Well, I’ve taken a couple weeks since that last post to sit back and recharge my batteries, to reflect on all the things I’ve written here and take in the big picture, and to… you know, actually celebrate having just turned 30, which is how all this started. But here I am, back again, because no essay is complete without a conclusion.
You might have noticed a theme throughout these retrospectives, though to be totally real with you it’s not one I knew would emerge so strongly until I sat down and actually wrote them. That theme is creation. Videogames, it seems, have always been steering me toward creation, long before I had any idea that’s what I even wanted in my life.
A long, long time ago, it was videogames that introduced me to my own creative impulses. Then level editors let me begin to flex my storytelling muscles, and modding gave me the chance to create the worlds I dreamt up. Along the way, I’ve been awed, influenced, and inspired by other worlds I’ve inhabited for a time here and there. I discovered how emotionally powerful a story can be early on. I was taught to hold to my convictions; and sworn I would never be afraid of weaving those convictions into the things I created. And I’ve seen firsthand how games can change a life… or save one.
Hell, some games have served just to prepare me for the reality that someone’s always going to hate whatever I make. But you’ve still got to make it, no matter what anyone tells you, or how it ends up looking.
It’s been quite a trip this past month and a half, revisiting games I haven’t played in years. I’ve loaded up emulators and installed extra programs to get some games to even work in modern Windows. Discovered that there’s a modding community for Oni that I didn’t even know existed. Read up the work being done on Asheron’s Call to get that game running again on private servers.
You just cannot kill these games — any of them. I suppose it’s proof that dozens, hundreds, thousands of other people have loved them just as much as I did. I’m not the only person whose life has been changed and made better, whose passions and pursuits have been inspired by videogames. I’m not the only one who wouldn’t be who I am without them.
Every one of you who has read this probably knows just as many games that have shaped your life as much as these games shaped mine. If you haven’t already, spend a little time looking back on those games. Take some time to celebrate what they mean to you. And maybe, in the process, learn a little bit about yourself and why you are who you are. I certainly did.