RockPaperShotgun recently started a column where they ask readers about different topics. Given my goal to blog more frequently I figured this would be a nice little exercise for a quick post when I don't have time to go in-depth. I actually have quite a few topics I want to write on as of late but don't have the time to expend real effort on them. Still, that's a nicer change of pace than never knowing what to write!

Anyways today's prompt asks the question: what was the first game that really grabbed you and dominated your life?

This was interesting and surprisingly difficult for me to think about because I started playing games when I was four and, given I had a significantly larger amount of free time back then, I can think of quite a few that dominated that free time. Pouring over the guidebook to Ocarina of Time and collecting Pokémon cards probably count, right? So does perusing page after page of Shadow of the Colossus theory posts on the GameFAQs forums.

These are all true, but on further introspection I could think of one game in particular that I would say dominated my life, in the sense that it sort of shifted the axis of how I engage with art.

Okami came out in 2006 on the Playstation 2 and it was kind of a big deal for me. I was excited for it because of its vivid art and great music and the fact that IGN compared it to Zelda a lot. I devoured it in a few weeks - even with the free time I had as a kid, that game is gigantic, especially if you're trying to do everything. And to say that I loved it would be the understatement of the century. Okami remains one of my favorite games of all time. I'm sure there's criticism one could levy at it, but my nostalgia goggles blind me to them.

Up to this point, games that I was obsessed with led to me consuming as much content as I could about them. Okami was different. I cared so much about this game that I wanted other people to know how I felt about it.

So I did! Back then I loved video reviews because I wanted to take in as much footage of games as I could - especially given the fact that I didn't have the money to play most of them. So I downloaded a bunch of existing clips from IGN and GameTrailers, booted up Windows Movie Maker, and narrated over them using a script I wrote in my dinky spiral notebook. I would have been about 12 when I did that. The method back then was to rigidly separate reviews  into GRAPHICS / AUDIO / STORY / GAMEPLAY, and that's exactly how I did it. I'm sure my critique was absolutely fire, the likes of which would be accepted by Waypoint in 2023.

Jokes aside, this was a big moment for me. You can trace a direct line from Okami's release to pretty much everything I do now, from streaming games to writing about them on this blog. That's either super cool or a terrible thing, depending on who you are. I even tried to get onto the path of becoming a video game journalist but thank god I dodged that bullet!

Anyways now it's your turn! What's the first game you played that got you into its clutches? Let me know!