Video games can be anything we want them to be. They can take us away to previous time periods to relive old war stories, or take us on an adventure in a fantasy world where creatures and magic are beyond our imaginations. They can make us cry or get angry. They can make us really think about the decisions we are about to make and weigh the consequences of those choices. Overall, video games are awesome and the possibilities of what a game can be are endless. One thing I really enjoy about a game is when it has some major impact on me and my life. I’ve got 2 games that have done so and here are my stories behind why they had such an impact on my life.
The Witcher 3 – I remember when I first heard about The Witcher 3. I was hanging out at a buddy’s house and I was playing on his PS4 and he looked over at me from his computer desk and said, “have you heard of the Witcher series before?” ”No”, I replied, “but it does have a pretty cool sounding name. Why?” He told me that the developer, CD Projekt Red, was making another one called The Witcher 3 and it was coming to PS4 and Xbox One consoles. I instantly asked him if they had any trailers up that we could watch, so I could gain a feel for what the game had to offer. The trailer we watched showed two older gentlemen in leather armor and chainmail, apparently tracking someone and then it would flashback periodically to a young woman with jet black hair and black clothes in battle. For some unknown reason, I was instantly hooked on this game and couldn’t wait for it to come out.
The whole aspect of using magic and swords interchangeably in battle highly appealed to me. Months later, after I had picked up my pre-ordered copy and bought the strategy guide, I started dumping countless hours into the game. I was absolutely addicted to it: I couldn’t put it down. When I’d have to go to work or I’d go to a friend’s house, I would find myself thinking about the game and what I should do next, and what armor I wanted to craft. Not only was I thinking about what I should do next in the game, I reflected on how absolutely immersive the game’s story was. There were so many twists and turns while trying to find a young girl named Ciri, who was a young witcher herself, and protect her from the fatal threat of the Wild Hunt. What surprised me, even more, was how in-depth the side quests were, and not only were they fun to do, but they were thought out and really interesting and such a far cry away from the side quests I had become accustomed to doing in other RPGs.
It was at this point that I realized that games could really be this awe-inspiring, like 10/10 material. I realized that when a developer put their mind to it, they could create super polished games that didn’t make me feel like I’m wandering aimlessly in the giant, open-worlds we’ve seen so often. They could tell stories that I would want to lose myself in for hours upon hours on any given day and still find a way to keep me coming back for more. It was a hunger for a game like I’d never had before and what’s even more appalling is I’d never played The Witcher or its sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I had no idea about the backstory of these characters, or the history they had with one another or even past events that brought them to where they were in The Witcher 3. But playing it, I almost felt like I didn’t need to know a whole lot about it either. I could totally be addicted to this game and not really know what was going on before all this. The Witcher 3 showed everyone, including myself, what the new standard was for RPGs and developers have been trying to top it ever since.
The Last of Us – I had really wanted to finally make the jump to next gen consoles. My buddy Kenny had already made the transition and kept bugging me to sell my faithful Xbox 360 and get a PS4. After many talks about why I should get rid of my console, I went ahead and purchased a Playstation 4. I was super excited to finally be able to play current games with my friends and stay up-to-date on all the new games. What I found out after I bought the PS4 was that it came with a game that I had heard a lot about but didn’t know anything about it; The Last of Us Remastered for the PS4. I immediately started playing it and could not put the controller down. This game was fantastic! It was everything I wanted in a game! It had a great gameplay, fantastic voice acting and music and most of all, a story that I could not stop thinking about. I remembered staying up for hours and hours on work nights playing the game, only forcing myself to go to bed because I knew I couldn’t lose my job over this. Almost all of my free time over the next week was spent playing the game, exploring the areas and diving as deep as the game would allow me into the world that developer Naughty Dog created.
The thing about this game that changed my life was very much like what The Witcher 3 did for me, only way earlier. This game had a story better than anything I had ever come across in any movie. This game made me actually care about the characters in a way I never thought was possible. I actually got emotional towards the end when Joel sees Ellie unconscious because I thought for sure that she was already dead. This game messed with my emotions and made me realize that not all games have to be like Call of Duty or Battlefield, where the main focus of those games is the multiplayer. Games could really tell a story that would have me wondering what would happen next, where would these characters go and how would they change as they got older. I still find myself thinking about this game from time to time and looking back on just how good it was overall and I must say, I am highly excited to play The Last of Us Part II when it releases.
What games have had an impact on you? Have they caused you to think about them weeks after you’ve finished them? Did you go back and play it just to experience and live in that world again? I asked a couple of my fellow writers at Sick Critic what were some games that they played that had an impact on them and this is what they said:
“ Before The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I wasn’t really into gaming. I hardly played anything other than sports titles, but a lot of my friends were really into gaming, so when The Witcher 3 came out they all begged me to try it. So I did, and little did I know I would soon spend every second of free time I had over the next month playing the game. Everything about the title pulled me in: the characters, the story, the side quests and the gameplay was all so polished, that every moment felt like I was contributing to the games world, whether that was clearing a village of drowners so that the members of the village could come back and open up a shop for me to use, or taking part in easily one of the most engrossing side quests ever made – The Bloody Baron. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt changed me because, it not only opened the door and showed me just how deep and fulfilling games can be, it threw me in and locked the door behind me, and ever since my experience with the game, games have become a huge part of my life, as they offer a way to escape from a sometimes harsh reality and just enjoy yourself, or to fall in love with likeable characters such as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, or Madeline from the recent surprise hit Celeste.”
- Dakota Bayne, Writer, Sick Critic
“When you remind yourself of things that leave a lasting memory, it must be something that piques your interest. When it comes to a video game that left an impact on me, the Call of Duty franchise definitely jumps to mind.
Growing up, CoD was always a go-to game to play for me, but it was when online multiplayer came out that I really locked in to playing the franchise. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2 were the first two that I played with the online multiplayer.
Call of Duty: Black Ops was the game that, for me, really set the standard for the rest of the franchise. The introduction of the Nuketown map was incredibly done with exceptional accuracy in building a 1960’s war housing module.
Playing Black Ops after coming home from football practice was the best. It was a great way to wind down and relax, by playing some Black Ops multiplayer with all my friends online.
When you think of something that leaves a lasting impact it must be memorable. CoD: Black Ops was that and much more for me.”
- Brian Akins, Editor-in-Chief, Sick Critic
“The game that changed my perspective on video games would be Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I played this game in the sixth grade, even when my father disapproved of the gun violence. He downright threatened to throw away my PlayStation when I ran into the first encounter. Of course, I did what any gamer would do, which is stealthily play through segments of the game before he returned from school. Everything about Uncharted 2 gripped me and wouldn’t let go.
The narrative had the perfect amount of drama and humor to make me care for the characters. The visuals left me in awe, even on a 22-inch standard definition television screen. The gun combat held enough difficulty to force me to rethink my approach to each encounter after every failure. Each set piece excited me more than any video game ever did in that point. Escaping, then defeating the tank with an RPG in the Tibetan village, was incredible. The entire train sequence alone was probably the best moment in the game, especially when it ended up being the beginning of the game. The final boss fight and escape from Shambala blew me away (even though the boss fight wasn’t anything special). Don’t get me started on the multiplayer.
Reminiscing on the best moments encourages me to dust off my PlayStation 3 to experience it all over again. The game isn’t without its flaws, of course. The museum heist in the beginning was really slow. The puzzles would be considered easy Prince of Persia puzzles today and the loading screens often took longer than they should have on original hardware. All those flaws aside, the game is still stronger than what I could ask for and helped me understand the evolution of gaming. Games aren’t just games anymore. They’re experiences that are worthy for the high price of admission and offer far more content than any movie could. The jump from Jak and Daxter to Uncharted was staggering and shows Naughty Dog’s full potential in the gaming landscape.
Uncharted 2 made me a gamer. I wanted to play so many more games after finishing it. It strengthened my love for the medium to a point where it lasts forever. Uncharted 2 will always be my favorite game of all time because of the role it had in my personal history with gaming.”
- Peter Finaldi, Writer, Sick Critic
David loves to play the guitar, though not always to other peoples favorite genres. He loves to play video games and has played them for longer than he cares to admit. His Favorite games to date include The Witcher 3, Rocket League, Titanfall 2, Bioshock, Halo and a new favorite, God of War. He has always wanted to do something in the gaming industry. Since he’s no programmer (yet), writing about them and why he likes them will have to do. Feel free to follow him on Twitter for all things gaming and maybe a few things that aren’t. Currently teaching himself programming and learning UE4 to make games that he’s always wanted to play!