My first experience with video games was watching my oldest sister play Mega Man on NES. I remember being completely blown away by the backgrounds, level design and the emotional story. Back in the day, I wasn’t huge on video games. I used to pick up a Sega controller to play some Street Fighter and that’s about it.
It all changed in 1996. I got hooked into video games or become a “gamer” when I bought a PlayStation one. That console was a beast. It introduced me to some of my all time favorite games. Ever since I got a PS1, I have been buying gaming magazines, guides and video game related merchandise. I was gearing towards Action/Adventure and JRPGs more than other genres. I started following series such as Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil and Final Fantasy and that ultimately led to the purchase of PS2 and PS3.
Why do I play, you ask? For the same reason I read a book, watch a film and listen to music. I play to visit places I otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit simply because they’re mere visions. What makes video games a richer experience is the combination of sounds and images and the ability to interact and even influence through interaction. Video games affect me in so many ways. Often times I find myself turning to video games for inspiration. I look it at the worlds, the characters, the stories, the clothes, and the music, even food. The next minute you see me jotting down words or sketching an OC. Video games empower me.
When the world tells us women to start developing an interest in boys, I had a hard time fitting in because I couldn’t think about boys at the age of twelve. I started asking myself, am I weird? Girls at school used to talk about having a crush on some celebrity all the time. I couldn’t do the same. At times I felt lonely, until I grabbed a copy of the original Tomb Raider.
It was a game where I took over a thirty two year old British woman with an aristocracy background who despite her upbringing, raids tombs! She goes on quests looking for artifacts, exploring ancient civilizations, undiscovered places, pushing blocks thousand times her weight, avoiding deadly traps, spikes, rolling boulders, deep pits, slamming doors, wild animals, gangsters, mummies! Centaurs! Even dinosaurs! The sense of solitude was very comforting. It was therapeutic. I truly felt as though I were climbing a mountain in Peru and riding a motorbike in Venice. Lara Croft’s determination was admirable. Once she sets her eyes on something she wouldn’t stop until she gets it. But what made her even more admirable is the fact that she had other things going on in her life, things that weren’t boys or relationships.
Video games help me relate and create.
Disclaimer: I’m not against any life style and that I’m perfectly aware of how problematic “I’m not like the other girls…” discourse can be, I, however, was merely emphasizing the point of how lonely it is to not want that life style and that asexuality and aromance should be embraced and accepted.