Cassie Benter recently issued a challenge to those of the MP Creators sharing her passion for gaming to make a list of games we've encountered that mattered in one way or another. This is an answer to that challenge.
Games sometimes tell involving stories that might make us learn more about the universe in which it is set. Sometimes, it's by tipping the scale on whether to get involved in a huge well known franchise you've sworn off because you're afraid of its fans. Sometimes, it's an introduction to a darker, more bloodthirsty and lethal universe you didn't know existed. And sometimes... Sometimes it's the completionist mentality some of us have, the one that strives for achievements, for easter eggs, for every little detail. The part of the brain that despairs at the thought of missing out on tiny scraps of information about the universe they've fallen for. If you've already guessed which three games or franchises I'm talking about, get yourself a cookie. If not, scroll on down.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Fans of Star Wars scare me. Long before I'd even watched a Star Wars movie, I knew who Darth Vader was, that he was Lukes father, and that people liked dressing up as stormtroopers or slave Leias. I had a good idea of what a wookie was, and that Star Wars included something cute and cuddly called Ewoks. Then the prequels came, and Jar Jar, clones and Anakins depressing spiral of darkness didn't in any way leave a kinder impression. I'd barely been introduced to the fandom, and I was already sick of everyone in it.
Someone got me to try out Jedi Knight II, which was all fun and games until Luke Skywalker got introduced, and I rage quit. Then, that same person buggered me into trying out KOTOR, and once I did... well, let's just say that the second time I watched the original saga, I did so with more interest and understanding than the first time. Even set several thousand years before the movies, KOTOR told its story in a way that spurred me to learn more about its timeline, races, planets and story. To this day, I still cringe when I see a Slave Leia group shoot, an army of stormtroopers or yet another Darth Vader, but I do so while looking for Darth Revan cosplays, so I can't complain.
Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines
I'm a Buffy fan. As far as Vampire fiction is concerned, Buffy pretty much used to be it for me. Well, Buffy and Angel, anyway. Actually, I guess I'm more of a Joss Whedon fan in general than a fan of Buffy. But for the sake of this article, let's limit ourselves to Buffy and Angel. Anything else vampire-related was quickly discarded, but an aquaintance of mine hadn't picked up on this, and got me Bloodlines as a belated birthday present.
This game is buggy. It's filled with issues caused by a publisher that wanted that game released at a certain date, completed or not. Apparently the developers spent several unpaid days patching up the worst of the issues, but a lot remained. Still, playing the game you could see the ambition behind it. Someone poured their soul into this story, making memorable npcs, missions ranging from fast paced action, sneaky investigation and eery horror puzzles, and your choice of seven vampire variants to play as, including the beautiful manipulators of Ventrue, the ugly masters of shadow from Nosferatu and the insightful lunatics of house Malkavian. I learned two things after playing the game. It used a simplified version of the character sheets used in the pen and paper-rpg World of Darkness, and someone had made a tv-show called Kindred: the Embraced based on the same franchise. I wonder how that show might have fared on a bigger budget, and I hope someone with guts, money and hollywood clout asks the same question sometime soon.
Final Fantasy VII
FFVII isn't even my favourite game in the franchise. Heck, it doesn't even rate top three of my favourite Final Fantasy games. Still, it's an obsession. A game this big, you have to make sure every secret is uncovered, no stone unturned. So when Squarenix announced FFVII AC (Advent Children), BC (Before Crisis), CC (Crisis Core) and DC (Dirge of Cerberus), I had to cover the titles I could on the systems I had, and the movie (Advent Children) was the first and easiest to grab. I've since managed to stifle my completionist mentality some (thank you FFXIII, for not being as addicting as some of your predecessors), but I'd be lying to myself if I'd think I wouldn't run to the theater the moment a new FF movie is announced.