By Henry Lopez
The year 2013 has gone down in history as one of the best years for gaming. We got gigantic award-winning AAA titles like “Bioshock Infinite”, “The Last of Us”, and “Grand Theft Auto V”. We also got a lot of gaming gems from the indie community like “Gone Home”, “The Stanley Parable”, and “Papers Please”. With all the fascinating title that came out that year, it almost seems blasphemous that it was a 3DS game that I remember most fondly. That game is “Fire Emblem Awakening”. Not only was it the game I enjoyed the most that year, but in all honesty, it’s my second favorite Nintendo published game only behind the classic “Super Metroid” for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. At this point, you are probably wondering why is exactly is this Tactical RPG so important to me, well let me tell you.
At first glance, it would seem that “Awakening” is nothing more than your standard Tactical RPG with anime like aesthetics. But sitting down and playing the game you will quickly find one of the deepest and most rewarding RPGs to come out in recent memory. While this definitely adds to my appreciation for the game it is not the reason why I love it so much. The reason for my love is something far deeper than that, something that goes past gameplay and into something else entirely.
In 2013 I found out that I suffer from chronic migraines. The process leading up to finding out that I suffered from chronic migraines has one of the most difficult times in my life. At around the beginning of 2013, I started to have what at the time I considered very strange headaches. I dealt with them for about a month but eventually, they became so bothersome and constant that I had no other choice than to go to the hospital. That is when my worries really began. While I was there the doctor ran a couple of test on me and could not really figure out what was the issue. He decided to give me a referral to go see a neurologist. The last thing the doctor said to me is something that really sent me down a spiral of anxiety and depression. He told me that the headaches can be from chronic migraines or that there could be something growing in my brain that should not be there. Me being the paranoid person that I am, I immediately focused on the latter of the two.
The following months leading up to the appointment with the neurologist were an absolute hell. I had become so stressed out and anxious that I was not sleeping or eating properly. Nothing felt right in those months. I felt like a hollow shell. Things that I use to love doing like playing video games or listening to music did not feel right. The only time things felt right was when I sat down and played “Awakening”. Something about the game just calmed me down. I would lose myself within it, I felt like I was part of that world. While the plot of the game has you and your forces thrown into a war I always felt at peace and that everything was going to be alright.
Never before had I felt that deep of a connection with a game. When a character cried, I cried with them. When a character was happy, I was happy with them. I became so attached to its many characters and its overarching narrative that when I got to the end of it I stopped playing it at the last chapter. I was refusing to let go of the characters and everything that they meant to me. It was not until months later once I had seen the neurologist and found that I was suffering from chronic migraines and not something worse that I finally decided to beat the game.
To this day not some of my friends and peers do not fully understand what it was about “Awakening” that made me love it so much. Like I stated earlier 2013 was filled with a ton of amazing games but to me none of them come close to “Awakening”. No other game that year or since has done what “Awakening” did for me. When I was at my lowest “Awakening” reminded me that “Hope will never die!”