I've loved video games for as long as I can remember. From the early educational games like Math Blaster to the modern masterpieces like Dragon Age: Inquisition, I just can't get enough of them. Even when many of those around me scoff and tell me I'm wasting my time with these silly games, I continue to find myself fascinated with them.
I first remember playing games on the N64, like Super Smash Bros. and 007 Goldeneye, but the first console I remember having in my house was the Nintendo Gamecube. This was when I was first introduced to one of my favorite games that I have ever played, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
There are many reasons why this game has held up over the years, but the reason I loved it so much was the adventure aspect of the game. I have always been a big fan of reading, and I would often get lost in fantasy tales of heroism and swashbuckling. In Ocarina of Time, I got to live out my fantasies. I could fight great beasts with my sword, I could ride Epona through Hyrule Field, and I could take down the evil Ganon to save Princess Zelda.
That fantasy aspect has stayed true with a lot of games since then. Another one of my favorites in the adventure genre is a much more popular game that took the world by storm: Skyrim.
While you had a clear objective from start to finish in Ocarina, Skyrim was exponentially more expansive. It was really more of an experience than just a game. You could pick up a controller, make a quick character, and explore the massive terrain in front of you. You could slay dragons, fight wars, or even build a house and get married if you purchase the downloadable content.
Another reason that I got into both The Legend of Zelda and Skyrim was the puzzle element. While games like Chivalry and Call of Duty are great for relieving stress, I really admired the complexity of those games that just made you think.
In Zelda, you had temples, caverns, and side-quests that made you use logic and comprehensive thinking skills to complete them. Skyrim gave us those whale/eagle/snake puzzles that made us study our surroundings in order to progress further.
I have always loved games that make me think through them, no I naturally loved the Portal games. From GLaDOS' sarcastic quips to the lengthy and in-depth testing chambers with companion cubes and emancipation grills, there was truly nothing to hate about the games.
I always love playing games with my friends, and although next to nothing can stand up to Magic: The Gathering, I end up playing a lot of competitive video games, among them Halo 4 and one of my personal favorites that seems to never get old, Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
Both of these games proved to be endless hours of fun. From racing to see who could grab the Energy Sword the fastest to battling it out in Helm's Deep, both games have had my friends and I screaming to each other in rage for a good long while, as games truly should.
Not all competitive games necessarily have to end with killing each other. Nintendo has supplied a huge amount of my competitive gaming in the form of Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. I have been playing both games since the Gamecube era, when I had Super Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart: Double Dash, and both games have remained alarmingly entertaining over the years.
There's nothing quite like the feeling of racing to get the Smash ball in order to clear the playing field, or yelling in rage (a lot of rage happens in gaming) whenever you get attacked with a blue shell. I still don't know why Nintendo thought it was a good idea to keep that stupid blue shell around this long, but it certainly has made for some entertaining gaming sessions.
Despite what many non-gamers might tell us, gaming does take a certain amount of skill. Take games like Splinter Cell or Dishonored for example. These stealth-oriented games can cause you to fail a mission just by being spotted, so you have to use strategic thinking and a quick trigger finger to get yourself through difficult missions.
Not to mention with games like Command and Conquer and The Battle for Middle-Earth, you are forced to control entire armies at once. Any non-experienced player could build a bunch of infantry units and send the straight to their death (like I used to), but with enough skill and strategy prowess, you can flank your enemies and revel in their destruction!
Nothing beats the feeling of sitting down and picking up a good book, unless of course you play a game like Mass Effect. When you are reading a good book, you are becoming immersed in a new world where you grow to love characters as they live out their lives.
In a game like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, you control your characters fate in this new world. The choices you make and the way you handle situations can change the outcome of not only your character, but the characters you grow close to in the games. These games are just as immersive as books, but a lot more interactive.
In Mass Effect you lead warriors to fight off an invasion of aliens that threaten to destroy not only the Earth, but humanity itself. In Dragon Age, you can sit on a throne and handle pass judgement on wrong-doers, or you can pick up a sword and wage battle with those who dare to oppose you. Either way, the stories are absolutely brilliant and are some of the high points of my gaming experience.