Why? Those days were filled with imagination, a trait that has dwindled during my shift to adulthood. Sure, we didn't always have the most original ideas, but what truly mattered in those days was we took a basic idea and then we ran with it, generating our own ideas, injecting our own imaginations, and letting our creativity run wild. This is why I love video games so much today. I'll usually find a basic idea that fascinates me, then my own ideas and creativity take the wheel. In a weird way, video games are a little like my muse.
Which brings me to the Borderlands games, most notably, Borderlands 2. Now, I'm a pretty big fan of this game, as evidenced by my time posting to the Borderlands subreddits and the few blog posts I've made. I've played through multiple times in the last few months, maxing out my levels, farming for cool weapons, and using the diverse variety of classes to give myself a unique take on the game. What I can't get over though is how utterly fascinated I am with this game. I can't remember the last time I played a game so religiously that didn't have a "Final" or "Fantasy" in the title. So what is it about this game that has touched not only me, but an entire community of Redditors?
Borderlands 2 takes us into the future a little ways, bringing in a new clan of Vault Hunters while keeping the old familiar Vault Hunters as non-playable characters. You get to keep the previous stories, witness the repercussions from the first game, and then set out to find another Vault. Only this time, you have a clearly identified villain. Handsome Jack, president of the Hyperion Company, is a ruthless (though somehow hilarious) and calculating villain, hell-bent on destroying anyone living on Pandora.
The two games branch nicely, folding one into the other, creating a truly epic feel.
The story is there regardless, yes, but the characters, each with their own history and personas, really make the game. Not only do you get the epic feel of Pandora's past and present, but you become connected to the characters you take along for the ride. You learn their catchphrases and abilities, and every time you begin a new campaign with a different character, it truly feels like you're starting over again.
Music videos, fanfiction, video shorts, comics, drawings, analytical theories, paintings, cosplay, and I know some of you hate it, but modding...yup, that's using some creativity genes, too.
These are all outlets for creativity, and they've all found inspiration from the legends of Pandora. An hour on Pandora can lighten me up as well, lending to me the inspiration I have to continue my editing or finish writing my own epic stories. It's a great feeling being a part of a game that inspires so many others. This passion is what leads to innovation. It might seem backwards, but I truly believe there is no such thing as an original idea. True innovation is taking an idea and spinning it completely upside down and inside out, leaving the passion there but the idea totally new.
Thanks for reading, Vault Hunters!
Borderlands 2: The Ultimate
The Finer Things: Pandoran Redux