On stories. (INAUGURAL BLOG)

 

So I decided to start a blog for reviewing indie games. Hooray for me, right? Unfortunately I have to compete in a world full of big-shot publications like Kotaku, IGN, Rock Paper Shotgun etc as well as a myriad of already famous Youtubers like Markiplier and Jacksepticeye, each attracting millions of hits and impressions with each video and article they churn out. So why, you might be wondering, should I bother to throw my hat into the ring now? What’s my motivation? What could I have to offer that’s lacking in so many other content producers’ work?

Well, it’s simple.

I like to tell stories.

The way I see it, stories are the human race’s most basic currency. Our ancestors, huddled around the dying embers of a fire and fending off predators, told stories of past generations to their children for entertainment, and to pass on their knowledge. When the Mad Max-esque dystopic future comes rushing to meet us, the survivors will probably do something similar. People arrive into our lives and then leave, as is the way of things. And when they leave, the most valuable things we have left of them are the stories of their triumphs and exploits, which we indelibly supplement along the way with a little flair and pizzazz for good measure.

Stories have the power to transform people.

How often have you heard the phrase: “I read/watched/heard ________, and it completely changed my life”? It’s because there’s usually some truth to it. Stories can give us an ideal to aspire to, to become a better, more well-rounded person, even if it’s as simple as ‘try not to be like that guy’. Light triumphing over darkness, the plucky underdog winning in overtime, the girl revealing that she loved the good guy all along, they all leave a mark on us. I find the yardstick of any good story is my level of emotional response. But tales, books and movies can only go so far. When a person can literally substitute themselves into a protagonist’s shoes, thinking their thoughts, controlling their movements, reacting to their surroundings, that’s when things really get cranked up to 11. Which brings me to my last point:

The greatest medium for stories is gaming.

Downloading and playing a game has rapidly become this generation’s equivalent of popping down to the local library. In less time than it takes to boil a kettle, a character in your control could be traversing the plains of Azeroth, docking with the gleaming Citadel, or navigating Dunwall’s maze of dank alleys and sewers. By truly immersing yourself in the game’s environment and committing to the story, you can soak up an entire lifetime’s worth of knowledge in as little as an afternoon.

And so we’ve come full circle.

In short, I want to show the way for others to see how fascinating and inspiring these types of games can be, and to see to it that the games with the most powerful story-lines get the love, respect and adulation they deserve. I believe that a lot of other critics tend to get bogged down too much in terms of graphics, game mechanics, replayability etc. Don’t get me wrong, these are important, but they’re never the be-all or end-all of a good game. The stories are what we take with us and carry around.

 

Well, thanks for making it this far! To wrap up, the plan is to start reviewing my existing library of indie games, in no particular order, that I’ve amassed over the last few years. Once that’s done (fingers crossed should only take two or three months) I’ll start moving onto current releases. With that in mind, farewell, thanks again, and see you soon!

 

Zerathulu

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