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Video Games: An Experience or Just a Game?

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Hello everyone, my name is Avery and today I'd like to ask something to all of those that play Video Games. Now, I had this thought while watching a review about a certain game that's incredibly beautiful, but it made me think. Are there really people out there that just think that games are just that? Games and nothing more? I didn't exactly think about that until now, but there are people that think of games as just a waste of time, which is sad. But I want to do something, a little talk about what everyone has experienced in games, be it the greatest moment, the saddest moment, or even the happiest moment. I want everyone to share their experience with any game they've played, be it old or new, you are welcome to share it!




Now, with that out of the way, I want to share my experience. Which game I'm going to choose? Why, one that isn't that well known. It's "The Legend of Mana". Why this title? It's been a childhood game that I've held dearly to my heart, it will always keep a place in my all time favorites.




MINOR SPOILERS: Character Plot, Gilbert


The Legend of Mana has always been one of my favorite all time games, because of its beautiful art direction, stunning musical pieces, wonderful battle system, and incredible stories spread throughout all over the game itself! The characters in this game are extremely memorable: Elazul, the wandering warrior in search for something life changing. Niccolo, the traveling rabbit merchant and haggler. Watts, a cranky Blacksmith that helps you blacksmith. Bud and Lisa, brother and sister that stir up trouble becoming wizards. Along with many more faces that you meet along your journey!


This game also had a monster ranch, where you raise little monsters and they become your pets! Allowing you to take them into battle! They were adorable when you treated them nicely and were extremely fun to take care of. I remember going from place to place just to get my monsters the best to they can, or going on an adventure to find Monster Eggs to hatch a brand new monster! I believe I named a bunny monster "Bob" because I was horrible with names back then. But the fact that I got to raise these monsters was so cool back then.


But, the experience you have with this game, is just amazing. You are yourself, going on this journey to rebuild the world of Mana, and as you travel across different lands to get to different locations, you come across many different people. Some not even human, yet carry over extreme human emotions. Such as Gilbert the Centaur, a musical mind who wishes nothing but the best for his love who makes lamps for a living. You help Gilbert by helping his love sell lamps to the Budbear people across this one town. Though, as you tell the Budbear about the lamps and you convince them to buy them at the store. Something snaps in Gilbert, seeing something that he's been contemplating even before you met him in this town. After you do the quest for both him, and his love, they both go out to the balcony of the tallest building, talking to one another.


Though, the outcome... isn't expected, as Gilbert leaves his love to search for something greater. This is a very sad moment, accompanied by a musical piece known as "Sparkling City of Ruin", giving more of an impact. You meet Gilbert many times along your journey, so it's possible that he has another ending to his story. I just haven't found it yet. But it was really sad to see the two of them see each other go like that. But honestly, that's not the worst in this game. There are MANY MANY other stories in this game that hits you if you immerse yourself into the game well enough. There many endings, openings, even events that you never saw coming. There's just too many to tell in such a short time, and I want to have others experience them just as I have.


Legend of Mana is a fantastic game, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to try out something new. The battle system is great, the story is top notch for the fact that it doesn't exactly revolve around your character, but instead revolves around the world you travel in. The art is breathtaking to look at, and the music is great to listen to if you need some inspiration. My experience is the whole game itself, it's a fantastic play, worth hours upon hours of play. It's VERY VERY hard to find a physical copy of the game, since it's very old. But if you can emulate it, you will be glad to have gotten the chance to play a game like Legend of Mana. It changed my life, maybe it can do the same with you?


Here are some of my favorite pieces from Legend of Mana. Take a listen if you want to!


Nostalgic Song



Song of Mana



So, let's hear your stories! I want to hear what your tales give about the game that gave you the best experience! Or maybe you think that games are just games? I'm not sure, that's why I'm asking!

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An interesting discussion. Games sometimes are just games unfortunately. Arcade shooters I find very dull, and I just can't play them because there's no real experience in them I guess. Hehe. I play games for their story, but unlike novels and movies they're much more involving. You're an active participant in the story which is what makes games special for me.


*major plot spoilers for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic*


I remember one of the first roleplaying games I played was Star wars KotOR. All through the game the plot is intriguing and the combat is nice and smart (even if it's ripped from D&D) but the best bit has to be when Malak confronts your character saying that, low and behold you're the big baddie that you've been hearing so much about who was apparently killed. Only turns out he wasn't, you're Revan but you have amnesia. It was a totally unexpected twist, back when this was the first game to have a twist like that. Sure there have been others since then, but KotOR was the first and it really involved me in the story. It got me thinking and the character interaction afterwards was really good. A pleasure to play through.


*end plot spoilers for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic*


So yeah, games can be smart like that when they have good writing and execution behind them. Kotor was probably one of the best games I've played because of it's writing and it gave me a truly memorable experience. Other games are a lot worse though. A few weeks back I played Singularity, and while it was trying to be smart like KotOR, it was very eh. Not a terribly good game and not a terribly memorable story, and I got the twist within the first hour of the game. It sort of felt like they were trying to make a stand-out story and a stand-out shooter, but the result was a so-so plot and a so-so arcade shooter.


I agree wholeheartedly that games can be experiences, and I've had my fair share of great experiences. Others though, are just games unfortunately. But that's my memorable experience that comes to mind. Mainly because I'm playing through KotOR again, hehe. Still, you asked I guess.

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I would be lying if I said that video games haven't had a great impact on me. I think, when designed correctly, video games can be a very artful experience; but really, anything could be considered "art." I could call a movie "just a movie," and that would be all it meant to me. Or I could also say that a movie was "an experience" that changed my outlook on life and relationships. It's all fluid - which means that nothing is completely defined by its genre (a shooter game, for example, could be either just pure, unadulterated violence, or it may have relatable characters and a compelling story, depending on how you develop it).


I'm usually drawn to games that are simplistic, but meaningful (like Journey). That's not to say I don't enjoy other "less artful" games like a standard fighting game, however. Two games I've come to adore over the years are Shadow of the Colossus and Ico. Without going too far into spoiler territory, I'll write a little bit about each one.






Shadow of the Colossus (slightly spoilery): This game covers many issues - such as life and death, love, sacrifice, loss... it's very beautiful. At first glance one might assume that it's just another action game where you mindlessly kill a bunch of colossi, but it's so much more than that. It's so sad that a good majority of people write this game off because "half the time you spend running around on a horse" or "the game is way too short." It tackles the most sensitive parts of humanity. As you play Wander (the main character), you're confronted with isolation in this great expanse of a world, much like the loneliness one faces in life. You must face your fears alone. And sometimes in life, you’re confronted with choices you don’t know are right or wrong, and there are consequences to every decision you make. Just how far are you willing to go for the one you love? The game is subtle in the most perfect way: delicate, but forceful.


Of course, there are so many things I could say about the scenery, gameplay, and design, but I think I'd be writing far too much. The pure scale of this game is astounding. All I can say is to try playing it for yourself. It truly is an experience that will play on all your emotions.






Ico: I've long been aware of the genius of Fumito Ueda (I should probably mention he also created Shadow of the Colossus). He's succeeded in creating games that are mysterious and simplistic. Ico is a perfect example of this. The game leaves a lot of room for speculation, making many headcanons among the fandom. Ico has themes such as friendship, loyalty, and courage. Not too far from the genre of SOTC, Ico is a puzzle game. You must solve puzzles to escape a cryptic “Castle in the Mist,” towing along a young girl (Yorda) who was imprisoned there. There’s little to no dialogue – again, much like SOTC – and there’s even a language barrier between the two main characters.


There’s certainly a haunting atmosphere in this game. The little hints of information it does give you about the history of the castle and those residing there have very dark and disturbing connotations. But all the while, there’s a sense of childlike innocence and purity in the relationship between Ico and Yorda. I won’t say much about the ending, but definitely wait until after the credits before you turn off the console. You won’t regret it.




One more thing I have to mention before I end my ranting is that the music in both these games is stunning. Shadow of the Colossus has epic, orchestral music that excites and is majestic, with hints of sadness and mystery. Ico strikes a more modernistic, unsettling chord that is both angelic and disturbing. The only way I can truly describe it is to show you two of my personal favorite songs.



Shadow of the Colossus Intro Cinematic:



Ico – Collapse:


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