Old hobbies and the weird glory of nostalgia

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with videogames. When I was a teenager, I got into game design and particularly a series of PC programs called RPG Maker, which had a huge impact on me during those years. Every so often I think about picking this hobby back up because I’ve been a writer and artist (mainly with film, journalism, and dance) for parts of my adult life, and videogames are an interactive form of art that have the potential to be a really awesome experience for someone. But I don’t have the time or desire to make games, so I haven’t, in quite a long time.

But I periodically hear news about what’s going on in the RPG Maker space, and the connectedness of the Internet brought me back to an old game I made.

Around 2010, I used RPG Maker VX to create a Final Fantasy fan-game that I titled Final Fantasy Worlds, and it was a weird roguelike-platformer hybrid. Something I just discovered is that a very nice and entertaining Let’s Player made a series of videos about it. Here was his first one:

I watched this and I was just blushing with embarrassment the whole time. I recall this game being well-received, but I also recall making it at a time when I was creatively trying to invent experimental new gameplay features, and that was it.

And boy you could tell: no real story of which to speak, bad grammar, extremely vague character descriptions, wonky graphics…

I had put quite a bit of effort into it, but I could have taken a few additional easy steps to actually make a proper, presentable game. Oh well. I put this on the Internet anyway, and people liked it, for the most part. I agree with all the complaints and criticisms about it.

I wanted to write this post because I forgot this was something I had even done in my life. I seriously forgot I ever made this game, forgot it even existed. It’s weird to have something pop up in front of you that says, “Hey, remember this thing you did 6 years ago? You know, when you were a dumb teenager?”

There’s a weird-but-good feeling you get when you are reminded of insignificant parts of your past. I’m a little embarrassed that I made something like this, and that I even know how to make something like this, and that my teenage years were spent delving deeply into making things like this. When I started to grow up, I stopped being such a nerd and started to get into things that still really matter to me today, like hiking. But there’s a weird part of me that still slightly feels like this nerdy little teenager who loves videogames. And I kind of like that part of me.

Life is for living, and we all get to do whatever we want. Sometimes I want to be a nerd and sometimes I want to be a badass. I get to have both because it’s my life.