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timber maniac


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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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    Feb 23 2012: Rune Factory (DS). This is an odd choice but I remember my first impression of the game as something quite inspiring. As someone growing up playing the Zelda series, the fundamental method of 'earning' money in games is often through killing monsters or cutting grass... But Rune Factory brings back the notion of 'farming' (i.e. a form of repetitive labour to earn money in games) to the very core - hard, honest, non-violent/destructive, patient, and productive labour of planting seeds, growing crops, and harvesting to earn a living. And this makes Rune Factory one of the games where I get the most rewarding gaming experience. One of the comments I made after playing this game is that “If all kids (or teens or young adults) play this game as part of their education, they would be so much better in managing their finance since they would understand that money is not something to be taken for granted – it’s not something that appears out of nowhere but earned by someone (parents/gradients/etc.) through work and labour.”

    Catherine (PS3). This game is truly for the mature gamers but the story is so intriguing and equally relevant. Some reviewers describe this game as a “coming-of-age” story and I think the gameplay and narrative really resonate with me as someone recently graduating from university and entering society as a ‘real human being’ (somehow I can’t help but agree with the sad and probably unfair mentality that students are not ‘real people’). It is a story about taking responsibility, about facing and overcoming the fragility of human relationships, and about commitments (either to oneself as being true to their hearts or to others as being faithful to their promises). There is no ‘correct’ ending to the story, and I think that’s the beauty of this game since it allows the gamer to discover what it is to be an adult. An eye-opening example of what the future of gaming can do in terms of narrative and gameplay.

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