Friday, February 29, 2008

Makes Me Want My Game

I needed some mostly fast-paced music to background my early morning overtime today. I picked my rather vast playlist of Final Fantasy mp3's (128 tracks, actually). Most of that is fast-paced gaming music; that keeps me working at a good speed. Thankfully, I'm doing work that I don't have to really think about.

Among those 128 tracks is the complete soundtrack to Final Fantasy IV (it was released as Final Fantasy II in the US, who remembers SNES?), with songs in game order. Listening to it is almost like re-experiencing the game. I just got to the grand finale song; and I almost feel like I did when my brother and I first beat the game. We had just won an epic game that took more than a full twenty-four hour day to play (over several days, of course)! This was momentous for my brother and I and, even though this was not a two player game, it was a triumph for both of us (but especially for me, as this had the honor of being the first game that I beat before my brother did). I say it was a triumph for both of us because we gamed together. If he was playing, I was watching. If I was playing, he was watching. I suppose both of us have that unique ability to enjoy watching an entertaining game as much as playing it.

A few games later, we got our hands on a game called Secret of Mana. This was a fabulous RPG, compounded by the fact that the two of us could manipulate the three characters together. The only thing better than watching my brother play a game is playing with him. This was a game that we truly played and beat together. One day, I'll find the soundtrack to that and relive that gaming triumph via my mp3 player too.

This ability to enjoy watching my brother play (and vice versa) transferred into EverQuest too, interspersed with being able to play together while I was at college. At least, until that glorious day when we got high speed cable internet and could finally play together all the time. EverQuest isn't the kind of game you can beat, but we had momentous in-game occasions nonetheless.

Sometimes, I miss that I don't game with my brother anymore. (I don't game much anymore at all, it's even been some time since I logged into Guild Wars.) I've long been a believer of the educational power of video games. They can teach hand-eye coordination, problem solving, strategy, careful planning, improve reflexes, and, perhaps most importantly, provide valuable sibling bonding time.

Really, more than missing gaming time with my brother, I find myself just missing my brother. Neither of us makes the three hour, two hundred mile trip to see each other very often.

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