5 Games That Made Me Who I Am Today

I saw this meme going around Raichana’s Twitter and figured I should participate. After looking over my list, I realized that most of the games I picked are dated in the 1990s-early 2000s.

Golden Sun (Gameboy Advance, Camelot, 2001)

Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age

My most favorite game of all time is Golden Sun. In addition, it is also one of the few games that I played without any guides. Countless hours were spent figuring out the puzzles and speaking to all the non-playable characters (NPCs) as I unraveled the mysteries of alchemy alongside Issac and his friends. When Golden Sun: The Lost Age came out, I immediately played the game from beginning to end, experiencing the story from Felix’s perspective and trying to resolve the loose ends from the previous game. The battle music from both games is quite memorable and occasionally I would listen to the soundtrack for inspiration. Without Golden Sun, I probably would not have developed an interest in solving puzzles or world building.

Pokemon Red (Gameboy Color, Game Freak, 1996)

Pokemon Red

Pokemon Red was the very first video game I played. I remember during the Christmas of 1998 my gift from my parents was an aqua-colored Gameboy Color device and this game. My classmates at the time were gushing over how good Pokemon is and naturally, I begged my parents if I could get the game and play. From there, I played Blue, Yellow, Gold, and Silver. I stopped with the second generation Pokemon series, because I had no interest in purchasing a Nintendo DS at the time to play the upcoming generations. Overall, it was very memorable for me. Of all the starter Pokemon, I always favored the fire Pokemon, Charmander and Cindaquil. Of the Pokemon games I played, I enjoyed Gold/Silver the best for its interactive features, such as having your Pokemon get haircuts to raise affection or breeding Pokemon.

Final Fantasy IX (Playstation, Square, 2000)

Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX is currently the only Final Fantasy game that I completed in its entirety. It is also the game that touches on several themes of loneliness, belonging, identity, and finding one’s path. The characters themselves were quite unique and had interesting backstories. In a way, I could say that the game comforted me during the trying times of being a teenager and trying to find one’s path in life. The soundtrack is beautiful and haunting. I remember constantly re-playing the tracks: “Melodies of Life,””You’re Not Alone,” and others.

The Secret of Monkey Island (PC, Lucasarts, 1990)

The Secret of Monkey Island

“I wanna be a mighty pirate!” These were the first words that Guybrush Threepwood uttered when he arrived in Mêlée Island somewhere in the Caribbean. Everyone laughed at him but Guybrush prevailed. The story follows Guybrush as he learns the skills to become a pirate and solve puzzles. His journey eventually leads him to clash with the evil pirate, LeChuck, and discover the elusive Monkey Island. The Monkey Island series spans 5 games, in which Guybrush is thrown into unexpected situations and must resolve them with his own wits and with insult sword fighting. The game is simply enjoyable and humorous. I remember laughing out loud at the insults during the sword fights and the dialogue as Guybrush interacts with the people in the game.

Dragon Warrior III, also known as Dragon Quest III (Gameboy Color, Enix, 2001)

Dragon Warrior III

This is the game that started my interest in the Dragon Quest series. At the time, I was interested in Akira Toriyama’s works, specially the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, so I was even more surprised to see his work in this video game.While the story line was not as well-developed compared to Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen or Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, the option of choosing to be either the hero or heroine of this game makes up for that. As the hero(ine), you travel with companions of different job classes (e.g. mage, fighter, thief, jester, priest) and genders to save the world. The magic system in this game is unique. While it does not focus on primarily on the elements, there are some unique spells and abilities that only appear in this game series, such as “Zoom” and “Puff-Puff.” The other aspect of the Dragon Quest series is the colorful and friendly monsters that are in the game. It is no wonder that the slime became the universal mascot for Enix. The game play and battle system of the series has evolved over several games, but it still retains that classic charm that makes it enjoyable for people of all ages.

Honorable Mentions

Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (Gameboy Color, Capcom, 2001)

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

No list appears to be complete without a Legend of Zelda game. This was my first game from this series and I simply enjoyed this one, because of the puzzles and traveling through time to save the world of Hyrule from ruin.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter (PC, Nihon Falcom, 2006)

Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter

I am a late-comer to the Trails also known as the Kiseki series. I started playing in 2014 and thoroughly enjoyed the complex story line and intricate character relationships from the First Chapter. Naturally, I bought a copy of the Second Chapter. Once I started, I was completely blown away by how Nihon Falcom effectively ties every event, every dialogue, and every character in their masterpiece. I have yet to finish Third Chapter and plan to do so to wrap up this magnificent trilogy.

It’s your turn. What are your top 5 games that made you who you are today?