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It's been a long and winding road so far writing this 31/31 blog series and, to be frank, the task is a large one. I'm feeling quite tired today after a few short nights and now 21 episodes in, I'm in need of a serious pick-me up to get back in the groove. Where else to turn to except the basis of what I've been writing about for inspiration: video-games! Join me as in my attempts at self-therapy as I take a gander at some of gaming's inspiring moments to get you back in the game today:
Warning!: Despite my best attempts, spoilers follow for the following games of Uncharted 2, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Final Fantasy VII, and, to some extent, Metal Gear Solid 4. I generally avoid the juiciest spoilers when and where I can, but understand that others like Portal 2, Heavy Rain, and Bioshock Infinite will undoubtedly feature non-vital, yet surprising plot elements. Thank you.
Again, if you haven't played and wish to play the afore mentioned titles, I both advise you to do so and avoid this blog at all costs. That said, it wouldn't be fair to end your stay here without some inspiration. Please enjoy your consolation prize and have a lovely and inspiring day!
Assassin's Creed II: Bonfire of the Vanities Speech
By the time you might've purchased and downloaded Ezio's lost DLC memories, you probably would have been a good 20+ hrs. in of sticking it to the man with your stabby, punchy crusade of revenge. After the Bonfire of the Vanities, players were finally presented with a turn in Ezio's journey for understanding, one of justice than just a fervent anger against the Templars. Ezio's memorable speech finally reminded players that Desmond's DNA wasn't all memories of Templar slaying. Rather, its core was about restoring a balance to the world. The power of choice is something that the series holds dear and Ezio's stirring words carry it wholeheartedly as you remember what you're fighting for.
Heavy Rain: Merlin's Death
Players will easily remember Heavy Rain in its entirety as one big gripping drama nearly every moment, but few might recall even the most telling foreshadowing of its beginning. While you may have suffered car crashes, fist-fights, and amputations right and left, its the peaceful life of Ethan Mars that you first wake up to at the game's start. The slow pace of coffee-making and dressing up aside, its the quite moments with the kids that brought heart to the seeming suburban paradise along with the technical first death you encounter. It's on that fateful day of Jason's death that Shawn's treasured pet bird, Merlin, passes away as both a eerie prediction of events to come and a fateful lesson on death. Ethan's words to his son remind us that there are some things that just happen, even if you don't want them to. You'll experience that all too often throughout the game's course, making this brief but meaningful scene a calm before the storm that's all the more important.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door's Final Boss
Mario is always a man with a plan, but it's not often that he has to face down a demon queen that threatens the entire world. Helpless against her otherworldly powers [in the body of Princess Peach no less!], it's the might of friendship that wins out against this devious evil. Your final boss battle against her is made all the more heart-warming and courageous in the face of all your allies throughout the Paper Mario world heroically rallying for their hero upon sensing his endangerment. Awakening the Crystal Stars with their power of hope, Mario is given the vital edge to lower the Shadow Queen's invincible shield allowing you to end the boss with style. It goes to show you how much Mario inspires with that kind of devotion.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future: Luke's Farewell
A good gentleman is never supposed to cry, yet it's all the more touching when we see a little up-and-coming do just that. Unwound Future sent the good professor and Luke on more than their share of ups and downs and it's poor Luke's tearful farewell that truly ends it on an equally poignant note to even Layton's trauma. Unlike Hershel's own tragedy, there are words of comfort to be said between two friends. With the Layton prequel games having completed their trilogy and Level 5's eagerness for more entries, it's hopeful that Luke and Layton could indeed be reunited once again. If it brings the kinds of moments that Unwound Future did, I sure hope so.
Bioshock Infinite: Elizabeth's Song
Bioshock Infinite may not have involved many encouraging words in light of Columbia's tyrannical society members. All the same, it was Elizabeth's priceless ones in song that captured many's attention the most. Taking a pause from all the carnage and brutality of surviving against the city's mad citizenry and killer-robot founding fathers, it was a pleasant surprise to find a song buried amidst Booker's sorrowful journey. You could think it strange for Booker or Elizabeth to have any artistic spirit after the horrific incidents they've traversed through, but it makes the moment even more hopeful that there'll be a light at the end of Columbia's tunnel. It just might prove that even the smallest of easter eggs like these made the City in the Sky only more memorable in our hearts.
Mass Effect 3: Endgame Speech
(General Mass Effect 3 pic above, not specifically Endgame's)
By the time the Reapers had sowed the seeds for the final battle, you had already been through the worst kind of hell only made for fearless commanders. Your crew was battle-weary, Earth ravaged, and perhaps your own spirit exhausted. You never feared for yourself though; your fight was for humanity and all the worlds that shared in its different forms. You remind yourself and your crew mates that you signed up for this chore and Reapers be damned if you weren't going to finish it. It only took a few words to convey this in either Shephard's words as you took on the challenge of the fittingly named "Endgame" chapter of the game. The series won't soon forget your actions and neither will gamers.
Final Fantasy VII: One on One Time at the Golden Saucer
If you've played Final Fantasy VII or even remotely heard about what characters it lost, you'll know that tragedy shapes the power of this historic JRPG title. What built up to it was just as daunting in the amount of endearing character development that went into it before hand, for the time or maybe period for the Final Fantasy series. Mid-way through your game, the amusement park of The Golden Saucer provided plenty hilarious laughs in its crazy games and hilarious gags, but it was the fantastically placed face-time you got with your team-mates that stuck with you. Though you might've chosen anyone for the cable car ride [Cloud and Barett are particularly amusing], Cloud and Aerith's last real moments together does its job of lifting your spirits from the arduous tasks of monster hunting and rebel plotting. Her kind and uplifting spirit ring true with every attempt she gets of cheering up Cloud and it's all the more tragic that you don't get to spend more time with her. What happened next made RPG history and we're all the sadder for it.
Uncharted 2: The End
Nathan Drake's trek across the world in Uncharted 2's thrill ride of a game left half an army's worth of wreckage in its wake, but there was something deeper to Drake's story than that, namely one special lady. Elena Fisher proved to be one of the most human female figures created in video-games before or since along with femme fatale Chloe Frasier; however, it was her noble strength that won Drake's heart in the end. It's easy to say that their relationship has been anything but simple, but maybe it's that frustrating complexity that made their final words truly lovable by Uncharted 2's end. Not ones to be about tears or candy-hearts, Drake and Elena's hilarious and lovable banter about clowns and was the most charming and unique consummation of the two's dynamic story one could ask for. It may not have been the most straight-forward display of affection, but deep down, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Metal Gear Solid 4: "Put Down the Gun and Live"
Metal Gear Solid 4's grand finale for the series wrapped up more than a few loose ends for virtually everyone in its universe and that of Solid Snake's was no less of a spectacular event. Snake might have been slowly inching his way towards death for the entire game, but he never stopped. The mission always came first even if he knew in your heart it was your last. By the time that the happy finale had come and gone for most of your friends, Snake might have ended it all too soon if not for the. . . "unexpected". . . visitor that came your way. Shock, awe, and an unexpected sense of love all filled those moments in the graveyard of what was supposed to be your last moments. It was just as momentous that Snake could make his visitor's last moments as touching as the two could finally place aside their animosity and both find their final peace. Father and son could embrace as both equals and family and it might've been in those moments alone that Snake at last shed his gun to live as David, not the soldier. It make me even happier for Metal Gear Solid V that they're leaving 4's ending be in the canon. Hideo Kojima ended it that well, and that's not because of the avatar that emblazons my GIO page.
Portal 2: When Life Gives you Lemons. . .
Whether it's a shock to you or not, the best pep-talk I could think of comes not from bandana-wearing super commandos or intergalactic heroes, no. Perhaps my greatest inspiration has come from a hero of science, namely one Cave Johnson. If you've played Portal 2, you'll know the reference in the image above. If not, then it is perhaps difficult to describe in words the hilarity-filled life advice that Aperture's former CEO could give. Lemons, grenades, and anger management issues aside, Cave puts the pep in pep-talk when it comes to laying it out to you as plainly and unforgivingly as his creation of Glados does. Some may call him a maniac, others a hero, but Cave Johnson is one thing if not original. When life gets you down, he clearly tells you through his laboratories' old com systems that you don't stay down, you punch life in the face. Rather, in his own words, when life gives you lemons, call life's manager and better yet, burn his house down with lemon grenades! What am I gonna do with lemons! That alone is the humor that cheers up any gamer in the middle of the crap that Glados give you through the game's course, and he earns top-billing in my book, even if I never did get a cake. . .
Wow, that was longer than I though, but dare I say it, it was quite the therapeutic writing experience. I may have gained just the fuel I need to continue on and thank you for reading. What's the best pep-talk you can think of from a video-game? There are only a mere 10 episodes left of the Inquisitive Blogger and I hope that you can join me for them. It'll be a ride for sure. Peace!
Up Next on the Inquisitive Blogger: Why So Serious?