Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ben's Gaming Memories: Fire Emblem Awakening

Well, this feels really strange. Four years ago today Fire Emblem Awakening came out in the US. It's a game I waited a very long time for, a game I played for many months to come, and it's also the game that really kick started the "new" Netto's Game Room. It's kind of funny really, the game that kick started this blog's home away from Capcom-Unity is now a treasured memory of mine that I can't believe happened so long ago. It seems like just yesterday, and a part of me still wishes that it were...

When Fire Emblem Awakening was coming out I was beyond excited. This was the first time I really looked forward to a Fire Emblem game, and I couldn't get enough of it. I would stay up late looking up all the information about the characters, I'd read every possible interview and news article I could find, and I would even watch every video I could find on the game. To say I was excited for this one is really an understatement, and when the night before it's release came, I really couldn't wait to head out in search for it the next day. I still remember laying there in bed playing Virtue's Last Reward on my Vita, and waiting for myself to get tired enough to fall asleep so tomorrow would come even faster. Then, when I finally put my Vita on my night stand and closed my eyes... It happened.

I'm not sure how long I was actually sleeping, I think it was around 11 PM that I opened my eyes, but soon a ringing phone woke me from my sleep, and the sound of my mom's upset voice got me out of bed. It was my grandma, she had woken up herself and noticed something was strange -- her eye. Even standing in the light, she could see nothing out of one of her eyes. Needless to say, my mom was soon getting dressed and she was rushing out the door to take her to the hospital over an hour and a half away. I ended up not going with her as they needed someone to stay behind and work at the family bakery in the morning, and before I knew it I was there working the front and talking to the upset regular customers who really liked her. Eventually my mom got back and let everyone know they were still doing tests on my grandma, and once again she headed off to the hospital but this time with me in tow. While the doctors thought my grandma would be okay, they still weren't sure of what actually caused the blindness, nor were they sure if her vision would ever return. Sadly, it didn't.

Although my grandma would never see out of that eye again, there was at least some good news. First of all, she was okay and it wouldn't be happening to her other eye. There were more tests they wanted to do, and other doctors they wanted her to see so at the time there was more hope for her eye, but either way we did know for a fact that it was an isolated incident. The other piece of good news was for me personally, and it was something that helped cheer me up and get my mind off of all of the drama -- Fire Emblem Awakening.

The thing about Awakening is that although it came out on 2/4/2013, it didn't actually "come out" then (or at least not for most people). Strangely the game was in very limited supply, and most stores wouldn't even get the game until a few weeks later. It was sent off to a handful of places, and if you weren't lucky enough to find such a place, then you weren't getting it. For me, there was actually no store within the area that had it. No GameStops, no Walmarts, no Targets, no Best Buys, nothing. Every single store didn't get a shipment, so no one living in this area was able to buy it. That is, except for one -- a Target closet to the hospital. Of course I didn't know this at the time, and I just ran in there because it was close by. I walked over to the game section, asked if they had the game, and the guy opened up the box sitting next to him on the counter and pulled out a copy. Afterwards my mom and I ran over to the hospital (as my grandma was finally out of testing and what not), and after spending the day up there we finally headed back home. By that time I was finally feeling better about the whole thing (again, we knew she would be okay at that point) and I ended up playing the game the entire way home. Looking back now it's kind of strange because I remember something my mom said to me as we were leaving. She mentioned how I had just finished college and that maybe someday I would be working in that town. I blew the comment off as I really didn't feel like going to a place that was over an hour and a half drive away each day, but I guess fate had other plans for me. Later that year I would be driving back that way myself for my first full time job.

As for Fire Emblem Awakening, it's a game I really did enjoy, and it's the game that really helped kick off NGR when we moved it away from Capcom-Unity. Heck, we even used to have a Fire Emblem based "placeholder" banner at the top of the page! I remember liking it for being Fire Emblem, but no one else writing for the blog did. Despite all of that, Awakening was one of the few games we discussed heavily here, and it's a game that me and my friends would continue talking about and playing for the many months to come. It really is hard to believe that all of this was four years ago, and like the characters in the game, I still sometimes wish I could go back to hopefully change the future. I didn't know it at the time, but 2013 was the year of drama, and my grandma was just the start. I've mentioned it before, and even posted here when it happened, but after the incident with my grandma, things only got worse. A few months later her sister's kid died in his sleep, a week later her brother passed away, and then the day after Christmas her son -- my uncle -- also died at a young age. We lost the bakery after that, and the chain that connected so many people together was broken. I'm glad that Fire Emblem Awakening was there to help me through some of this, but I still wish things would have turned out differently. Even so, I'll always treasure the good memories of that year, and Awakening will always be there to remind me of them.

Happy birthday Fire Emblem Awakening.


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