Monday, October 26, 2009

Xenogears, Reflection After 10 Years

ive been thinking about xenogears a lot due to a link that was posted on facebook about that humans + gears remix CD that's out there... and it really takes me back.

the main reason why i love that game so much is because it's had such a profound impact on my life - how it helped me grow into the person i am today and stuff. i must have written on so many different forums and in chats, or said in so many game-related conversations irl about how inspiring the writing/ story/ message of the game was to me at the time i played it.

so i make it a rule not to write so much on blogs like this about super personal stuff, but for this game, i will just for the sake of me trying to honestly... just tell it how it is.

i was in 8th grade, which was like 13 going on 14 years old. in a group of really close classmates/ guy friends, there was one dude in particular who became my best guy friend. now in all reality, i lived a middle school life characterized by its manga-worthy drama (no details on that, though, sorry! - i actually plan on pitching the story to be made into a real manga someday =D), so fast forward to the very end of 8th grade. my best guy friend and i were going to go to separate high schools, which really sucked. i was going to the mid-level ghetto school in the district and he was going to one of the best ones. as a matter of fact, ALL my best friends from middle school were going to different high schools than me. im sure if you recall your early teenage life, your world pretty much revolved around your friends, right? so to be torn apart from all your closest homies would be nothing less than earth-shattering, right? that's what it kind of was like for me. especially when you're that fragile 14...

anyway, that best guy friend, with much verbal pushing from peanut gallery friends, came to be called a 'boyfriend' and i the 'girlfriend,' which at that time was kinda like 'wha?' because of our history of being 'just friends' for so long. eventually we were just like, 'yeah, sure, i guess... youre into me and im into you... aight, lol.' nothing really changed though in terms of our... what, eating lunch together in a big group/ clique of friends? talking about video games during passing period? chatting about anime on the phone after dinner at home? what else can middle school kids do? haha. we went to the movies... thanks to our parents who drove us there and picked us up afterwards LOL. however, the more i entertained the possibility of us sharing a loveLove kind of relationship together, the more make-believe i jumped into, and before i knew it, we were each others' undisputed darling and sweetheart kekeke.

fast forward through 8th grade graduation. so that summer, the summer before freshman year of high school, i was really beginning to feel my resentment, anger, sorrow and everything stemmed from the ghetto high school i was forced to go to. i spent days arguing with my parents about how much better my life would be if i went to the other high school where all my friends were going to. but they were convinced that if my older brother was having an A-ok time at 'ghetto high school' i should have no problems there, either.

ghetto high school was in fact the best compromise between cost (of travel time + money) and quality (academically it was 3/5 stars in the district), but blinded by my feelings for my friends and first real relationship with a guy, i continued to fight with my parents up until the very end of summer. my dad especially was super pissed at me. he kept trying to convince me that the school didnt really matter as long as it was decent enough, and that i myself would have to be the one to make the most of it. then he tried to make me understand about the benefits of having older brother to have already 'paved the way' for me. plus the $$$ we would save on gas, AND the school was sooooo close to the family business as well as our house. my mom even tried my mentioning that id be able to see some of my elementary school friends again at high school.

/sigh... in the end, i was a good asian kid and listened to my parents. if i really REALLY was hell bent on it, listening to no reason at all, i would have filled out the appropriate paperwork to change my address registered in the school district's office, which would have put me within the boundary (where you were sent to school was based on where you lived, or precisely what address you had on file with the school district) of the high school i wanted to go to. i even had 3 moms who were willing to write their address on my papers so i could go to the 'better' school. anyway despite all the young, teenage angst and raging hormones, i was still able to buckle down and be a good kid.

so what the hell has any of this got to do with xenogears? everything!

that fall season was tough; new blood on campus, not a single friend to chill with. even those i could recognize from elementary school (i even remembered their first and last names, damn it!) didnt even bat an eyelash at me when i said 'hi' to them in the halls, hoping for them to OMG! me lol. the only salvation i had was my brother, which made things worlds better, but still there was the bf i wanted to be with, and the homies i wanted to just be together with - talking about mess, fondly referencing memories from middle school. i would be on the phone a lot at home, that and AIM hahaha - talking to my friends, high school life, etc.

enter xenogears.

it was around this time when bf let me borrow this one game. it was actually a game that he himself had borrowed from a mutual friend who may or may not have known it was now being passed on to me. in any case, without much background knowledge at all about this 'Xenogears,' into the playstation it went. who knew it would help me deal with all the shitty things in my life? lol.

if you're not familiar with the story, characters, music, etc. of Xenogears, it's all good. you will read no spoilers here. i will instead rec. it to you! play this game so you can know its awesomeness on a firsthand basis!

anyway, what i needed was to see someone in a similar situation of hopelessness overcome their hardships and emerge a beautiful, strong, wise, human being. as i was playing this game, i realized that if i could develop my own patience, be understanding and open to new ideas, but at the same time know when to grasp at the things i desire, or have the drive to create on my own, i could look forward to a future that i could be proud of. as long as i believed in myself, i could enjoy being blessed with being believed in, in return - and to ultimately experience the jubilance of a distant yet carefully kept promise.

there are many themes of suffering in Xenogears, but the resolution to all the suffering is so artfully unfolded. maybe it was all too much for my 14 year old self to fully comprehend and appreciate, even lol.

in this way, i didnt kick myself for not being able to see my buddies on a daily basis, but instead i looked forward to the 'my friends can meet your friends' thing at birthday and/ or dinner parties and the like. plus there was of course an undisputed 'cool' about having a mysterious bf at a different school too, haha. not to mention going to each others' proms! oh, and anime clubs + conventions made things even more dynamic! at one point, bf and i were like the spike that held this long and complicated railroad network of friends together (not by virtue of our dazzling life-of-the-party charm or anything lol - it was more like we were the means by which our friends first met and hung out together for the first time).

that bf and i have long since broken up, and others have come and gone. as everyone knows im all the way in japan while current bf is still in LA. i get a lot of, "oh you must be kinda cut that you gotta pull this long distance thing for so long," and in my head my answer to that is always, "dude, i played Xenogears. i am sooo beyond mentally prepared. besides, it's a breeze. i had to go through it all through high school, too. no worries." all that really comes out though is, "no i'm fine with it, lol. he comes to visit quite often actually, so it helps. plus there's all this technology that's out there - skype, email, etc. which eases some of the stress as well."

anyway, i cant praise this game enough for what it's done for me. i just happened to be in the right kind of situation to be taken in so spiritually by this game haha. if a missionary had come to me at the same time instead of this game id totally have been a convert, i swear lol. seriously, i was _that_ in need of help @_@

also, come on - i was 14! and i needed a good female role model >_> Tifa was getting old lol. (backseat gamed ff7 the previous year at 13 which may have been the REAL reason why im such the messed up, otaku-tinged, RPG fangirl-type today!)

oh and american, if youre reading this, go buy it at gamestop or ebay or something and play it NOW! i think you might need it in the state youre in haha. hopefully it can 'save' you like it did me! noImJustMessin. play it just for kicks of course ^^ actually: how about i buy it for you and have it shipped to fourTen? cause i can... and maybe will... lol.