When was the last time you were proud of an achievement? When was the last time that it wasn't just a tick on a list, but rather a crowning moment in your game?
Or even better, when was the last time someone was proud of what they've given you to play?
We all have different definitions of a defining moment. However nowadays people are less interested in having the crowning moment of awesome than they are in ticking all the boxes in the checklist of their game. Have to win... have to complete everything... have to get ready for the next hurdle and pointless task. Not because it's fun, but because we're compelled to.
We all have different cherished memories in life, games and everything else besides. One strong memory for me was the change in my own thinking between Command and Conquer Red Alert and Red Alert 2.
I've always had many gaps in my geekery so to speak. I've never, for example, played a Blizzard game barring a five minute attempt at WoW. I haven't ever developed a taste for anime like many of my friends. There are books and comics and the other media that seem to be woven into the concept of "geek" that I just have never had the pleasure of nor bothered with (Watchmen, I'm looking at you).
My first experience with RTS games was with Settlers, way way back and played on an Amiga. After that I didn't come back to them till the Playstation. Command and Conquer mind you, not Dune.
Fortunately I could rent alot of Playstation games, and I came across Red Alert. It was fun, it was an RTS and I enjoyed it. Beyond that, I don't remember much. It just didn't impact me the way some games do (though I did love the Chronotank and missed it in later installments). I played the expansion in the same manner, fiddling with the Playstation controller and being paranoid that my brother on a borrowed and linked Playstation was looking over my shoulder to see what I was doing.
Roll on RA2. Man was it a different beast entirely. This time, this time I was on the PC. I was comfortable with computing. I was expecting a mere game.
I got an experience.
The Premier was plotting. America would be his. The Kirovs cast shadows on skyscrapers as the sound of jackboots revved up. The Hell March kicked in and man did it kick ass. Fantastic music, a sense of story and in the middle of it all... Westwood Proudly Presents. This was their baby and they were proud to show it to me, to let me play with the game and to enjoy the movie that came between missions.
I was hooked. Yuri’s Revenge? Same thing all over again. An experience. A cherished memory.
There was a Penny Arcade strip that in a nutshell dealt with EA. When they mass produced crap, they made money hand over fist. Since trying for smart, clever or just simply good games? They make a loss.
I'm supporting them during this loss with my copies of Warhammer and Red Alert 3. This is not EA fanboyism though. This is something else besides. It's something visceral.
The Empire delivered their ultimatum. One lone man on the cliffs saw the ships approaching... and in the middle of the opening of Hell March 3. EA proudly presented.
Everything I do in that game isn't just a tick on a list. It's a proper achievement, hard fought and hard won.
I am proud.