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Peering Into the Life of an Everyday Gamer – It’s all about a ‘Solid Story’

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Being a gamer can be a blessing and curse. On the one hand, you have a whole world of endless video games under a vast amount of genres and subgenres.

It’s the perfect outlet if you need to unleash your frustrations on creepy monsters or if you seek relaxation as you build the ideal island with your favorite villagers. But on the other hand, life can get in the way. It’s difficult to find others, even a life partner, who truly understands your passion for gaming. 

Read: Top 25 Anime Openings to Let Out Your Inner Otaku

Lucky for my husband, I love gaming, albeit casually. Through him, I unlocked a whole new world of geekdom and it’s a different experience being able to game beside someone who has an affinity for the hobby. It’s why I decided to sit down and have a discussion about his journey in discovering his love for video games as well his thoughts on the gaming world in general. This is that discussion. 

NERD INITIATIVE: First of all, let’s get you introduced. Tell us how you got into gaming, the first game you ever played, the consoles you’ve played, and your favorite games of all-time. 

Hi! My name is Nelvin. I started playing video games at a very early age, back with the Sega Genesis where I played an old classic, Streets of Rage. I feel like that game in particular sparked my love of fighting and side-scroller games.

From there, I moved to the PlayStation and have been with each generation of the PlayStation ever since, even now with the PS5. But I’ve also played on a lot of handheld consoles as well, my first being the Nintendo Gameboy Advance. I keep my Nintendo Switch close to the chest now for easy access to gaming. 

If I had to give just my top three favorite video games of all time, in no particular order, I have to start off with Naughty Dog’s Last of Us. For me, it’s the message it sends to the players. There’s a family dynamic that occurs when we see these two strangers meet. And when you see the journey [Joel and Ellie] go through, despite only having just met, we see how much they’re willing to do for each other and what they end up meaning to each other. 

Without hesitation, I have to put Metal Gear Solid IV. If you’ve ever grown up playing the Metal Gear series, even the handheld games, there’s a story being told that are independent of each other. It’s not until Metal Gear Solid IV that it starts to come together as one whole game and everything that’s happened in the previous games finally pays off. 

Finally, I have to include Metroid Prime 2. As fun as the original is with its tools and exploration, there’s no sense of danger throughout the game. In Metroid Prime 2, however, resource management becomes a big aspect of the game. As a result, it forces the player to be more aware of what they’re doing and what’s going on before jumping the gun. But more than that, at its core, it’s about space exploration and the dangers of the worlds you visit, to where every boss battle makes you feel so small in such a spacious universe. 

It feels like the type of game you lean toward most are the ones that make you nostalgic of your childhood, or those that involve a legitimate threat or danger as you’re playing through them. 

Yeah, because I like to consider games that make you think and give you a solid story. I mean, you can play a first person shooter game and enjoy it. And some people, you know, they enjoy games like that. But for me, when it starts to feel a little too mindless, there’s no joy that comes from it. You’re just doing the same thing over and over again. For me, I like to have a good story tied into the game I’m playing to give it depth. It’s not emotional or wrecking my heart, what’s the point? I just want to feel something when I play these games. 

Being connected emotionally to video games is what it’s all about. And you’ve been connected to video games practically your entire life. With that in mind, what is the best part about gaming? 

I think the best part about gaming is when you overcome a struggle in a game. Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of the “Souls” games, you know, Bloodborne, Elden Ring, Demon Souls. Those games have proven that they can be a struggle, especially when it takes me 20 attempts to beat a late-game boss in Bloodborne! The other day, I couldn’t even be bothered to play Elden Ring after seeing the “YOU DIED” banner 3 times in a row within the span of 5 minutes. 

That’s not to say these are the only games that make you struggle. I’ve played both Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West, and those games have creatures that are so massive, and so much larger than life. You just end up just spending all this time trying to take them all out. It’s the games that push you to the point where you know you can’t win on your first attempt. Those are the most enjoyable when you get a sense of accomplishment in overcoming the obstacles. 

I guess it’d be accurate to say you enjoy the more difficult aspects of gaming! If that’s the case, what do you think is the most difficult or challenging part about gaming?

I don’t know if this counts but if I have to pinpoint the most challenging part about gaming, it’s knowing whether or not to come back to a game. A lot of developers will make these amazing games and then they come back with an update or a DLC.

So then I have to make the decision on whether or not I want to come back. Sometimes the games are boring! So I have to think, do I really want to go back? Do I want to spend the extra money? And that’s how it was with this DLC that came out years ago for Horizon Zero Dawn. I bought it, downloaded it, played it, and yet, I have no memory of the game. 

Let’s get to a difficult question. If you could choose one fighting game to play for the rest of your life, which would it be?

I think normally for others, it would be a difficult question. For me, it’s so much more straightforward. It boils down to specific games that I grew up playing all my life, games that I found that are pieces of who I am now.

For example, there’s Mortal Kombat which I’ve played all my life. If we had the time, I would give you the entire lore of every single character and the whole story of Mortal Kombat. If there’s a fun detail about that series, there’s a high chance I already know it! 

I’ve also been enjoying Japanese arcade fighting games like Guilty Gear and Tekken. I’ve spent time experimenting with characters that tend to fall on the more edgy side but also fit my style of fighting as well. 

But to answer the question, I have to go with Soul Calibur. It’s the game I feel the most skilled in compared to other fighting games I’ve played. If I have to pick one game to play forever, I’d like to at least be good at it! Not to mention, it has the ultimate edge lord character that I main: Nightmare. Also, just a fun fact: Soul Calibur’s first game was actually called Soul Blade and it’s impossible to get your hands on it. 

Let’s get your creative juices flowing now. If you were in charge of pitching or creating your very own video game, what would it be like? What style or genre would you choose to go with, who would you cast to voice your characters, what developer would you go through?

One thing I’ve come to notice is that I enjoy Japanese RPG’s a lot more than western style games, like action or adventure. With a lot Asian developers in general, they offer something unique and different with each game unlike a lot of western developers where it’s a cookie-cutter formula.

As far as genre goes, I’d love to do something along the lines of cosmic horror which is a style of game you don’t see often. Bloodborne is probably the biggest example where you’re put in an element so different than you’re used to and there’s different levels of horror thrown at you. 

I would love to have a collaboration between Naughty Dog and Square Enix if I were to make a JRPG-style game. But if that’s the case, I would need Nolan North to be in my game. His voice is just so versatile, that he can be anybody he wants. He could play three different characters in my game and no one would know! 

A big feature I see in a lot of games that originate from Asia is the ability to customize your character to your heart’s content. That’s something I’d have to incorporate in my game whether it’s how your character looks, how they dress, their weapons, or even their skills. I like having a character that I can play that looks exactly how I’d want to look if I lived in the game. It’s one of the best feelings when you’re able to incorporate who you are into the character you play that exists in a whole different world. 

Now, we all know streaming is a big aspect of the video game universe. Who is your favorite streamer or creator, and why?

The streamer I’ve grown to love the most is Jacksepticeye. I love his personality and he seems like such a good and positive person. You see his positivity in all of his content whether he’s doing his Let’s Play videos on YouTube or if he’s streaming live. 

And I’ve watched the majority if not all of the games he’s played on YouTube. One of my favorites is actually Sally Face and aside from having a really good story, it’s sentimental because you and I watched him play it together. 

But the game that anyone who’s ever watched Jack would know of is Happy Wheels. Around the time he started playing Happy Wheels, he was a little more well-known as a streamer. At one point, he actually searched the “Create Your Own Level” category to see if his name would pop up in any of the levels but no results came up. It wasn’t till he got to, what? A million subscribers that there were levels created and dedicated specifically to Jacksepticeye, that’s when we knew he’d made it! 

I do, however, enjoy that he plays a lot of indie games, one of the biggest being Undertale, which is in the style of 8-bit. Even though there’s no voice overs aside from Jack giving his own voice to each character, the game hits you in the feels. 

You are definitely a huge Jacksepticeye fan and I love that you have someone to guide you into a positive mentality. While we’re on the topic of streaming, would you ever consider streaming? Or are you perhaps on the road to doing so?

Absolutely, yeah! I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I would love to just start streaming on YouTube and Twitch. It’d be nice to start being on a platform and show the world how I play video games. I know I’m not even close to being the greatest gamer in the world. But I feel like I’ve always played video games differently. 

I tend to see a game through the eyes of a developer in terms of how they’d expect us to play, and it impacts the choices I make. It’s a big reason why I have no issue doing side quests that others might see as unnecessary. I want to always make sure I hit every nook and cranny possible in case I can’t go back to a certain location. Again, it just goes back to the fact that I try to think like a developer. So, it’d be interesting to show my perspective of gaming and the choices I make along the way. 

So because you’re familiar with the gaming community, you know it can be good but it can also be bad. What are your thoughts on the community and current climate of it all?

I really feel like it varies where you go in the gaming community. Everyone knows it can be toxic, negative, and hurtful. It can feel that way just being around the community or having the smallest interactions with people. But that doesn’t mean everyone is like that and there are definitely positive people out there who do like to have fun and be inclusive. When you find that niche group of people, it’s then that a person can have the most amount of fun. It can happen for any gaming community, dare I say it, even the League of Legends community! 

It can be hard because you could run into a group of gamers who say things like, “Get good, scrub” or “No newbies allowed”, and it just becomes disheartening. Like the DLC just came out, how do you expect me to be good at the game? But really, it comes down to finding that group of people that welcomes you and is fun to be around.

Do you think the community has the capacity to change or do you think people will just have to find that bubble of people that will accept them in order to spread positivity?

It sounds weird but I think the gaming community has the ability to change and that is based on the actions of the community itself. It goes back to what you said, finding that bubble of people. But the thing is, if the bubble of positivity you are a part of makes enough noise, it can impact other surrounding bubbles and change the mentality of the community. At the end of the day, there’s more of us than there are of them and we have to keep making noise to prove that. 

That’s totally fair! We say that a lot about the Marvel and Star Wars fandoms because as toxic as they can be, there are always more positive fans like you and I than there are of them. So to close out this wonderful conversation with you, here’s my last question for you. For those who want to get into gaming but are uncertain or feel like they wouldn’t be good at it or maybe it won’t turn out to be for them, what words of advice or encouragement would you want to give them?

Just give it a try! There’s plenty of games out there for everyone. Even for anybody who is super casual! I mean, you were actually the one who got me into Animal Crossing: New Horizons which is super casual. And like, for me it was one of those cases where I got into it. It was cool. But then [unexpectedly] I really got into it. Next thing you know, I’m doing hybrid cross breeding of flowers and stuff, and I’m doing Nookazon trades with other people in the community. All to make this pristine island that’s so amazing to me. I’ve put in so many hours into this game to make an island perfect for me. 

So I mean, there are games out there for everyone. You will find your thing! Give it a try, and in the event you don’t like it, then that’s okay. Gaming isn’t the end-all-be-all hobby but I’m almost certain there is a game out there for you. 

Thank you so much, Nelvin, for taking the time to speak with me on behalf of Nerd Initiative! Your insight as a gamer and as a positive force within the community is always appreciated. 

You can find him on Discord as well as on Twitch very soon!

Pooja Chand
Pooja Chand
Known on other platforms as Samosas and Popcorn, Pooja is a movie enthusiast topped with sprinkles of her love for TV. She can typically be found watching anything from the latest blockbuster movie to a feel good anime, and is always ready to start the discussion on movies and TV so you don't have to.

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