Video Games

Video Games

Long Winded: TLDR Eve Online.

I had moved out after increasing confrontations with my dad when I was 16, I had moved to the nearest city into a shared house, which by chance has a teacher and a gamer living there. Once I'd settled in and had balanced college with a job I started playing WoW, outside of the village I grew up in, I didn't have any friends and I went to college an hour away and no one I knew lived in the city I did.

Once I finished college I started working as a supervisor at TK Maxx, one night a co-worker who was also a supervisor walked up to me and asked me if I'd be interested in a house party. I was about to beg off and say no thanks when he pointed out a girl whom I had a crush on and said "She's going" so I was all in. So we arranged to meet after work and get ready at his parent's place.

When we got there, he introduced me to his parents, and then we went up to his room, he said "make yourself comfortable, I need to check my trades" and I was a bit bemused by this and just opened my laptop and said "no worries, just checking guild stuff" and booted WoW up, after about 30 minutes I was done and I looked over and he was looking at some hugely complicated window and he was typing in numbers and I asked "what on earth is that" and he said "oh this is Eve Online", I said "which is what exactly" and he launched into this passionate explanation about an amazing spaceship game and he said I should be playing it.

I then downloaded it and I was hooked, immediately, we ended up missing the party. I went home and I shut myself away, apart from work. I joined a corporation called "New Players Are Us" and they began to teach me the game. From here, my journey into Eve Online began.

I moved into PvP via Imperium Alliance (the 2003 version) and began my journey, by 2005 I was a fleet commander in multiple corporations, Shinra/Atuk/BOS, We then formed Band Of Brothers from our alliance .5. / In this alliance I was part of the biggest wars in Eve Online. I fleet commanded some of the biggest fleets in Eve Online history, I was the expert on Assault Frigate fleets and Sniper Fleets.

Why did this change my life? For the first time in my life, I had friends, and people I could talk to, apart from work I had a purpose for my existence, my time mattered, in retail, no matter your rank, you aren't valued, you are a cog in a machine. But as a fleet commander and director in one of the best PvP alliances in-game, I had respect, when I came online, they reacted, they were happy "When's the next fleet boss" "Who are we smashing today" - For 15 years, until BoB disbanded, I had purpose to what I was doing. Of course by the BoB disbanded I was married with kids and had more purpose in my life.

But that's my story, of why Eve Online changed my life and gave me confidence and grew my personality and gave me, the chance to feel valued in life.

Awesome story! It really caught my eye, especially the part about Shinra/Atuk. It takes me back 20 years, to a time when I was flying with the Curse Alliance and later found myself in conflict with The Five. Those were some intense times of both alliances and rivalries!

God CA Vs imp/.5. was just, bonkers, so much hatred from both sides lol.

What game changed my life?

Easy.

Death Stranding.

Synopsis:

Death Stranding, in a nutshell, is a story about reconnecting literally EVERYTHING and everybody after a cataclysmic event pulls every strand (DS fans will know) and fibre apart. You'll play as Sam Porter Bridges and you'll be delivering parcels around the continent and along the way rebuild these bridges, in more ways than one.

Death Stranding came into my life at the best time. I didn't know it; but its true and the funny thing is, I hated it at first but I didn't want to admit I hated it but after 4 hours I fell in love.

For a start, Death Stranding comes from the wonderful, weird and wacky mind of Hideo Kojima. I would kill to have a fraction of the imagination this human has. It really is exceptional. The synopsis I detailed above is the most general and surface level description of what goes on during the game; but I think it sums it up well.

Why did Death Stranding enter my life at the perfect time?

Well, I played this game very early on in my time as a streamer which was also during the COVID lockdowns in the UK. The world was chaos, people sucked even more than normal, nobody could see each other and "connect" but online, in an incredible corner of the internet, I was able to re-connect and reunite a fictional world that wasn't too far different, metaphorically speaking, than my own. I was able to share this journey with some people who have remained in my life since and people who have grown in importance to me since then.

There are few games that I've played that truly feel like works of art and Death Stranding is one of them. I very rarely care on a deep level about characters, empathising isn't easy for me; yet when a cut scene started I was engrossed, when emotional things happened it hurt. I felt the loss and the pain alongside the characters with whatever their plight may have been. The hours of planning routes and executing plans became necessary for me.

There is one evening that I'll never forget. I had a LONG walk ahead of me, across the map, through every kind of terrain possible and I simply was NOT prepared. I got myself into such a pickle and didn't know how to fix it. My boots were trashed so I was literally falling about in the snow doing one delivery for HOURS. Did it put me off? Nope. Thats where I fell in love. Every delivery felt cathartic and complentative and every delivery felt like it mattered.

Alongside this, I found the writing amazing, the plot is really deep. I've got over 100 hours myself and have watched 4 other playthroughs in their entirity and various others to various points and I'm still learning things and noticing things for the first time that elevate it even more.

"Keep on keeping on"

Haha, I absolutely love the game as well, and have played it all the way through twice now.

And man, I can tell you, I seriously feel for these food delivery drivers - nothing felt as bad as those timers going down whilst I had an anti-matter bomb I had to deliver into the tar.

Sure, an anti-matter bomb is a little more touchy than a pizza, but nonetheless

I started a second run on the hardest difficulty recently and forgot how difficult early game can be haha!

Especially against Unger! I could not handle him and his raised soldiers...

I mightve spent an entire afternoon trying 😭😅

I would answer Guild Wars 2 and/or Horizon Zero Dawn. Two games for two different times.

Why Guild Wars 2: it gave me a focus, it gave me results when there weren't results. And it kept me company ever since.

I started playing Guild Wars 2 as soon as it became free to play. SW: The Old Republic had grown stale and as free to player I was practically stuck so I needed a change.

I started pretty casually but then, university came and from a casual game, it become my main and only game. My bachelor was pretty dry of results while in Guild Wars 2 I found that I could work hard and get results, instead of working hard... and still taking it up the... you got the point. And I was happy if I got the results I wanted, while bachelor's results always felt more like eating sand than else.

The story was entertaiming and there were plenty of activities, even if I was a free to play character. In SW:TOR I was very limited on the activities I could do, on the amount of resources I could own, you couldn't even whisper people, while in Guild Wars 2 I could do all the base game, without nowhere the same tight restrictions.

I kind of pulled in 3 other people doing my same university and we became a party, running around Tyria as we hunted for events and legendaries. Then, we levelled up when I finally got the first two expansions, Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire, as I was the last one of the team getting them, opening the path toward meta events and raids and the more story.

And then Bachelor ended and we all moved on to different paths in life, we still talk but long gone are the Guild Wars 2 only afternoon and evenings. However, Guild Wars 2 stuck: I still play it, in a much smaller amount but I still slowly work on more achievements and legendaries.

I don't feel the pressure of other MMOs, currency remains relevant and the effort feels rewarding. And I still have plenty of goals and things to do!

Why Horizon Zero Dawn? Because it awakened the joy of playing single player games and introduced me to the world of VP!

By the time I got HZD, I had some games in library but I was pretty much focused only on MMO style games: HZD changed all. It was beautiful, it was entertaining and it was absolutely satisfying to not have people around, at all.

And then I found out that people took photography in the game, calling it Virtual Photography. I've been interested in photography for a long time but vp opened up new possibilities: I didn't need an expensive camera or a too expensive to be worth phone to take great pictures. As of today vp is my most "social media successful" hobby as my work got recognized by a few studios.

With so many games littering my almost 40 years of life it's been hard to pinpoint one game in particular with so many being there for various parts of my life but I have to give it to Link's Awakening.

The story of how I got my Game Boy in itself is great so I feel like it had to be a Game Boy game for that reason alone. Back in the mid 90s we were driving to my nan's and we weren't far from hers when my dad just stopped the car in the middle of the road and got out. Wondering what on earth he was doing he picked something up and threw it in the back seat of the car to us and said "yours now". It was an original Game Boy cart with a 12 game bootleg cartridge in it complete with rechargeable batteries. The cart itself was essentially a GB starter pack - Tetris, Alleyway, Super Mario Land, Amazing Spiderman, Solar Striker, Dr Mario, Battle City to name the best ones.

That console rarely left my side, sure it was deemed the family Game Boy but when I was the only one getting bought games for it for Christmas and birthdays it became mine. Ducktales, Earthworm Jim, Wario Land, Toy Story, Kirby's Pinball Land and more all have a great place in my memories but Link's Awakening had something more. My friend at the time lived opposite our house back in Essex and we'd regularly hang out and play games, often sharing GB games as a way to play more games without having to spend out our hard earned pocket money on them. He had been struggling on some parts of Link's Awakening so I offered to help, he loaned me the cart and I started my own save so I could see if I could catch up to where he was and help solve the mysteries. Eventually, it became harder to give that game back and an older boy down our road sold his copy to my friend and he gave it to me. Now, I adored that game, I played the hell out of it but never actually finished it. We fell out as friends (it was the 90s, we were young, it happens) I kept the game and we never spoke again.

Yet, through all the things we went through with that game, it wasn't tainted, it wasn't soured in any way, (unlike Red Dead Redemption - thank you, my ex from 13 years ago!) and in 2006 or so my parents sold our childhood home and they relocated. As I was still at university in the area I got my first studio flat and was filled with excitement but also the absolute heart wrench that this was one of the first big changes in my life, I wouldn't see that house again, the one filled with so many great memories.

So there I was, in this studio flat in the middle floor of a 5 storey block of flats, feeling a bit lost, a bit teary eyed about the past that was now firmly behind us as that chapter closed and anxious about what was to come. I took a breath, I unpacked as much as I could those first couple of nights and while sifting through my old consoles I found my SNES console I had bought from a friend just 2 years prior, the Super Game Boy attachment and the copy of Link's Awakening. Seeing comfort in that familiar gold label cartridge, I hooked it all up, loaded my old save from all those years ago (the save battery still worked) and rather than finishing it, I looked to where it was I was stuck and found a guide online - looking only at what I needed to do to get a key for this cave I found what I needed, closed it, deleted all my saves and started fresh.

It was a weird feeling of comfort and familiarity but also responsibility and maturity. I was 21, sitting in my own rented place, with my own TV, on my own sofa, playing something that gave me so many great moments in my childhood in our house growing up. It felt like my duty to myself to finish that game, to in some way give myself a focus away from the change but to also help me reconnect with the past as well, bringing it back full circle I suppose.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing and whilst I didn't think the ending of the game was all that great, the game on the whole was superb, tricky puzzles, exploration and challenging boss fights were on offer on the surface but so much more than that was this game's ability to get me through a challenging time, to turn it into a time that I can look back on with fondness and can now replay again with that same feeling of joy firmly cemented in my mind.

Warframe.

My wife and I can just sit and play this game for hours. Fashion-frame, grinding out some new thing, decorating our dojo, just doing whatever. We play this a lot to just talk about our day and bond and laugh and shoot stuff and cry about the rare loot drops. Look forward to it almost every night when the kids are in bed.

It's leaked into our real life just a bit even. The "handler" who talks to you during missions in that game is The Lotus, but one of her other names is "Margulis." Our daughters name is "Margot" and she regularly gets called "Margulis" when we're feeling silly.

This one might be a little different, and a little more personal to some. Hopefully relatable to a few as well.

Clash of Clans

I know, I know, this little gem developed by Supercell is quite different to other people's submissions, especially considering it's a mobile game. But this game's community holds a special place in my heart... starting from Day 1.

I'm sure we all have either seen or played Clash of Clans before

Develop that base! Attack those goblins! Join a clan, and wreak havoc on your enemies! And then lord over your friends for their entire life about how you're a "townhall" higher than them. 8 year old me instantaneously fell in love with the concept of being the "chief" of my little village, having total control over all aspects... and maybe placing buildings on top of the villagers and watching them run like crazy... (I do hope I wasn't the only one)

For me? That was my little paradise on my mother's Motorola. Eventually, though, she saw that someone was actively promoting "Free gems!"(An in-game premium currency) in the World Chat (Now removed) for free if someone simply inputted all their details into a website. Instantaneous removal of the game. Womp womp.

As you can imagine, little me was devastated that I no longer had my mini village paradise, and I never touched the game until I was old enough to gain an interest in the game again. Logging back into it gave me a sudden wash of nostalgia, back to my paradise village and having control once more. This time, I had gained a bit more knowledge and common sense. I searched for a clan to reinforce my base, and came across clan after clans, joining them and immediately getting kicked, primarily because of my low town hall level. But one, and just one clan stood out to me. "Splatoon Gamer"

Sometimes, we find a home in a community online

And this one spoke Spanish.

Hell, I did not know a single word in Spanish. I was probably the worst player in there. I never did a coordinated attack. I was always too low-level. I always fumbled the game.

But one person, who I still remember to this day, Engels, became my mentor and guide throughout it all. Primarily because he was the only bilingual person there, but still.

I was going through a rough time then

and I'm not afraid to say that it wasn't pretty. I never openly admit these sorts of things, but domestic violence was commonplace in my home, and I pretty much felt alone throughout all of this. I refused to reach out for help anywhere because it was always a "What say if they tell someone else?" factor in it all. But having someone on the other side of the world, who also understood my problems, also knew what I was going through then, just made everything so much better.

We became great friends. Online friends, yes, but the bond was the greatest I've ever had. He was the first to wish me a happy birthday every time. Hell, even before my friends that I talked to, every day. He guided me through the game, every step of the way. God, I feel bad for him, thinking how bad I must've been, but he persisted, and so did I.

Eventually, a major event happened in my life, that shook things up for me

Everyone I talked to, simply had no idea what it was like. Engels? Tried his best to understand. And that changed my life for the better. He was like a brother on the other side of the entire world, and that meant a lot to me. He even started to teach me Spanish so I could understand the clan, and now I can hold a conversation in Latin Spanish!

Eventually, the clan died due to inactivity, and Engels told me that I exceeded the clan, and I had to move on. With a fully maxed TH 12 (the best at the time) I had to find another clan as a home (This time, I made sure they spoke English, which is always a great start)

I'll seriously TL;DR this part

Being an adult ain't as fun.

But hell, do some people just make it so much better. It's literally the first part, but redone all over again, thanks to a new person in my life now. This guy, a 6'7 giant, with a 10.7 inch handspan (who had to get a 12.9" iPad because a phone was too small for him to play) showed me what it truly was like to be an adult, and guided me through another phase of my life. Relationship, life goals... he became a second father in my life and always tried to get me to aim for the best.

This has been quite the long submission... but this game, more so the community, has absolutely changed my life, to get me to the success I have today.

TL;DR cool game community helps me through life and mentors me.

The game that profoundly changed my life is Eve Online, a game I began playing at the age of 17. Little did I know then, it would not just be a virtual adventure, but a journey that would shape my real-world skills, career, and overall perspective.

Eve Online was a comprehensive learning platform. It was here that I honed my English skills, immersing myself in an environment where communication was key to success. The game's global community provided an interactive, engaging way to learn and practice a new language, far beyond the traditional classroom setting.

But the language learning didn't stop there. Eve Online was a masterclass in soft skills, many of which directly translated to my professional life. As a fleet commander, I was thrust into the deep end of management and leadership. These experiences taught me how to strategize, make critical decisions under pressure, and lead a team towards common goals – skills that are invaluable in any leadership role.

Trading and logistics in the game were another learning curve. They taught me the essentials of time management and planning. These aspects of the game required a systematic approach to resource allocation, foresight, and understanding market dynamics – all crucial skills in the business world.

Perhaps the most significant impact of Eve Online was how it molded my career in the IT industry. The strategic thinking, leadership qualities, and time management skills I developed while playing were directly applicable to my professional life. They played a pivotal role in my career development, helping me to climb the ladder and achieve top management positions.

In retrospect, Eve Online was more than a game; it was a catalyst for personal and professional growth. It's a testament to how a virtual world can impart real-world skills and leave an indelible mark on one's life.

Need for Speed Underground.

When I was younger, the only games I had on our old family Windows 98 PC were stuff like Space Cadet Pinball, Deluxe Ski Jump, or some free games that came bundled with yoghurt packs at from the supermarket. Then at the age of 5 we moved to England, and to make the transition somewhat tolerable for me, that year for Christmas I got a PS2, and with it, Need for Speed Underground. To go from simple 2D games, to such a stunning 3D one was mind-blowing for me. It wasn't only my first AAA game I ever played, but it must have been my first 3D game in general. It made me fall in love in not only the Need for Speed franchise, but also gaming in general, and showed me what gaming can be and how amazing games can be. To this day this game does so many thing better than most modern racing games, which is kind of sad if you think about it.

Final Fantasy VII

There were quite a few games which had a huge impact on me, but if I had to name a life-changing one it would be Final Fantasy VII. (Screenshots from FF7 Remake as that's all I currently have on my laptop, and let's be honest, they look a lot cooler)

What I was going though:

My dad died when I was 7 years old and my mother's second husband was anything but kind. I was always yelled at and criticized for everything, nothing what I said or did was good for him. Didn't help that my school got shut down and my parents decided to take me to a different school than my friends transferred to, so I was left alone and been constantly bullied by my new classmates since I was the new kid. Reasons for my social anxiety and low self-esteem still to this day... As I was growing up and understood more about what was going on around me it just got worse and I was reading fantasy books to get away from reality.

How I met the game:

I was 12 when FFVII came out and my friend's brother had a PS and was playing the game one day when I was over. I never played RPGs before, didn't even have a console or a PC which would run anything else apart from Tetris and such, so when I found out this game had a story, it completely blew my mind. I ended up staying past my bedtime to play it and got grounded for it later, but it was worth it. Seeing such a game opened up my eyes and gave me a much needed escape from things going on at home. I kept going over to my friend after school to "study" together but we were just playing Final Fantasy and writing alternative endings to the game.

How did it change my life:

I was sitting there playing with a dictionary to translate the English texts. It taught me more than the language classes at school.

Writing all that fan fiction improved my writing and story-telling skills which helped me a lot with graduating.

Aerith was my favorite character as I could relate to her in many things. Her story gave me strength to face my own demons and find my way in the world.

I wanted to be an actress and film director but my mother and her husband didn't let me. We watched Final Fantasy - The spirit within with my friend and I was blown away by the CGI and had decided I want to be a game developer and make game trailers and ingame cutscenes like that movie. I went to learn video editing, animation and Japanese at uni and dreamed about working at Square Enix one day.

Been rudely awakened from that dream by the lack of understand and support from my mother and her husband (but honestly what did I even expect?) and when I had enough one day I packed my life into 2 bags and bought a one-way ticket to London.

Final Fantasy VII thought me a lot about the world and people, and helped me see things for what they really were. Taught me to stand up for myself and gave me hopes and dreams during the darkest time of my life. Having to fight against my family's lack of support, moving countries and build a new life from nothing threw me back a good 15 years, but next week I'm starting my first job in the games industry. And who knows what the future will bring? The next step might be Square Enix :D

And now you know why I love Final Fantasy so much.

EVE Online

I started playing EVE in 2004, and am one of the rare breed of players who has never been away from game, have never let my subscription lapse, and have always played.

EVE itself has fundamentally changed my life for the better. I have become more confident, and decisive - not just in game, but in real life. It has helped me weigh up risks in RL with greater ease, and has given me so many real life skills.

Aside from that, I have met so many people and learnt so many things (it is spreadsheets online after all, so I have transferred much of that learning into my real life work) - I have presented at FanFest twice now, been interviewed live on Twitch TV on the CCP stream in from of thousands of people twice, have run two player gatherings where we have now raised £2.5K for charity.

I am nearly in my 20th year in game, and have played EVE for 45% of my life now. EVE has given me so much - but the good news is... I have so much more to give :)

Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation. This is the game that changed my life.

I honestly dont know where to start with this game but im going to try! First off I remember getting this game as a kid, when your impressionable and games up to that point i had played were platformers like sonic and arcade type games, maybe not with a ton of depth, but a heck of a lot of fun. The along came Metal Gear Solid. It was the first game I ever got that came in a chunky big double CD jewel case so I thought "oh this must mean business!"

Metal Gear Solid comes from the mind of the genius that is Hideo Kojima, and WOW, i hadnt ever seen or played anything like it at the time. Metal Gear Solid (MGS) is an action stealth adventure game, something i really dont think even existed until its arrival. So I popped the disc into my grey box of magic, aka The PlayStation, and right off the bad the introduction of Snake underwater diving onto what seemed like an oil rig or a military base had me interested. Then the gameplay kicked off and for someone like me who usually loves just going in all guns blazing Rambo style in my games i was shocked when MGS sucked me into its immersive snowy cold world and hooked me right through to the end. And it really did hook me in as this was the first, if not one of the first games I ever completed (the other was the classic Resident Evil 2 on PlayStation)!

The game was groundbreaking in so many ways as stealth was carried out in the game fantastically where you could knock on a wall so the gaurds defending the base would wander over then you could take them out from behind and drag them away... incredible. The on screen radar really helps build the tension as you try to avoid the enemies field of view and then if they spot you the legendary alert sound plays and your need to run and hide or take them all out until things quiet down again, this game is such a masterpiece it deserves a genuine remake or remaster (preferably with Kojima back at the helm... heck maybe Sony or someone will buy Konami and give Kojima back the MGS IP so he can work his magic once again.... hey I can dream!)

The story also was incredible at drawing you in as this was one of the first games i remember really utilising in engine cut-scenes to help build the story and draw out the drama unfolding around solid snake... especially when you would encounter some of the incredible bosses who you would need to battle. And who could forget all the conversation cut-scenes which are fully voiced over with Snake talking to another character on his communicator! It also sticks with me as being one of the first games I was consious of my inventory as I was always watching my ammo and heck I even remember using cigarettes and diazepam for calming snake down to pull of some tough sniper rifle shots! What a game!

Now I wont discuss all the bosses as I dont want to spoil the game in case you haven't played it but this was another aspect where MGS was light-years ahead of the competition, I remember playing against Psycho Mantis i think it was, where he was actually reading stuff from your memory card!? A genuine WTF moment haha then to defeat him you have to switch your controller port to the other port, really amazing and creative moments that were just WOW back in 1998!

Oh and did i mention you can creep about the levels inside a cardboard box? It doesn't get much better than this!

After completing the game, I genuinely didnt think it could get any better than this, which left a huge impression on me, this game really showed me what the medium of video games was all about, which is something incredibly special when its done right. So much so that it was probably one of the key moments in my life which made me decide "I love this" and "I will be a gamer the rest of my life", and here I am still playing games, after multiple consoles, after a ton of games played and then making it my career being a gaming content creator!

So thank you Metal Gear Solid and thank you Hideo Kojima for being one of the big reasons that my life has went the trajectory it has and why im doing what I am doing right here right now! (PS I've got MGS on my PlayStation classic mini but I am too scared to play it again as I just dont want to ruin any amazing memories... hence my long wait for a Remake/Remaster)

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