Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TOP Ten - The Closing Ceremonies

#1 - Samus Aran Removes Her Power Suit

The TOP Ten Memorable Moments has come full circle. I got the idea to do a TOP 10 when writing my 2-part article about Samus Aran back in April. I mentioned in that article that Samus revealing herself to be a woman surprised the world, and especially shocked my 8-year old mind. I stated it was my most memorable moment in gaming, and from that announcement this long summer project was born. I realize it’s anti-climactic, because the #1 moment was announced twice before the 4-month span of time it took to get back here, and so I’m not going to try and force any more depth or emotion on the subject of Samus. Instead I will quote my previous article for you, which was titled “My Relationship with Samus Aran.” I encourage you to read the full two-part article, if you haven’t.

The ending of Metroid is ranked #1 in most “Memorable Moments in Video Games” for me. That moment when Samus sheds the power suit and reveals for the entire world to see that she is actually a woman underneath was monumental for me. It isn’t really so much that Samus is a woman that’s important, but that I had been led to believe otherwise prior to her unveiling. In the wonderful world of 8-bit gaming, the only story you got was detailed to you in the manual itself and then you were left to your own devices to work out the plot as you progressed through the game. Most games only got a paragraph or two, but games like Legend of Zelda and Metroid got considerably more. Metroid got 8 pages of background story explaining in detail the rise of the Space Pirates and the Federation turning to their last resort, Samus Aran. I remember rushing to consult this story while keeping my eye on Samus on my TV in case she was about to do anything else equally mind blowing. Just as I had thought! It continuously refers to Samus as a man. What was Nintendo of America playing at here? Had they intentionally tried to deceive me or was this some horrible inattention to detail while translating from Japanese?

As a child, I thought it was so cool that Samus is “a girl.” It endeared her to me for reasons I couldn’t adequately express. I couldn’t articulate why it was cool in any other way than it surprised the hell out of me one fateful afternoon. I didn’t see then that it was so rare to be playing a woman rather than saving one from a castle and so the entire concept was stimulating to me. It was the first time I ever played a strong, independent female character.

Samus has always been a source of inspiration for me, and now I owe this whole project to her. It’s been a long run, and I learned a lot about myself exploring these memories. I remembered that Final Fantasy IV is what pushed me over the edge into writing and storytelling. I remembered that Final Fantasy VI is what hooked me on video game music. I came to realize fully just why Aerith’s death was so meaningful and upsetting even after all these years. Subconsciously, I must have known all this, but writing about it and bringing it out into the public has given me such a great insight on how I’ve processed video games over the years. It’s as if I can trace the impact they’ve directly played on my life, and see how they still shape me. 

This journey of self-discovery has been fascinating for me. I hope many of my readers have taken the time to think on the moments of gaming in their lives that shape and define them, based on what they’ve read in the past several blogs. This is the end of this journey through memory lane for me, however. I’ve also learned that committing myself to an 11-week (which turned out to be 16-weeks due to vacations, writing breaks, and computer malfunctions) is a huge undertaking. I look forward to returning to your regularly scheduled musings and reviews of all things related to video games.


No comments:

Post a Comment