Role Playing Games were my first love when it came to computer gaming in general.
The first one I really remember was Shining in the Darkness, which I played on the Sega Mega Drive. I wasn’t that great at it back then, though. I didn’t realise that I would have to work to level up my characters and such. In fact, my Dad used to sit up late at night, reading a book after I had been sent to bed, and walk up and down a corridor in the labyrinth, dutifully killing as many enemies as possible for me, so that upon my return to the game the next day I could progress thanks to the extra levels he had gained for me. Thanks, Daddy!
Shining in the Darkness did teach me the value of levelling up. It also taught me how to draw out a map – a map which Dad and I worked on together until he found a book in a local bookshop that contained all the maps. Remember this was back in the days before the internet was a thing, so we all had to rely on gaming magazines or books if we wanted to get answers to things. Of course, working out the secrets for ourselves was way more fun. Even now, I will always complete a game before I even dream of googling it, just to recapture that old feeling of excitement through exploration.
Thanks to Dad’s good example to me, when I got around to playing Shining The Holy Ark, I’d gotten this levelling up gig figured out. I patiently walked around a labyrinth to level up my characters, and loved every second of it. As trite as it sounds, it’s a skill I’ve been able to take forward with me. I can easily fall into this mindset of working at a monotonous task with the aim in mind of getting better at something.
I still love RPGs even now my Dad has progressed to first person shooters, and I can generally be found playing an action based hack and slash game. I would also quite happily argue that we can learn life skills and lessons from computer games, even if they are seen as a leisure activity. Here are the things I feel I learnt through many different RPGS;
- Patience. It *is* a skill.
- Never go the obvious route.
- Exploration is rewarding.
- If at first you don’t succeed, level up to 100 and blast your way through everything.
- The Shining series of games is still awesome. Play it.