When I occasionally look through a photo album with my parents – typically it'll be around the holiday season – there's always one picture that makes me smile. I'm about five or six, my arms are stretched out as far as they can be holding one of my gifts from Christmas: a Nintendo Entertainment System, the Action Set which came with Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and a Nintendo Zapper. Over 20 years later, I'm still playing Super Mario games and have even managed to keep the original NES box in decent condition.
As I grew up I eventually found myself gravitating towards RPGs but never fully immersing myself into the genre. I rented Earthbound and could not figure out how to advance beyond Onett, the first town. It was and still is a fairly strange game: A rolling health meter, a bee which divulges a prophecy detailing your future, and psychic powers instead of magic. Most importantly to me, however, was that the player assumes the role of a young boy who starts out as weak and in desperate need of guidance in this alien riddled parody of North American culture. As you progress in the game, the boy develops into someone who could be relied upon by his party members, literally defeat his own inner demons, and becomes that legendary figure in the bee's prophecy. I don't know why, but Itoi's tale of Ness latched onto my psyche and has never let go. I've loved RPGs ever since.
Outside of games, I read. A lot. I'm incredibly interested in the layers found within narratives, and this really developed throughout my time in college as an English major. My love and adoration for video games never left, though at points during my teens and early adulthood I did spend less time inserting myself into the Super Marios, the Final Fantasys, the Wild ARMs, and the Dragon Quests which occupied me for hours and hours as a child. Now I read texts and books on other gamers' experiences with evolving nature of gaming narratives and developing theories upon gaming narrative mechanics. I read to such a degree that I consider returning to school to similarly engage in these readings, to begin researching my own particular delights in an academic setting – academia being another major pleasure in my life.
I'm an avid gamer. I believe games have a unique ability that other mediums do not have in that because they are interactive they can truly allow for deeper, more richly understood narratives than other mediums do at times. I was pretty much born into gaming, and I can't imagine ever stopping gaming completely. And I'm a dork, and want to have all the information and knowledge possible stuffed into my brain on the subject. Itoi's story of Ness and the world of Eagleland in Earthbound fired off a bunch of neurons in my head, and got me hooked into gaming.
I'm incredibly happy to be writing about RPGs with RPGFan, a website I've been following for years. It's pretty awesome. My teen self would be pretty stoked about this turn of events.