Back when I was a little munchkin, I didn’t have many friends. My parents were doing what they could, providing for me and loving me in the ways they knew. Life was straightforward: wake up – kindergarten/school – home – repeat the next day. Apart from 2 or 3 friends who are still with me today, I was a lonely person. I don’t even know how I got into gaming. I just remember a 4-year-old Adrian who was sitting in front of a tube monitor. He would play Captain Claw, Prehistoric 2, Spider-Man 2. He would beg his uncle to copy some more games on CDs so Adrian could paste them into his 40GB PC. Years passed, and where people were absent, video games were present. Looking back now, I can name a lot of video games and video game characters that chiseled my personality.
Through intricate and careful designs, video game developers and writers breathed life into their characters. And so, simple animations became like parents, friends, mentors, trainers. If you’re aware of what is happening and not just focus on the entertainment, video games can truly be considered a work of art. Today, I reflected upon just how 5 of those characters left their mark on me. I reflected upon their teachings and actions. How they would be so awesome if they were real.
1. Sam “Serious” Stone
“You can choose between two ways – the hard way and my way. But they are basically the same.”
Sam is the protagonist of the “Serious Sam” games. He’s a general of Earth’s forces in a war against an alien invasion of our Solar System. The game isn’t plot-heavy. On the surface level, and perhaps on every level, it’s just a game where war is your excuse to kill endless hordes of aliens and splatter blood all over your screen. However, I can’t help but admire Sam.
Sam is alone, armed with an arsenal of weapons, fighting the aliens for a noble cause: free Earth. What mesmerizes me about him is how badass his character is. Sam never panics under any circumstance, even though he battled more than once enemies the size of a 10 story building. More than that, he cracks jokes and one-liners to pass time in between battles. One type of enemy has a giant eye that Sam can pluck out. Upon doing that, Sam says: “You ought to be more careful, you’ll put an eye out.” Stone is also kind and never shies away from saving someone in need. He’s not one for elaborate speeches but transmits a lot by way of action.
What Sam taught me about life: Always face threats head-on, don’t run from them. Even though you may mentally or physically be in a tough spot, you should always make time to crack a joke, play a little and have a good time. Finally, even though your challenge may seem insurmountable, you shouldn’t shake, you shouldn’t back down. Face it with dignity and badassery.
2. Spider-Man / Peter Parker
“You do what you think is best, Doc. It’s all any of us can… even when it hurts like Hell.”
I cheated a bit here because Spider-Man isn’t just a video game character. He’s also a comic book character and a movie character. He’s been around since the sixties, but the Webhead has had his fair share of gameplay time as well. The quote you’ve just read is from the 2019 Marvel’s Spiderman game.
Why is Peter Parker / Spider-Man so important to me? Apart from being my favorite hero of all time (I consider his powers extremely cool), I resonate with him a lot. Peter Parker suffered a lot of bullying in school, he was, like me, the nerd of the class and with few friends. He had lots of trauma due to losing his parents and his beloved Uncle Ben. Still, his morals are like a saint’s. Even though he wants a normal life, he wants to be with his lover, he wants to succeed academically, he still does what needs to be done. He never declines a cry for help and never lets a crime happen if he can stop it. He is almost ripped from Scripture, because he always puts others before him, even though he suffers.
Another thing I love about Parker is that he’s not necessarily stronger than his opponents, but he’s smarter and knows to play his cards in every situation. And, just like Sam Stone, he cracks jokes and tries to have a fun time whenever he can.
What Spidey taught me about life: Always do what’s right, not what’s right for you. Put others’ needs before your own. Always use your brain and try to fight smart. Accept that if you’ve got talents, it would be a shame to let them go to waste. Strive every day to be a better version than you were yesterday. Most importantly, even if it hurts like Hell, put your hero mask back on and raise from the ashes.
3. Captain John Price
“They say truth is the first casualty of war. But who defines what’s true? […] Truth is just a matter of perspective. The duty of every soldier is to protect the innocent, and sometimes that means preserving the lie of good and evil—that war isn’t just natural selection played out on a grand scale. […] The only truth I found is that the world we live in is a giant tinderbox. All it takes…is someone to light the match.”
I’ve briefly talked about him in my last article. You can click here to read that.
However, Price takes the spotlight now. He is the leader of Task Force 141, an international special ops team. Price is always cold-blooded. A building might fall to his left, and two helicopters may explode to the right, but he’ll not even flinch. That’s why he was selected into the 141. He’s a natural predator. However, he’s also a human at heart, and will never leave someone behind. There are countless examples where Captain went out of his way to save someone. “Nikolai’s in hell right now. We’re going to walk him out. We take care of our friends.”
When those close to him died, Price exploded in a storm of anger and managed to channel his fury into killing all of those responsible. Most of us would just fall into depression. The final thing that makes me respect Price is just how good of an analyst he is and how he masters his emotions. He never screams if he doesn’t need to, and never loses his temper, being almost always calm.
What Captain Price taught me about life: “You need to trust someone to be betrayed. I never did.” Always be on your guard and diligent in everything you do. The quality of your work determines the quality of your success. You should always strive to maximize the results of every situation. Most importantly, you should be two steps ahead of everything, which means you should actively think a lot. This way, you’ll guarantee fewer mistakes. Finally, polish your character so much that you are in control of yourself at all times. And never forget those who were by your side.
4. Arthur Morgan
“Be loyal to what matters.”
Arthur Morgan from Red Dead Redemption 2 is such a complex character that a few words can’t possibly do him justice. Arthur is an outlaw in the Van der Linde gang, at the end of the Wild West era. He is a tough man, who swore loyalty to the gang. And he is loyal to the core. He’s also smart, charming, funny, but very brutal. If something threatens the gang, he is the first one to take arms and fight. However, as the story unfolds, some things happen to him, and he changes. His change is so radical that you wouldn’t believe it possible, based on how he is portrayed at the start of the game.
For a man who is just a warrior, his insight and knowledge are truly inspiring. He can sometimes be found advising other people and helping others. While a thief, he also has good morals and gives to the poor. If you look from outside, his life is a disaster: his girl left him, he doesn’t have an education, he can’t stay too much in one place, society often avoids him due to his affiliation to the gang. On top of that, there is also the danger of being killed constantly.
Even so, Arthur keeps a strong attitude and carries his life with power and with his back straight. And as a result, many admire him. And by the time the end of the game comes, he is a changed man. His character proves that one doesn’t need to stay in a bad place forever, one can always change who they were.
What Arthur taught me about life: “Be a goddamn man!” Always value loyalty. Never ruin the life of one below your status. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Do unto others as you want to be done to you. Some things won’t ever come back and we should cherish every moment. Never fight for something that’s over, hoping that it would be like it used to be again. “Too late” doesn’t exist and action can be taken at any time. If you yourself are doomed, at least make it better for others. Finally, walk through life with your back straight, and always be your good self, not your bad self. Do not let others take your soul.
5. Ezio Auditore da Firenze
“Twenty-two years ago, I stood where I stand now – and watched my loved ones die, betrayed by those I had called friends. Vengeance clouded my mind. It would have consumed me, were it not for the wisdom of a few strangers, who taught me to look past my instincts. They never preached answers, but guided me to learn from myself. We don’t need anyone to tell us what to do; not Savonarola, not the Medici. We are free to follow our own path. There are those who will take that freedom from us, and too many of you gladly give it. But it is our ability to choose – whatever you think is true – that makes us human… There is no book or teacher to give you the answers, to show you the path. Choose your own way! Do not follow me, or anyone else.”
Whenever I say father, besides my actual father, I feel the touching hand of Ezio. I played the Ezio games when I was in high school. When I was merely a little boy. Ezio accompanied me for years, and his lessons still echo in my ears for almost 10 years. His story is one of revenge, then restructure, and after that, enlightenment. There are three games with him as the protagonist, and you follow him from the moment he was born, close to the moment he died. Ezio was written so well that it feels like he actually existed in history and feels like he is one of the philosophers of the Renaissance. A few words can’t do the journey of the Italian assassin right.
Among the things that stand out for me regarding Ezio are his capacity for leadership, almost infinite wisdom and perseverance. For 22 years he hunted down the ones who were responsible for killing his family. Instead of grieving too much, he learned his lessons and matured. He knew how to take value from everything that happened in his life. So much so, that he was able to consolidate an organization so big that it spanned the entirety of Italy. He had hundreds of people under his command but still managed to be a leader and mentor to all of them.
“When I was a young man, I had liberty, but I did not see it. I had time, but I did not know it. And I had love, but I did not feel it. Many decades would pass before I understood the meaning of all three.” In-game, the philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli is so impressed by him, that he proposes to write a book about Ezio.
Something that you never see in Ezio is pride. He lived for 65 years, but apart from his teenage years, he was very humble. He is always the one who puts himself in the service of others and has the capacity to inspire hope in the ones around him. His social intelligence is so great that, apart from his enemies, every single other character is attracted and wants to be his friend. Fame and prowess never get to him and he’s always down to earth and kind.
What Ezio taught me about life: Live your life as best you can. Always be in a constant struggle, the moment you stop, that’s the moment you lost. Value relationships you have with others. If you don’t know how to do a thing, learn it, and if not, improvise. Always strive to be resourceful. Never let adversity kill your flame. No matter the suffering you endure, if you always strive for the best, you’ll be content with what you achieve. Never leave a task unfinished. Most importantly, cherish your time, cherish love, and cherish liberty. Always be grateful for what you have.
Whenever one looks at me and compliments me, saying how amazing I am or how this and that I can be, I feel the need to look back over my shoulder. When I do that, I see some familiar faces, smiling at me and laying their hands on my shoulders. I know they’ll have my back. Through their struggles, I know I can face my own struggles. They know how painful and hard life is and understand my suffering. They teach us to fight on and come on top. To be resilient, resourceful, and persistent. To be loving, caring, and emphatic. One thing echoes in unison from all their digital words and thoughts: Take the pen of life and create a story for the ages.
And if you want to play some awesome games, be sure to click here!