How Gaming Helped Shape My Writing

A screenshot of an early version of my Death Knight in World of Warcraft

Greetings folks! Inspiration for writing comes from many avenues, and today I wanted to talk about the impact gaming had on my writing. I’ve brought this up with roleplay in the past, which had a huge impact on my writing. I played games like Age of Mythology, Toontown, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Pokemon in the past. I’ve also played Final Fantasy XIV(more recently!). All of these contributed in some way to my creative mind, and I wanted to discuss how important things like this can be for inspiration.

Age of Mythology - Wikipedia

Let’s talk about Age of Mythology. This game honestly got me so interested in the ancient mythology of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse folks. This is a strategy game where you gather resources to build a base and armies, all with the use of myth units. You could have special powers granted by the gods to unleash on your enemies, like a cyclone that would rip people and buildings apart. One major part of the game, however, was the fact that you could click on a unit and learn about them.

This game had little educational blurbs about the original myths these monsters were from, not to mention the campaign as well. I remember one of the most impactful of the story was putting Osiris back together again after he was butchered by Set, fighting to survive the Giants in the Norse tundra, and traveling through the underworld to escape it. So many cool stories were had with Arkantos and company, and I remember my time fondly. Sure, I was a little girl, so I played on easy mode, but so what? My heart sang for mythology and all of these stories, which was a huge inspiration for me nowadays.

The Toontown Preservation Project aims to save the history of Disney's MMO  | PCGamesN

Toontown was actually my first taste of the MMORPG world, before I moved to World of Warcraft. This goofy game taught about fighting back against cooperate robots, which was quite ironic given it was originally run by Disney. I got to play as a colorful pink dog named Rosie, when I liked the color at the time. Pies were thrown, loud noises played, and feathers tickled as I made my way through the game, fished some goofy fish, and leveled up my character.

Toontown taught me the fun in comic relief within a story, and how even the light-hearted stories could have a really serious dark side. I will never forget going through the factories and how dull things really were compared to the beautiful goofy colors of Toontown. The story was simple but interesting, and could keep me occupied for hours. Besides, if you look really deeply into the premise, it’s a whole lot darker than on the surface. The toons are fighting for their entire way of life to preserve fun, where the cogs(corporate robots) are trying to take over and make everything horrible, dull, and boring.

Sorta like how life works now, isn’t that right?

I’m going to talk about my favorite World of Warcraft expansion, Legion. I joined the MMORPG in late Cataclysm, but fell in love with Wrath of the Lich King (so, undead and snowy areas) lore as I began to care more about the story. The expansion I actually participated in that really struck me, though, was Legion. I particularly liked Illidan’s story, as he made for a really interesting antihero. One of my favorite parts, which everyone makes fun of, was the ‘I am my scars’ cinematic.

Many people choose to make fun of that part because they think either X’era was right for literally forcing her ideology on Illidan (think someone trying to forcefully convert someone else to their religion) or they think Illidan was being too edgy. But what, exactly, was he supposed to do in a situation where he was forcibly restrained and nearly converted to something he really was not? This was a case of a forced ideology, and the ‘light’ was entirely in the wrong. People glorify ‘the light’ in that game way too much, though.

The cinematic that was my favorite, however, was the introduction to Suramar city:

The passion in the voice acting blew me away, as did the story in general. Legion taught me what I enjoyed in a story, and how many different plot threads could come together for a really good one. Characters had their flaws, but they could overcome them and help save the world. The game itself taught me that intelligent zombies (the forsaken) could be good, could be evil, or could be neutral. There was nuance in the game back when I enjoyed it. One’s person dictated everything, not what they were or what they became. This is something I love, and sadly something that’s faded over the past two expansions, Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, neither of which had an interesting story to me at all. I even wrote an article on how I would change Battle for Azeroth entirely.

I think the final thing I will say is that I enjoy the Ebon Blade in the game the most, given they’re knights of death who fight for the innocent, and Azeroth, by any means necessary. True chaotic good (nor neutral, I suppose). “We do what the living cannot.” I was going to get a tattoo of the Ebon Blade symbol at one point… though given recent circumstances, I changed my mind.

Diablo (1996) box cover art - MobyGames

This was one of the first games I played as a little girl. Diablo was a dungeon crawler that taught me I could be a hero too. I played a lady rogue, who was faceless due to the low graphics. This game taught me the value in listening to other characters for the story and how even against all odds, a good character could conquer evil if they had enough will to. This doesn’t apply so much to real life, but it’s a great tool in storytelling.

Did you know that my first imaginary friend was my rogue from Diablo? She protected me from the evil demons! She, too, was faceless, much like my avatar. Her name was Sally, and perhaps I will make her a true character in one of my books someday. It’s things like this, though, that bring about future creativity. Storytelling in general is amazing, and the origin of ideas can be in places like games, which is a ton of fun.

Yes, this is me with some pokemon plushies

Gotta catch ’em all! Pokemon was a huge favorite of mine as a child, and that continues even today. I still collect pokemon plushies and pops. I only play Pokemon Go now, but used to play on my 3DS handheld. I recall loving Soulsilver. I actually have a Charizard-design on my current 3DS even if that’s now an outdated system. Pretty proud of it, if I do say so myself.

Pokemon taught me about some really cool creature designs. Now, not all of them look good, and in fact I dislike many of them. Aside from Rayquaza, for example, there are very few dragon designs in Pokemon I actually like. I am very picky with Pokemon and go by aesthetic above all. Despite my pickiness, though, there are tons of designs I adore. There’s plenty of new ones that come out, some better than others, that I enjoy too. The pokemon story is the ‘power of friendship’ and I enjoyed the live action movie Detective Pikachu. Sometimes it can be a bit cliche, but not in a bad way if done right.

I would discuss my thoughts on FFXIV more, but I have an entire video series on youtube with regard to that. Needless to say, I am very much enjoying my time on there too.

Anyway, there’s some insight on how various video games inspired my writing! Roleplay, as I said in the beginning, was also a huge factor, and I wrote about that here. I hope you found inspiration from things like video games or other media as well if you are a writer!

Interested in my dystopic urban fantasy series that has vampires with a bite? See my book list!

Published by Des M. Astor

Heya, I'm an author. Typically I write Urban Fantasy, and I only usually read in that genre as well. My author's website is both a writing blog and a showcase for my work. Check it out if you'd like.

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