Like Anime, video games had played a big role in my life after I was introduced to it during my childhood. After some thought, I felt the need to share my experiences with video games and how it influenced me to watch Anime since these two mediums are closely related to each other. Not surprisingly, most anime fans are probably gamers as well. (Image Source)
When I watch anime, there are always some shows that make references back to popular video game culture as shown in Lucky Star, Seitokai no Ichizon, Ore no Imouto and Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai. In a way, video games and Anime industries have a very close relationship with each other as shown through anime adaptations of video games and the other way around. I always felt that both of these mediums shared a common theme of escapism and fantasy. This is why you see adaptations of visual novels/video games like Kanon, Fate/stay night, Pokémon, The Idolmaster and Utawarerumono to name a few. Although video games never give the same experience every time he or she plays the game, it still has a plot. Therefore, making an anime based off a game gives a person an idea of what the story is about and can potentially convince them to play it if they want more. Not only that, some Anime series have a game released to expand on the storyline and also, allows people to experience how it’s like in the show. The possibilities are endless.
As for me, I grew up with video games ever since my childhood and it had a strong impact on my life. I recall my father buying us a Super Nintendo as a present for Christmas. This was one of the first video game consoles my sister and I ever owned. Additionally, we got the original Gameboys. Eventually I upgraded to the Gameboy Pocket and then, the Color. The portable systems eventually got me hooked with Pokémon when I played Blue version while my sister had Red for the first time in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Since then, we got every main Pokémon game to date along with the other Nintendo consoles (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Gamecube, Wii and the 3DS), despite skipping some of the spinoff games. Aside from that, Pokémon also got me into Anime as it started airing in the late 90s. We used to record Saturday mornings and then watch them after returning from Piano lessons. We eventually stopped as the dub cast changed and I lost interest in watching the show, thus I just focused my efforts on the games.
Sometime in 2004, we got introduced to the Sony Playstation 2. Although I didn’t play many games on it until the Playstation 3, my sister started getting into the Kingdom Hearts series. It’s not until I got the Playstation 3 with backwards compatibility I started playing more games on the Sony consoles. This is where I got hooked on the Final Fantasy series (VII, X and XII) along with other JRPGs like Eternal Sonata. Not only that, it opened a door to other games that only got released in Japan. Unlike other consoles, Sony’s Playstation 3, Playstation Portable and the Vita are the only ones that have no region locks. With that, it eventually motivated me to learn Japanese and enabled me to play The Idolmaster 2, a game that Namco never intends to release outside of Japan and it was a very enjoyable game. Like Nintendo, Sony’s Playstation also influenced my gaming hobby as it opened a different library of games not available on the former.
Fast-forward to the present, my view on video games has not changed since I still view myself as a hardcore gamer. When I’m on break (college not in session), I usually spend my free time trying to beat a game and become better at it. For me, the immersive experience is important since it provides a sense of enjoyment, just like with Anime. This is true when I’m playing a game on any console or PC. However, it’s the opposite with the increasing trend of smartphone gaming.
If you haven’t seen my numerous rants on Twitter and my side blog, the mainstream media and naysayers who keep putting down Nintendo and Sony have increasingly enraged me. They saying that these companies should “give up” their console business and publish games for the iPhone or Android because everyone’s doing it. This really got my blood boiling because they do not understand gaming at all. Not only that, I have tried out games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope and it’s utter garbage since I got bored within three minutes of playing it. The main problem with these games is not only for the awfully boring gameplay along with the lack physical controls, it can never provide the same experience real video games provides. Although simple games like visual novels will do fine on such a platform because it doesn’t require physical controls, I feel that the only things that can provide the best gameplay experience is handheld/regular consoles and the computer with everything else providing a subpar experience. To make matters worse, most mobile games are rushed, rip-offs, clones, have poor gameplay and/or something that’s not worth playing in the long-term. To me, mobile gaming is the fast food of poor quality games and I won’t be surprised if the mobile gaming market crashes in a few years like it did in 1983 for the same exact reasons.
Looking ahead to the future, my relationship with Anime and Video Games is not likely to change since both are closely related and both are one of my favorite hobbies. When I get better at Japanese, it’s only going to open a door to other games I never heard of. Additionally, Anime can potentially motivate me to play the original games if something about them interests me.
Aside from that, I leave you with this question: How does video games influence how you look at anime and vice versa?