Video Games, A New Frontier

When I was growing up, video games were that thing that wealthier friends of mine had and played. I could never fathom being interested in playing them myself. As I grew older, more and more of the friends I had were gamers in that way. They would talk about their games and I would zone out (irony of ironies) until they went back onto a subject I could relate to. Some made valiant attempts at including me. I button-mashed in Soul Calibur and Super Mario Smash Brothers. I enjoyed the prettiness of games like Final Fantasy VII and Legend of Zelda. Heck, video games inspired my art for a time, even though I still never played. I had to work, I had to go to school, I would rather read books or draw or craft with what little spare time I had. And I knew, deep down in my little soul, that my obsessive personality would grab onto whatever game it was and not let go.

Well, suddenly my life changed dramatically. Last year in June, I reached a milestone: I graduated college. For the first time in my life I had no school, no job demanding my time, and some disposable income. I also had a husband who enjoyed playing video games once in awhile, so we already had PC games on our main computer. And, I had been influenced by Rosslyn and the webcomic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. I had time, I had the inclination, so I decided to play Dragon Age: Origins. I was not disappointed. It was challenging, interesting, and told a fun story. I got to influence the story through my own decisions and play almost any type of character I could want.

My obsessive personality traits came to the fore. They latched onto this new world and type of hobby and did not let go. I begged my husband to get Dragon Age II. I played it three times with the DLCs. I played Dragon Age: Origins again and made different choices. I watched the trailers for Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third installment, avidly and began stockpiling a wishlist for the novels and graphic novels. I love the lore. I love the setting. So when friends gave me the physical copy of Inquisition the same day my husband had secretly bought the game and downloaded it to our computer (Christmas presents, both of them), I squealed and felt betrayed all at once (I was a mess that day, but the husband has forgiven the weirdness of my reaction).

I am nearing the end of my first play-through of Inquisition--I really only have the final battle to do, but I'm futzing around and avoiding it--and it's strange to see how this has changed. My blogging dropped off completely, but my knitting hasn't changed, I still play D&D with my friends--heck, I'm DMing! But now I understand the gamer jokes, I understand why people play these games and they are not wasting time and filling in the dark hours with mindless stimulation--if you believe that's the case, then you also believe no one should ever watch TV or read a non-fiction book. Many video games are telling new and exciting stories and I'm glad I've hopped on this bandwagon. I'm also really glad I chose the Dragon Age world to take me there.

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