I blame Dmytry. Seriously, it’s entirely his fault that not only have I spent more time than is right or reasonable playing epically long and involved games, but for the first time in my life I am actually waiting in anticipation for a game to release. Dragon Age: Inquisition launches tomorrow and we are ready with our pre-ordered, downloaded versions.
To put this into context for you, dear readers, I have always had a healthy disdain for games, gaming and gamers in general. I prided myself on recognizing what a waste of time and grey matter they were and patted myself on the back that no one in all my years of life had ever convinced me otherwise. I would have argued that to call me a gamer would be the highest insult you could levy at me.
My parents tried to convert me years ago with a game called Myst. (I think that’s what it was called.) They felt it would play to my intelligence and creativity. Nope.
I had exes who tried with whatever game they loved at the time. It only aggravated me.
Then Dmytry came along, and I suppose given how well he knows me, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he found the exact right games to woo me into his world. It started with Trine 2, a simple game of puzzles with magical characters. We completed the game together and he went on the hunt for another one.
It has taken a long time for me to actually look forward to the launch of a game. The process wasn’t always easy. Each new game created a low level anxiety for me and I had to work my way up to it by emotionally preparing for the experience. Dmytry would research games based on what he knew I liked about playing and talk me through the process of learning them (often helping me out of tricky situations).
But slowly, I’ve come to love selective gaming. I’ve completed Diablo several times, played in Skyrim for so many hours I practically have a second life there (and several houses and a husband) and won my fair share of battles in League of Legends.
Recently, Dmytry got me hooked on Assassin’s Creed and, aside from Skyrim which is always number 1, is a close second to being my all time favorite game. I’ve almost completed the game (in under a week) and have myself half-convinced that I could actually scale any building I see in real life.
Through this process of falling in love with games, I’ve come to realize a few things. My husband is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, and one of the most creative. There’s a reason we are co-writers and our careers are forever linked. And playing story-based games with complex narratives and intricate plot lines has honed that skill in him. He learned so much about Greek mythology, history and problem solving by playing games as a child. What I’d always assumed was a waste of time, I’ve realized can actually be a tool for learning and inspiring creativity and story telling.
I know that as I’ve played games based in realistic historical landscapes or fantastical new worlds, I have been inspired, stimulated and challenged to think in new ways about writing and story telling–and this is impacting the writing of Court of Nightfall, as well as a few other fantasy projects we have in the works. I’ve also found the addictive nature of video games and the stories they involve and hope to weave that addiction into my own books and stories.
So, I guess this makes me a gamer, though I don’t really know or care much about the global culture of the gaming community. It’s enough to know that my husband and I can share this activity together and use it to fuel our own story telling.
In the meantime, I’ll just be sitting here waiting for what might be an even more exciting adventure than anything I’ve played thus far to arrive. Will Dragon Age be better than Skyrim? We shall soon find out!
What activity did you assume you’d hate but found out you loved once you tried it?