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There are so many great writers on Backloggd. Well-crafted pieces by an incredible group of some of the most passionate people I’ve ever seen anywhere. They make amazing, thoughtful, and profound analysis for games I’ve never even heard of and give them the justice I didn’t know they needed. They are an inspiring group of people, and I feel privileged to interact with them on the Backloggd discord almost every day. I had a passion for writing once, I even went to college for it because it felt like one of the few things I was capable of doing. Since that moment in time though it feels like that passion and others have been wrung out of me. College made me hate writing and I dropped my major, after which I coasted through school like a lost balloon, no care for where the wind was taking me and just hoping that if I landed it would be somewhere safe that I could live from. I’ve been on solid ground again for some time now, but at this point in my life I’m in the middle of a job search that isn’t going so well and that’s giving me a lot of time to myself. Most of it I’ve used to think about passion, some that I’ve lost and some that I’ve been desperately clinging to.
This week I’ve been spending time with Soul Blade, the direct source of perhaps my one and only enduring passion. Soul Blade was my first fighting game, the one that means the most to me, and the reason why fighting games have outlasted anything that could have drained the joy out of the only thing in my life I’ve always loved besides my friends and my brother. I’ve been playing Soul Blade since before I was in school and despite not doing more than mashing buttons when properly playing, it never mattered. I was restarting my PS1 just to watch the intro over and over again, I was lucking my way through the arcade mode just to see the stages, hear the music, to see the characters and mimic their voices and moves because I thought it was all the coolest thing in the world. The adoration only deepened as I got older. I was getting better, I was using training mode, I was acting with intention, beating arcade modes, getting the endings, playing Edge Master mode and reading the journey of each character in it while unlocking all their weapons, all while excitedly showing it to anyone who would give me the time to do it.
Over time, since my love was so obvious for it, family was gifting me other fighting games on birthdays, Christmas, or just to see me smile at the mall. I was exposed to Tekken, King of Fighters, Street Fighter, Capcom vs SNK, Mortal Kombat, Virtua Fighter, Guilty Gear, and of course Soul Calibur. I was obsessed with them all, each had the elements of Soul Blade I loved in their own flavors. Friends often lived quite a bit of time away from each other where I grew up so outside of school most of my time was to myself. I loved plenty of games I played during that time but I always cherished the time I spent in fighting games the most of them all. There was a moment though where I sacrificed some of that time to be a part of the Call of Duty boom, fighting games just weren’t a thing people cared about around me and I was failing to use them as a way to build connections. I realized eventually that there was never any enthusiasm in me when I was playing, it was just the only means I could find to make friends with but I was a damn lucky kid because I underestimated my friends. One day I was tired of forcing myself to play multiplayer FPS games and sold every single one I had played in that three-year period for Persona 4 Arena, ready to face whatever I heard from my group when I gave them the story. Imagine the feelings I had when I realized not a single one of those lovable idiots was ever gonna abandon me and from that moment on they listened to me gush about these games that had made me into who I was.
Fighting games, Soul Blade, and my friends taught me about passion and gave me the tools I needed to use passion to mold me. Even if the world has beat me down, taken some of my joy on its way back, and left me with only what I could hold as tight as possible to my chest this genre specifically has always given me a tool I can use to prove I love something, to remind me I am capable of passion. I don’t know if my passion for writing is back yet, it feels like I might have to build it back up from zero but I know I have to thank Soul Blade again because it taught me another lesson all these years later. That my passions could return and that I’m still capable of what I was before.
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