Game Philosophy: What Games mean to Me

“So… what, you don’t write for 4 years and suddenly you want to talk about what games MEAN to you?”

“… Yup! Welcome, after 4 years, to another…”

Logo

Today’s topic:
What Games mean to Me

If I’m going to go back to blogging, I’m gonna do it right. Returning readers will notice I went the extra mile of overhauling this blog’s looks.

And I WAS planning on going ahead and actually go BACK to all my previous posts and redo them to better fit who I am today. There are many things that I disagree with my past self. A lot can happen in 4 years.

But then I decided against it, because by leaving my past writings in the open I can better demonstrate today’s topic.

History

When I play Video Games, I don’t JUST play it for the fun. Don’t get me wrong, I always go back to games like Sonic, Ninja Gaiden, Thief, etc. because I enjoy them immensely. But I MAINLY play games to LEARN about myself.

I’ve always been pretty obsessive with the hobbies I participate in. As a kid I played the Classic Sonic games on the Sega Megadrive (that’s the Sega Genesis for you people outside of Europe) constantly.

I played them so much that they pretty much overtook my identity. There were OTHER games, sure, but I always returned to those games if I could. I wasn’t the kind of guy that would move ON from a game, I just played it again and again like it’s a way of life. I don’t care that I’ve seen the ending god knows how many times.

Steadily as I grew older I finally moved on to different games. It took a lot out of me to move out of my comfort zone. What is this game where jumping ISN’T your main form of attack? What is that, a gun?! You attack with SWORDS?

Oh…
Well, this is awkward…

The biggest shock to my system would have to be when I got to play Thief Deadly Shadows. Suddenly I played a game where I’m not speeding through Angel Island freeing animals from robots. I instead played a thief who has to take things slowly. Running in the open means you’re doing it wrong. If you’re seen, you better figure out a way to escape the enemy’s sights. You have a puny knife to defend yourself with if you’re cornered. Good luck.

I HATED it when I first experienced this game. My obsessive mind thought it was a mistake to move out of my comfort zone of jumping around like a blue hedgehog.

But thankfully I kept giving it more of a chance. I slowly grew to like the idea of Stealth Games more and more. It required a different kind of thinking.

You’re rewarded for OUTSMARTING your enemies. You’re not a badass for finishing the level with the fastest time, you’re a badass if by the end of the level you’ve left NO TRACE OF EVIDENCE that you were even there in the first place!

The Realization

That led to a giant Eureka moment finally drilling through that thick skull of mine.

“Hey wait a minute…
if I ended up enjoying THIS new experience… does that mean I would have enjoyed the OTHER experiences as well?”

Me, a very intelligent teenager

Thus I finally branched out. I tried out those fancy 3D Adventure Games where you actually have to explore the world instead of dashing towards the goal.

I tried out those JRPGs where you take your time choosing your attacks instead of using your quick reflexes to do all the actions in real time.

I tried out this one game named
“Ninja Gaiden” on the Xbox where I actually have to remember button combos to stay alive.

I think I ended up halfway decent at it.

The point is that games taught me to discover new things.

More importantly, it taught me to discover myself. I started reflecting on myself on what choices I made in a game. Why did I pick THESE characters to be in my RPG Party? Why did I decide to sneak in the castle through THIS path and not the other? Why did it fascinate me so much to figure out how the combat system works to such an extent that I made VIDEOS to demonstrate what is possible in the game despite how they have NO use in the game proper?

The more games I play (and more importantly the more TYPES of games I play) the more I learn about myself as a person. I know myself because my idea of having fun with games is to decipher my own actions to the point that I basically rehearsed answering my own questions, which in turn led to me easily answering those same questions from other people.

And looking back at the whole thing?

It’s amazing how much I’ve changed. In a weird way I can still remember how sheltered I was in the kinds of games I played. They HAD to be a specific TYPE of game, otherwise I wouldn’t even want to TRY it.

Now I pretty much give any game a chance so long as they come up with a cool concept behind it. Playing Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox led to me looking up the Ninja Gaiden games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and I enjoyed playing THAT as well. I basically learn from front to back.

I ended up changing the way I play the games I USED to play because of the experience I accumulated from the OTHER genres. Suddenly I played Modern Sonic games to find all the Red Star Rings because I actually wanted to figure out all the different ways the levels divert in their paths.

I remember I wouldn’t even DREAM of going THAT far in terms of exploration back when I was a kid and dashed my way through Emerald Hill Zone in Sonic 2. I just wanted to reach that Goal Post, dang it!

Conclusion

So what do games mean to me? Reflection. They’re the gateway to knowledge for me. Thanks to them, my past, present and future can co-exist. One day I will play a game in the future that I’m either playing right now or have played a long time ago in the past. In that future I can compare myself to the me of the past. How have I changed and how have I stayed the same?

This is pretty much why I decided to keep all my old blogposts despite me disagreeing with a lot of points nowadays. I HAVE changed, and that’s okay. It means I’m human. It means I am able to look back and learn from myself the same way I learn from games.

But yeah, I’m not going to promise a set schedule on my blog posts or anything, but I am going to try to write every now and then. In the end, it’s just another way of learning about myself, you know?

This post is part of a relaunch of this blog. You can read Part 2 and Part 3 of this blog by clicking the buttons below.

Published by Huy Minh Le

Huy Minh Le is a Video Game Enthusiast, Movie Lover, Writer, Content Marketeer and regular TvTropes reader! His studies in Game Design, Art, and Writing has led to a very creative, yet analytical mind.

3 thoughts on “Game Philosophy: What Games mean to Me

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