My Favorite Game of All Time - and Why - Dylan Snyder Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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My Favorite Game of All Time - and Why

“Why do gamers love their games?”  When you pose a question like that, you’re almost guaranteed to see as many different kinds of answers as there are different kinds of gamers.  The fact is, everyone has a reason.  That special something that keeps them coming back for more.  Part of what makes the gaming community so wonderful is the unified ability of all gamers to share these reasons, to open up each others eyes to new possibilities and experiences.  Sure, that may be a bit melodramatic, but in principle, it’s true.  We gamers thrive off of telling others about the amazing events we’ve been held witness to.

So, in an attempt to encourage a little community bonding here at the good ol' blog, I’ve decided to share a quick story with everyone, detailing one of those very moments when gaming affects your very life, and your interactions with others.

The year was 1998.  I was six years young, Speed Racer and Sonic the Hedgehog were my best friends, and Bon Jovi tunes weren’t over used.  I, or rather my father, had collected every star in Super Mario 64, clocked many, many hours on Goldeneye 007, and my soon to be obsession with ‘Pokemon Snap!’ was a year off.  Games were a meaningless part of my existence.  Fun little diversions that  I watched my dad play when he got home from work.  But it wasn’t meant to stay that way.

                                                               

One Friday, with school finished for the week, my father arrived home with a new game in his hand.  Not a groundbreaking development by any means in those days, but still something that merited my curiosity.  The game he had in his possession was ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’.  The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it (Years later, I would find out that, while my mom was still pregnant with me, my dad would stay up until five a.m., with work just a couple hours away, playing ‘A Link To the Past’ on SNES).  So, after we had finished dinner, I followed him down to the den, where the N64 was hooked up.  He popped in the cartridge, and the Nintendo logo appeared on screen.  I had no way of knowing that this game was about to change my life, in a way so significant, it would take a little game called Shadow of the Colossus to top it.

The title screen flashed on to reveal something beyond imagination.  A huge expanse of land, littered with trees and fences, with a beautiful castle in the distance.  Suddenly, a lone rider on a brown horse raced across the fields, all while some incredibly soothing music played in the background.  It was like lightning struck.  Now, there were video games that, to me, looked as real as movies, and sounded like them too.  Games weren’t just novelties that one received for the holidays.  They were legitimate experiences that would soon consume my life day in and day out.

"Whoa..."

"Whoa..."

In a matter of seconds, I was upstairs, shouting for my mom to come see the most brilliantly detailed piece of gaming ever invented.  Next, my cousins were on the phone, with me inviting them over because they simply HAD to see this.  Soon, the three of us, my cousins and myself, were laying on the floor of the den with our hands supporting our heads, gazing up at the adventure taking place on screen.  By the time he had arrived at Gohma, the games first boss, we were shouting like crazy, punching his arm and telling him to stun her and slash at her eye when she was dazed.  When the Deku Tree died, we were seriously bummed.  And when you have to sneak in Hyrule Castle to see Princess Zelda, we were on the edge of our seats.  Time flew by, and eventually it was one in the morning, the latest I had ever been up.  This would be a recurring theme for months, until finally, the game was completed.  Now let it be known that I didn’t complete the game myself until years later, simply because of the fact that to someone my age, it seemed so vast and unconquerable.  Nothing can ever match the experiences accumulated over the course of that game.

The thing that makes Ocarina of Time so unique is the absolutely epic set pieces that the game throws you in.  From Hyrule Castle, to the fantastically crafted Forest Temple, all the way to the final battle of the game, every environment you find yourself in is grabbing and effective.  And, who can honestly say they didn’t flip out when the whole world goes to hell after pulling the Master Sword.  The setting rocked.  Not to mention that nearly every boss in the game is cool (My favorite being Bongo Bongo), and the keys to beating them pretty creative.  The developers did a splendid job in crafting life-like communities that surround you, and distinct cultures for each different race in the game.  The game just feels complete, with very little that holds it back from being awarded a coveted ten out of ten.

One of the coolest and toughest bosses ever

Before this nostalgic reminiscing becomes monotonous, let me wrap things up.  Ocarina of Time remains my favorite game of all time, and always will.  I use it constantly in arguments pertaining to how big a role nostalgia plays in how we remember our games, and the times that we played them at.  The bottom line is, everyone has one of these.  Stories about the first truly breathtaking experience they had with games, that had them playing it through to completion, almost religiously, for long stretches of time.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you were so inspired by the game, you completed it in one sitting.  The fact remains, it was important to you, and will stay with you until the day you die.

Before I go, I have a request of you guys.  I want you, in the comments, to leave some of your gaming stories, about games that changed your life.  Obviously don’t make them 869 words and counting, but give me an idea of what it was like experiencing that for the first time.  After all, its our responsibility as gamers to retell these stories, making them more farfetched and cleverly worded with each go around.  If you don’t know what I mean, read the above.  I kinda just did it.

                          

 

Comments
  • Ah yes, I still can remember my cousin, Josh playing that game for hours on end, and it was what inevitable drove me to try and get the Zelda games for myself. But this was not my first defining moment in gaming history, the game that got me hooked was... *cough* Tomb Raider.

    Now at the time I was pretty young (between 6 and 8) so I want to hear no jokes about crushes on pixelated hotties, that was not a key driving factor for me at that time. What was was the shear vastness of it all and the heart-pounding adventures. I still remember the first time I saw those raptors jump me on screen (what later got me into Jurassic Park,) and I can still remember the absolute shock I felt when I first saw that T-Rex on screen. My mouth was still hanging open in bewilderment as Lara was made that evenings dinner.

    Needless to say, I was young, and those first few days of gaming really set me on edge, and my mother decided it was time to stop with the Tomb Raider and introduce me to Croc... Not as graphically violent, but still a game that held my interest for quite some time in those younger years.

  • Tomb Raider used to be such a great franchise.  Unfortunately, I didn't start playing until the later games, so I can't really call myself a true fan.  However, I have enjoyed the more recent titles quite a bit.

  • hmm so hard to say... well the game i've put the most hours in is The elder scrolls: Oblivion. It is prolly my favorite game.

  • That's a great title, to be sure.

  • zelda is a seriously great title. its been churning out iterations since i was a weeee lad and its still going strong.

  • Bioshock is (imo) the best game that will ever be made. It takes the poster child for the "mindless killing" stereotype, the fps, and turns it into what I would call the finest piece of social Sci-fi in the last 10 years. Since ive played this game, Ive read 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, ect, etc. Reading those fantastic books has given me a great appreciation for Sci-fi in general, that I didnt have before. All my current interests in books, movies, and games stem from my enjoyment of Bioshock and its story. So, in a nutshell, Bioshock has changed my life. There you are. A little long, but I think it shows my adoration for the game.