During the long drives this past week I got to thinking about one of the things that makes videogames so special to me. It's true that with most videogames there is a definite end point, a point where you've beaten all the bad guys, rescued everyone that needs rescuing, and done all the side missions to get the cool stuff that you just had to have(Sometimes by dodging lightning an obscene amount of times.). But what makes games special to me is what lingers behind with me after the game is done. The memories that are left behind kind of stay in your mind and at times they resurface at odd times due to certain stimuli. Nothing amazes me more, or makes me any more nostalgic then when I get taken back to where I was when I was playing a certain game.

An example being the game in the cover photo: Legend of Dragoon. I have mentioned it a number of times already in my articles and my comments and that is because it is one of my all time favorites. And as such there are multiple memories attached to it. When I think of Legend of Dragoon, or when I see it mentioned or hear the music start playing I get taken back many years. I get taken back to when my wonder at videogames was at its freshest. I had played and enjoyed videogames before but when I started playing Legend of Dragoon it became sometime altogether different. It became something that was an integral part of who I was. The pure wonder at what I was playing is something that is deeply important to me and I hope to never forget. And since then other games have touched me in similar ways.

Final Fantasy X takes me back to a more vulnerable time during my families first big move. I was terrified of losing my friends and having to go someplace where I didn't know anybody. So I took solace in what I could, and that's when I picked up Final Fantasy X. I had to wait until we got there to start the game so I distinctly remember reading and rereading the back of the box as we drove along. When we finally got there I rushed and got my bed and dresser and tv/ps2 moved in. And I remember starting it up and watching that first cutscene and for the first time in a while I knew things were going to be alright. I don't know why or how I knew but I knew. Final Fantasy X will always partly be about growing up to me. Facing what you have to and making it YOUR story. Things can look bleak but even I had power to make things okay for me.

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I came to have a good amount of friends and we shared videogames and learned more together. One of the series that makes me think of that time the most is both the original .hack series and then the .hack GU series. My cousin and I discovered this series at the same time and I remember as we played them together we grew closer. Because I was in high school when I was playing them the things that were spoken of in the .hack GU series especially really spoke to me. I was awkward, I was unathletic, and at times I tended to be a bit of a shut in. The characters were so real that as we came in contact with their problems and overcame them I felt as if I was able to begin to cope with my own problems as well. Whether it was wanting to be SEEN, or feeling as if I was the only one dealing with the kinds of things I was dealing with, I think that these games and gaming in general helped me get through those times.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

There are hundreds of games associated with different memories but for the sake of being readable I will end it with Persona 4 Golden. This luckily enough came out during my last year of college which I was luckily enough able to spend being room mates with my best friend. We both got a Vita specifically for this game and when I think of all the hours we played it and how much we loved all I can do is smile. This game reminds me of my college years and all the friends I made during my time there. I was so blessed and this game encapsulates these memories for me, all my friends there along with the characters of the game. The main reason and point I want to get across with this is I feel blessed and happy to be a gamer. I get all these experiences and memories. We truly do get to live so many more lives through games and books that I am just happy I have the opportunity to do so.

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****EDIT*** Are there any games that stir particular memories for you dear TAY?