the one. It was my first chance at what we now call an FPS. It was gory, violent, scary, it put the fear of the devil in me as a child, and it was great. I won’t even pretend that I didn’t use the God Mode codes when things got tough. This was the beginning of something great for me, PC gaming.

Doom lead me to Quake. Quake lead to Half Life. Keeping with the genre of a first person view, gore fest, and disgusting demons coming for you  with blood curling screams! Honestly it’s amazing I didn’t turn out to be one of those kids who were at risk because of violent video games. Maybe it’s because I later made the change to game builders and real time strategy games. Mainly anything “Age of Empire” based and a little “Roller Coaster Tycoon” where I aimed to kill anyone that came into my theme park. Okay, maybe I was somewhat influenced by the doom and gloom of Doom. Maybe. But as the improvement of games began it left me behind. That is until I found console gaming.

Console gaming back then is kind of crazy to think about now. Now we focus on mainly two systems, PlayStation and Xbox. As a kid there was, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, Game Cube, PlayStation, Dream Cast,  and too many others to list off here. I know that there are some years between some of those listed but they were all relevant. It wasn’t like today where you bought one console and were set for seven to eight years. Tech was changing left and right back then. Saying “back then” makes me feel old. I’ll do my best to choose some better words to remind me of back then, dammit. Anyway, there were so many game systems back then it was hard to keep up and pick one. The PS2 is finally where I found a home. After countless of Christmas’ where I hoped to get one we finally got one. But not on Christmas. It was during some other time. But nevertheless we had a a system. Growing up with mostly brothers and being 11-ish at the time. We played mostly sport games, extreme sport games, or shooting games. The same could be said for when we got a PS3.

It wasn’t until I got a chance in high school to experiment with other video game genres. I remember it like it was yesterday. My cousin whose father was and still is a big fan of video games had a pretty sweet computer rig, which we weren’t allowed to touch. Unless he was there to monitor, kappa. My cousin in turn was lucky enough to have the up to date consoles. So he had an Xbox 360 at the time. Now I was there because we were going to spend some days out of town for spring break so we had this great plan to stay up all night playing video games and sleeping in the car ride over to San Antonio. So the night started off with some Godfather until it stopped working. At this point it’s about 12 AM and my cousin is in this losing battle with his heavy eye lids. I begin to riffle through his games and there it is. This green box with a brownish tan back splash with gold text written across reading “Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion.” This is where my taste in games changed so much. I remember asking him what this was but he was knocked out. So I throw the game in and started it up. A there is where it began. The voice over begins telling you about some sort of secret society that once guarded some ancient bloodline that lead to some old Emperor named Tiber Septim. And now in the dying wake of the old emperor the blood line now lies in your hands to find its last member, which lies in some secret love child. By the nine I was hooked. Next thing I know I’m sneaking my way through some rat infested dungeon with nothing but a torch, a shield, and a loosely fitting loincloth. I’m pretty sure I just convinced myself to go back and play that game. I knew I had found my home. I played this game until day break and it was wonderful.

There was something about this game that I couldn’t get over. The depth of history this game had was ridiculous. I have never experienced anything like it before. The idea of a video game having such detailed lore to me was foreign. I wanted and needed more, and it didn’t help that “Lord of The Rings” had just come out that same year . I was pretty much in on this fantasy world high. And Elder Scrolls was my drug. So I took to wiki pages and online sources of Todd Howard’s Elder Scrolls to feed my need for more information.

The point is playing certain games like Elder Scrolls, Assassin’s Creed, and even Hitman changed the way that I looked at video games. No longer were they just these mind numbing things children played for hours on end to avoid playing outside. They had become works of art to me. Something on the level of a good book or a American movie classic. Video games have evolved over time and sure some are still just about gore and crime. But others like Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted” tell an expansive narrative based on mystery, love, crime, history, and adventure. All centralized around beautifully crafted characters with their own tones and personalities. These are the qualities that make a movie great or a novel a best seller. For video games it’s no different. I believe I’m ready to take on this challenge to properly evaluate them.

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