You know how it is. Sometimes you just love a work of art or an inanimate object or a means of amusement so much that you want to write a gushing letter to it. This does not actually happen but we are having Love Letters week here at Gamechurch and we wanted to cap it off with an epic selection of love notes to the games that we love the most. Don’t judge us. Just last week you were saying you “love” pizza, which is pretty weird too.
Dear Kentucky Route Zero, I Want To Thank You For Making My Bourbon Taste Superb
I pause briefly before we are introduced. I take a sip. That does the trick. Let’s dance.
My character finds himself at a gas station. He finds an old dog with an old straw hat. I explore the back of his gas station. I find a group of people playing a game. This is all very self-referential. You may be a bit too clever for me. I need a drink, just to keep up. I take a sip.
Now I am curious. Really curious. The world seems to be doing something to the protagonist – something subtle, but life-altering. It’s not killing him or harming him. He’s not losing health. He’s losing certainty. Me too. Take a larger sip.
I embrace you, lean forward and stare into your eyes. I see a barn. I take a sip. Watch the barn shift and move. You are still sober, still calm.
“Take another sip,” you say, as the shadow of a bluegrass band appears. “Finish it off.”
I have fallen for you. But now, toward the end of our first date, it’s time for the night to end. I walk home, you deny resolution – just as you should. Just before walking into the darkness that is your unlit porch, you turn around and say “Go home. Have a seat. Take a drink, and think of me. Think of us.”
I did just that. I settled in, finished off my glass, and slept. It was a good sleep. This part of me will continue to sleep until I see you again, all dressed up for Act 2.
Dear Half Life 2, I Loved You Despite Our Age Difference – No, Because of Our Age Difference
Last fall, I played Dishonored. Mostly it made me miss you. You cast such a long shadow.
You were never a perfect game. You relied on old tropes, like exploding barrels, and breaking crates to get ammo. You told a strictly linear tale with non-interactive story elements.
But you dropped me off in a world so rich with detail, you hardly needed to explain anything at all. You truly took me on a hero’s journey. I was travelling through a world with such fully-realized environments, that I’ll never need to ask why we don’t go to Ravenholm anymore.
What it really came down to was this: you were the first Mature-rated game I ever played that actually made me feel mature. From the opening moments, when I felt like I could touch the lines in the face of the mysterious G-man, to the ending, full of ambiguity and mystery; and every moment in between, where conflicted and developed characters desperately banded together to defeat a common enemy, you showed one starry-eyed jr. high boy that first-person shooters could actually grow up.
Dear Deus Ex, You Showed Me The Way of Peace
In 2000, I stomached the 5-minute load times on my Ruby iMac because you had me. You started me out on Liberty Island and let me climb the iron and copper lady herself. Of course it wasn’t a tour; I was a super-powered counter-terrorist and had to show what I could do by myself. A single bullet could mean death. And my weak hardware required a 30-second quick save before each enemy encounter. So it took a really long time to finish the first mission. I died a lot. But in this echo of our real world, there was somebody who didn’t die too much: the enemies. I found myself resorting to the non-lethal take-down options – something I had never seen before in a game. This was mostly because a taser to the back didn’t alert other terrorists. But you awakened a desire within me, to see how else games would allow me to respect virtual lives. You never rewarded me for killing. The only “reward” I got for killing was a dead terrorist.
Other characters noticed: if I managed to get to an objective without killing, blood thirsty Agent Navarre would criticize me. Or the more quartermaster, Sam Carter, would compliment my tact. Often, there were two or three other options I could choose rather than confronting an enemy at all. Hacking and disabling security systems became a favorite pastime. Air ducts and I became BFFs. Admittedly, I developed a habit of bribing people.
You opened me up to a fascinating world that I still love coming back to, even 13 years later. But the best thing about you is the legacy you left within me: a love for non-violence.
M. Joshua Cauller
Dear Bayonetta, You Helped Me To Be The Best I Could Be
Appearances can be deceiving Everyone thought you were a crazed hyper-sexualized demon witch. Really, you were just a game designed with love and care, from your uniquely Japanese aesthetics to the depth of your mechanics.
It’s easy to judge videogame by its appearance; we see things I don’t like and immediately dismiss them. That God of War III came out a few months after you certainly didn’t help. Some people would rather be a hyper-masculine Greek psychopath than a hilarious angel hunter who attacks people with her magical hair. What a world we live in!
Some games demand great skill, and you were one of them. You made me feel empowered through the power of illusion. Our trials, our struggles, and our mutual investment of time and effort empowered me. I earned the victory and you were right there alongside, cheering me to the utterly insane finale. It was only when I appreciated the how you worked that I could see your outer beauty. I could see how all of your elements worked together to produce something magical.
You helped me to experience the joy of throwing a god into the sun.