Christmas day in 2008 was a date dripping excitement and anticipation. A few months back a new shiny piece of hardware had made its appearance in my home: a beautiful ps3 fat, with its smooth, black shell looking as a grand piano of videogaming.
Before that, I used to create adventures and live battles through some chosen hero’s eyes in Sierra’s Empire Earth, and sometimes I shuffled through a bag of games for ps1 that a friend lent to me.
I have to say though, that even with what looked as an outer-world super-computer in the living room, before that Christmas I considered Empire Earth running on a crappy pc as the closest realization to my dream of living adventures that I was only able to find in books. I loved videogames but The lord of the rings, Harry Potter and many others, were the only gates I had found leading to such bright, vivid and full worlds.
So, after the hysterical rush to the tree, I unpacked three videogames that morning and, alongside Resistance and Little Big Planet, a rather odd cover struck my eyes. I knew what the other two were, but this third one was cryptic, it said nothing about the game except the title, and it looked a little intimidating (at first I thought it was a horror game).
I had some time before we left home for Christmas lunch, so I decided to try that… Oblivion, was the title.
The game began, and after the creation of a character whose goal and skills were unknown to me, I followed the tutorial with a very little understanding of what was happening.
What the game was about stayed obscure to me until the very end of the prison escape, when I came out of the sewers to enter in the real world of the game: the magical Cyrodil.
I’ll always remember the realization that came then, stuck in my memories on the top of the scenery I saw, printed in my mind as the most beautiful screenshot that anyone could ever take: In front of me there were no roads surrounded by walls, no characters leading my steps, no story to follow; just a large river flowing with blue water sparkling in every direction, a derelict wooden wharf pointing to a white ethereal ruin embedded with magic on the other shore, a green field vanishing in a shadowy forest, and the hazed mountains behind.
I honestly thought it had to be some downside, it couldn’t be what I so much hoped for… but it didn’t have any, it was a fantastic land sprung out of a book that I could explore, see, and live.
That was the day I saw how a videogame could spill my imagination on a screen like colors on a canvas, and how a world with all its inhabitants floating in my head could be made real. The day a quest sprung on the corner of my screen, giving a direction to my extremely open-worldly life.
I have to admit that the idea of game designing as a career wasn’t born until a few months back from now, contrary to my eagerness for creating experiences. In fact, I believe it was the destination to a natural path that, since when I was a child, led me through the research of different ways of delivering emotions through the simple, primordial, godly process of creation. From narrative writing as a child to the more recent experience in music, I always saw the conception and realization of ideas as the ultimate goal in my life.
Videogames have been a constant for me since a tender age, and I guess I needed time to finally realize that, if well-made, they really are solidificated experiences able to cause and evoke feelings and emotions in those who play.
I sure am going to tell a story, a lot of them, in fact.
Drawn in pixels, written in code.