Hey, Gamers! So, this post is going up just after my birthday! I like to do something special for my birthday posts. Last year I pretty much did a reflection post on my gaming journey, which is linked here:
For this year, I wanted to keep with the same reflective pattern with a twist. Maybe I’ll do this every year, but this birthday is special to me because of Taylor Swift (Red was the first album that came out after I became a fan, and 22 was on that album) and gaming is also super special to me so in this post, I will go through 22 gaming moments/ memories that stuck with me or impacted me emotionally. Let’s go!
SPOILER WARNING FOR: THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT, LIFE IS STRANGE 2, LIFE IS STRANGE: TRUE COLORS AND PERSONA 5 STRIKERS.
Also, we all knew Persona 5 would pop up on here a lot, so don’t act surprised.
22: Getting my Xbox 360.
I believe I was 13 when this happened, and it was for Christmas. My Xbox 360 was the first console that was ‘mine’ and I wanted it because it had a tiger game with the connect and it was super cute. I had a rough relationship with my dad at this time, but we definitely used the Xbox to bond over Tomb Raider and making ourselves look foolish.
21: Finishing Life Is Strange.
I believe I have spoken about this briefly, but Life Is Strange was the first game I finished on the PlayStation (the clearly superior console). I remember feeling connected to the characters, feeling accomplished that I actually finished the game and being excited to play the prequel. Thinking back on it, it took me a ridiculously long time to finish a game I could probably now finish in a day, but I remember being so proud back then. I think I needed the confidence boost.
20: Not finishing Spider-Man.
This one is a kinda touchy subject for me. You see, I love Spider-Man. I’ve read comics, I adore him in the MCU… I really wanted to like the game, and it was so praised that for a long time I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I had a very limited repertoire of games when I tried to play Spider-Man, and hardly any of them contained combat. This meant that the combat was just a bit too difficult (for lack of a better word) for me to pick up easily. So, I decided that it wasn’t for me. And this was the first game that made me sit back and think “hey, not every game is going to be designed for me and that’s okay, I’m just not their target audience… but it’s so cool that other people get to enjoy it” and it really made me value streaming and let’s plays because I still got to experience the game that way.
19: Not being scared at Until Dawn
I am a scaredy cat. I get scared so easily it’s basically a meme at this point. But I tried Until Dawn because Josh said that the game play was similar to Life Is Strange. And I absolutely loved it. For a while, it was actually my favourite game. It was the first game I ever considered trying to Plat (and I am still yet to do this), and it was just a special thing for me because I knew I would normally be very scared at these types of games but I wasn’t. It made me think about broadening my horizons a lot… which wasn’t the best idea in terms of genre but I play a lot of different games now and I don’t know if I would have if it wasn’t for Until Dawn
18: Selecting ‘Normal’ on Persona 5.
Okay, okay, we all knew that Persona 5 was bound to make this list eventually and I am pretty proud of myself for not mentioning it already. This particular event is placed here because of the previous entry. Playing the Witcher 3 and getting somewhere in it definitely gave me the courage to select ‘normal’ when playing Persona 5, and I have not looked back since. This gave me such an increased sense of worth and it’s just a moment that will always be special to me. I wrote a post about why I never play games on easy anymore here if anyone wants to read it:
17: Trying to learn how to drive using GTA V
I didn’t want to put this one, but Josh reminded me of this… awful time in my life and uh, I can’t leave it out now. Okay, so, I’m not bad at driving… I’m just not good either. I mean, I feel like it’s other people that aren’t good. But realistically speaking, my reflexes are too slow. I think it’s something to do with my several disabilities, but regardless I know that the most convenient thing for us as a couple would be if I could drive. So I took some lessons and uh, they didn’t go well. I get overwhelmed and I’m too slow. So Josh came up with the idea that we made peddles out of like, boxes and cardboard and stuff, and I would drive in GTA so that I knew when to put the clutch in, when to accelerate etc. Just so I had a bit more practice moving my feet. Only, the issue is that I’m worse at driving in video games than I am in real life. So the steering suddenly became a bigger problem for me than the controls. So, maybe do this if you are okay at driving in games, but uh, don’t do this if you’re anything like me. Josh still makes fun of me and this was like two years ago.
16: Finding Ciri
Now, the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a game that holds a very special place in my heart for reasons that will be discussed later on in this post. I played it on easy, and it was my first ‘big’ game… so my first non-Life Is Strange game. I was instantly engrossed in this magical world and if you follow me regularly, you’ll know that The Witcher series is what helped me regain my love for reading after being diagnosed with dyslexia. But I don’t think I can possibly put into words the emotions I felt when Geralt finally found Ciri. It was just this wave of so many different emotions: happiness, relief, sadness (because I thought the game was over). I don’t think I’ll ever forget this moment, and I hope it’s as magical in the books (please no spoilers, I’m on The Tower of the Swallow).
15: Getting my first victory in Civ VI
So, here’s the thing- I love history. I adore history. I am studying history at university and am hoping to become a master of history (by taking a masters course… on history). When I first heard of this game, I was so excited. I didn’t expect to be so, very bad at it. I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong. Like, I’m stuck. But I’ve had 2 victories in my 80+ hours. Both have been culture victories (which apparently is the hardest to understand, but it’s the only one that makes sense to me) and one was with China. My first one was with China. I was so set on winning this game. I remember the game before it had literally broke. I play this on my switch and it was late game so I just assumed the AI was taking its time but after about 20 minutes, I realised that the game was broken. I was devastated, but I went into the next game with a hunger for vengeance. I did so much each turn that I felt that there was no way I could lose. Australia nearly crept up on me, though, and that only made more determined (I believe my exact words were “you cheeky f*ck”). I was so proud of myself when I finally achieved a victory that I stopped playing for a while, just in case I ruined my streak (of one victory) with a defeat… that’s what actually happened when I went back to the game a few weeks later.
14: Recognising characters in the Witcher books from the games
So, this is much more of a general thing but it’s something I still get to do and something that still makes me extremely happy. As mentioned before, I’m dyslexic and the Witcher books are the first books I’ve been interested in reading since developing a phobia of reading. It took me 3 whole years to finish the first one. I decided that I was going to start reading every night because I wasn’t sleeping great, I was staying up super late playing Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley (one more day, let me just finish this… that kinda thing that was just never ending) and I was sick a lot with headaches. I used to love reading as a kid, and when Josh and I talk about having kids, I’d like to be able to read to them. I struggle sometimes with stuttering, especially when I have to read aloud which makes reading harder because of my dyslexia and it’s just a whole mess. But I asked Josh if he would mind if I started to practice reading aloud to him because it’s never too early to practice that type of thing. He said that I could, and thus began me reading the first Witcher book… and then the second, and then by the time I got to the third, I was just reading in my head because I was too excited to be able to read slow enough to speak. But the point of this isn’t about my reading in general, it’s a very specific thing that just needed all this context. Meeting or hearing about characters that I already know about is thrilling for me. It makes me so happy.
13: Finishing Persona 5
I think we all knew that this would be on this list somewhere. Persona 5 has been my whole life for a good three years now. It actually took me a pretty long time to finish the game. I started in my first year of university and finished in my second. My second playthrough took me significantly less time. But I wanted to talk about the moment when the credits rolled, and I stared at the screen having completed what I regarded as the best game ever made. I remember shaking my head in disbelief that this game that I had absolutely hated before playing was now my favourite thing. I don’t think I was okay for a while. I was… lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Actually, I knew I had to go back to playing The Witcher 3… I did that for about an hour before starting my second playthrough of Persona 5. I felt such a strong pull to the game and the characters, and I had never felt that before. I felt so lost when I was not playing it, and the ending was so impactful. I longed for more while still being content with the way it ended, which is an unusual feeling for me as I’m one of those people who either avoids things ending because they love it or just needs a conclusion. It felt… peaceful. I felt content and lost at the same time, which is why I just had to play it again. I remember when I was playing The Witcher 3, all I could think of was Joker and the gang. It was a beautiful ending to an equally beautiful game, and all of my emotions matched that.
12: Detroit: Become Human being so sensory involved as I was in the process of getting diagnosed as Autistic.
I’ve said this a lot but Detroit: Become Human was, for me, the best example of right game, right time. I played this after the pandemic started, I believe, which was when I slowly stopped masking (which is a term used by the autistic community to mean acting like neurotypicals). This eventually led to me having some sensory issues, especially with sounds, and us working out that I was probably Autistic. I was playing this game throughout the whole process and I adored it. I’ve used this phrase a few times, but it made my autism happy (which means it satisfied my sensory needs). The only part I struggled with was the chapter when Markus is in the junk place. The sound on that caused me to have a sensory overload, which I was finally able to identify because of the situation and therefore when I was able to look back on major events in my past, I was able to identify sensory overloads instead of just labelling it as a panic attack.
11: Finishing the final chapter of Yakuza 0 without dying.
Okay, in hindsight this isn’t a great achievement… but it was probably the biggest moment I’ve had in gaming that made me feel like a boss. I felt so powerful, it was like I could conquer anything. I don’t think I’ve been able to match this feeling since then.
10: Getting my social stats up to Rank 5 before Josh did it
I really try not to be competitive with Josh when it comes to gaming because he has way more experience than I do, but wow did this feel good. Josh started playing Persona 5 before me; he was actually on New Game + when I started playing. But if you know me now, you know that Persona 5 is my favourite thing and my social stats was something I heavily focussed on during my first playthrough (probably because of my lack of real life social stats). I was so proud of myself for getting the full star before Josh did. It made me feel like maybe one day, I could be as good as he is.
9: The ending of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
I really wanted to play Brothers for the longest time because the concept fascinated me. I was put off by the lack of dialogue, though, so I waited a few years. I finally got it on the Switch when it was on sale. I finished it in two nights (I used to play the Switch before bed; I read now), and I sobbed. Actual tears. I believe Josh was playing a yakuza game at the time, and he put his headphones on because I got mad at him because the people speaking in the game was distracting me from the music of Brothers. He literally heard me through his headphones. It hit me like a brick. I don’t know how I went so long without getting the ending spoiled for me when I was so interested in the game, but Josh knew that it was coming and he was prepared for my tears. I had a headache the next day from crying so much. I wrote a post about this game because it changed my perspective on non-dialogue games, so it’s here if you want to read it:
8: Pulling an all-nighter to play The Witcher 3
As I said previously, The Witcher 3 was the first ‘big’ game that I played. For a while, it was pretty overwhelming. Soon after, though, I was fully emersed. It was definitely the game that made me realise how immersive gaming can be, how vast and magical it can be. I pulled my first all-nighter playing video games for The Witcher 3. I remember Josh being asleep and I just couldn’t fall asleep so I thought ‘you know what? Josh plays games when he can’t get to sleep and I can’t stop thinking of this game so I’m going to do that too’. I think part of me was hoping that if I played it a little more, my brain would be able to stop thinking about it and shut off. 6 hours went by, Josh woke up and he seemed to be in awe that I had just stayed up playing The Witcher 3 for most of the time he was asleep. I remember that it wasn’t exactly 6 hours, it was like 5:52 and he was like ‘if you keep playing until 6 hours, you’ll officially be a real gamer’ so I did… my mum surprised us with a visit that day, which was stressful because I had no sleep.
7: Playing Persona 5 Strikers on stream
Persona 5 Strikers was the first ‘new’ game I ever streamed on Twitch. It was a pretty big deal to me. I knew I would make my autistic happy noises and that I would probably slap my face in excitement, but I still wanted to stream it. I wanted to share my excitement and joy with the world, and I am still so happy that I felt confidant enough as a gamer to do this. Before this, I always wanted to play through the games first so that I knew I wouldn’t struggle with the controls. I was particularly worried about the controls of Strikers, because a reason I loved vanilla and royal so much is because I didn’t feel rushed. But I did it. And I am so thankful that I have those videos as memories because it is pure happiness, and I can share that with people.
6: Starting my Persona 5 Royal: AI Takeover
For those who don’t know, I stream over on Twitch. It’s linked on my homepage. But a while ago, I started a run of Persona 5 Royal because it’s my favourite game. I wanted to make it special, though, and I was thinking about Persona 5 Strikers and Persona 3 because I had just finished my Strikers run and was planning on playing 3 on stream (but cannot because of the PS3 block thing). And then it hit me- imagine only having control over Joker! So you can’t control any of your party, just like in Persona 3. This is my first ‘challenge’ run and for a while, the only challenge was SP preservation. And then boss fights happened and it became painful. It’s so frustrating when you can’t do what you want to do with your whole party. But that’s the fun of it! I’m just about to do Kaneshiro’s boss fight, and I’m determined that we can get through this! I am a little worried about the last few fights because so far, my strategy has been to go in overlevelled. But the fact that I was confidant enough to even try some kind of challenge in this game speaks volumes to me. It made me willing to try different approaches, which is something I’ve never done. I always usually stick with the same Personas, and I can’t do that now. I need to have one of each element because there’s no saying that someone (Morgana) wont use their element (wind. Morgana wont use wind. Ever). It’s really helped me open up my mind, and I love that my favourite game can still help me grow as a gamer.
5: Playing Life Is Strange: True Colors as an over empathetic autistic person
I have spent my whole life feeling things I didn’t understand. Getting my autism diagnosis kind of explained why that was. I did a bunch of research before that, and found out that Autism looks different in girls. For example, a lot of autistic girls are over empaths. I am one of those. So when I was playing Life Is Strange: True Colors, I related to Alex so much. Not understanding why people are feeling the way they’re feeling, but still feeling what they’re feeling is something that has always been a struggle for me. But this game handles it beautifully, and it was just- wonderful. This game had me sobbing, and for once I understood why because Alex had to go through the motions of working it out herself. She had to piece the puzzle together so she clearly knew what was going on, and that’s always been something I’ve struggled with and I hardly ever see it laid out so clearly. This game is overall a beautiful experience, but I feel like I was in a special position where I really related to Alex on a different level.
4: Mushroom’s death in Life Is Strange 2
This impacted me more than any other death in a video game. For those who don’t know me personally, when I was 17, my dad got me a puppy. Her name was Thalia and I loved her more than I loved anything or anyone. She was mischievous, wonderful and loving. She was spoiled with love… and treats. She was the runt so she was so tiny. After about 5 months, she got real sick real quick. After the vets performed an unnecessary operation on her, we took her elsewhere to find the actual problem. They said she needed another operation, and that she probably wouldn’t survive it. She was in pain. So we decided to put her down. It was the worst experience of my life, and I miss her each and every day (and that’s not an exaggeration). For the longest time, I didn’t want another dog. I’ve actually got a tattoo for her as a reminder of how loved she made me feel. Knowing all of that, you’d probably understand the impact that Mushroom’s death had on me. I was actually streaming the game (on YouTube) when it happened, so there’s a video of it but it’s genuinely so sad that I just can’t watch it. I love this game, so, so much but I can’t put myself through that again knowing that it was unavoidable. I remember Josh spending so long trying to work out if there was something I could’ve done to save Mushroom because I was so, so upset.
3: Jed being the bad guy in Life Is Strange: True Colors
I like to think that I’ve played a lot of games (although the repetition of this list may argue against that…), so I’ve experienced many plot twists. Did not expect this one though. I think, for the first time ever, it genuinely shocked me. It felt like a huge slap in the face, to be honest. I sat there trying to comprehend what the hell had happened for… a good while. Probably way too long. I- I’m still not over this, clearly. It was just “oh yay Jed wants to see m- WHAT”. Such a shock. If you haven’t played this game already and you’re just reading this for the sake of it, just know that this was so big. It would be like if Sojiro turned out to be an undercover cop or something. Yeah, that big. They even kinda look alike so it fits perfectly. I’m really not over this and it’s been nearly a full month.
2: Pre-ordering the Phantom Thieves Edition of Persona 5 Royal
I know you know by now that Persona 5 Royal is my favourite game. But before it came out, just regular ol’ Persona 5 was my favourite thing in the universe. I was waiting and waiting for the release date for Royal, just like many others, and I had knots in my stomach. I was so anxious. And then the collectors edition was only £80?! I was so happy. This was the first game that I ever pre-ordered, and it meant so much to me. Josh actually made a little tressure hunt for me and put a box together, it was super cute. My point is, this game coming out meant the world to me. It showed up a whole day late, but when it got here… oh boy I felt sick. I remember having a panic attack the night before because what if it wasn’t good? What if they changed so much that I hated it because I don’t generally like change? Of course, in hindsight, looking back on it, a lot of my fears were due to being autistic and that’s super interesting for me to think about. I remember just staring at this game in my hands, wondering if it was going to be okay. I had looked forward to this moment for so long, I had a meltdown at the thought of not being able to get the Phantom Thieves edition, my fiancé had put in so much effort to make this day special for me… what if it wasn’t everything I had hoped? And then I played it. It was the second best experience of my life so far (the first being getting engaged, because that was super cute).
1: Learning to love Zenkichi
This is embarrassing. Gosh, this is so embarrassing. There’s videos of the streams that I did of Persona 5 Strikers. I am too embarrassed to watch them for this reason. When I tell you that I thought I broke my hand because I punched my desk out of anger over the Phantom Thieves trusting this man… guys, it was bad. I legitimately lost my voice by screaming about how much I hated this man. I- I don’t even have a good reason. Just because he was a cop and that the group had previous bad experiences with the police. I just didn’t trust him, and that turned into anger. I’ve expressed how much the group means to me, and the fact that they were falling for his trap because it was obvious he was a bad guy… oh guys it’s so embarrassing. I can’t remember when I started to like him, but it was before he joined the group. I think it may have been when we met Akane because that girl is awesome so clearly her father can’t be as awful as I thought. When the game ended, he was one of my favourite characters. I didn’t like using him, but I adored his story. I actually knew of his Persona before because I’m a big musical theatre fan and Les Mis was my favourite for a long time, and then I read bits and pieces of it for my uni course. It was cool that I was able to point out little details and similarities between the characters. I think my relationship with Zenkichi went down the exact same path as my relationship with Persona 5: I hated it at first, but after spending more time on it and actually giving it a decent chance, I came to appreciate it for what it is and love it.
So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I apologise for my lack of posting, I was set that this would be the next post to go up and it took way longer than I thought it would. The next post should be the November Gaming Progress post, so that’ll be up soon. Are there any moments I’ve mentioned previously that you’re shocked that they’re not on this list? What would your list look like? Let me know in the comments section! If you liked this post, give it a ‘like’, follow this blog for more gaming content like this and check out 2nerds_1game on Twitch, where Josh and I try to stream daily. See you next post, Gamers!