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Which video game has challenged your perspective on the way you live your life and how?

The video game I credit is a role playing game called Final Fantasy 7.

The conflict of the game begins immediately. As you play the story unfolds and you learn of a corporation that is extracting 'Mako Energy' from the planet by means of giant reactors. This 'Mako Energy' is then converted into electricity that is used in the city surrounding the reactors. It is a lucrative business. As a player, you begin the game with your character being directly involved in a vigilante terrorist group; a group whose goal is to destroy these 'Mako Reactors'.
Though the character you play cares little for the goals of his group (your character's main interest is making money), you continue to be involved in these vigilante missions. As time progresses in the game (meaning you complete more story-line) your character learns that 'Mako Energy' is found in all of the creatures and plants that inhabit the game's world. When a life ends this 'Mako Energy' flows back into the planet. It is then recycled by the planet and used to create new life. You understand that the extraction of 'Mako Energy' will result in the disabling of the planet's ability to support new life, and it also means that the planet is itself a living thing (as a player you can visit a place in the game and hear the planet itself making painful noises). You learn that the corporation's president is aware of these facts and is yet still planning to progress with the extraction of 'Mako Energy'.

How did this challenge my perspective?

Growing up I had been exposed to many different ideas of accountability but only at the age of 12, with the help of this compelling story, did I seriously contemplate my role in society. I wondered what kind of character I was, and what kind of character I would like to be. The story made it clear that those who act from a source of greed were ostracized from a moral society. I decided that indifference towards suffering cannot be hidden and that greed will never be satisfied.

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  • Jan 27 2012: There are many games that have made me think about how I want to live my life. The one that springs to mind is Shadow of the Colossus. There wasn't an intricate story about good and evil. There wasn't a cast of characters brought together to fight an abominable evil. You weren't trying to save the world. In fact, you almost had no clue what it was that you were supposed to be doing. All you know is that there's a boy that's trying to save a girl and, in order to do so, must kill 16 colossi.

    Why are you doing this? Who is this girl? Who is this boy? Who is this disembodied voice that speaks to you? These colossi haven't done anything to you. And yet you are supposed to kill them and the male character deteriorates with each one he kills.

    The land is barren with just a few critters and birds to break the occasional silence. Most of the time, your horse is the only constant companion following you into battle time and time again. Navigating this unknown world presents the players with another challenge as paths diverge into valleys and forests and mountains stay in your way.

    Each colossus is a struggle with each more difficult to fight than the last. Some colossi demand a few minutes of observation and analysis before you can even begin to understand how to battle against it. After each battle, you are reminded of the price the protagonist must pay.

    The game made me think about life in general and how people's actions might not be the best judge of their character. Things in life are almost never black and white, good or evil. Sometimes people are pushed to make hard choices that may clash with society and its norms. What's important is to know who you are and be steadfast in your pursuit of whatever it is that you're chasing. Sometimes things are easy. Other times, situations require time for observation and analysis. Sometimes, it's best to not do anything at all.

    The game taught me about the gray, about things bigger than I am, and to just live my own life.
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      Jan 27 2012: Wow thankyou for that response!
    • Jan 28 2012: I have deep respect for this game. @Mike, you've put in words beautifully the subtleties I've felt while playing it.
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      Jan 28 2012: SoC was breathtakingly beautiful. Awesome pick.

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