My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Videogame Memories 02 | Tim Ward

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Two of the biggest video game influences that I had growing up were Super Metroid and Final Fantasy III. Super Metroid was a real challenge to remember and read maps, as well as engross my mind in a futuristic world. Summer break from elementary school chilling in my basement with my friends doing spin jumps and shooting missiles at doors was an unforgettable experience. Final Fantasy came a few years later, and was the most impactful in developing my appreciation for fantasy adventure. FF III was unique in that it became an instant obsession. A friend brought it over and we played all the way to meeting Sabin, but there were no empty slots for memory, so I made my Mom go out and buy it. This was in sixth grade, and I became an instant FFIII nut. I could easily go home and play till I went to sleep, then at school I brought my strategy guide and drew pictures of moogles. When my teacher confiscated the book, someone stole it off her desk and I made my mom’s boyfriend go buy me a new one that night. FFIII singlehandedly made me a Fantasy fan and I probably always will be.

I played that game for years and finally beat it one morning around 3AM in seventh grade. My poor little brother, whom I got to level up my characters when I went skateboarding, didn’t get to see me beat it, but eventually played from my last save point and beat it himself. Some of my favorite aspects of FFIII were: the secret characters like Mog and Guru (mimicking Sabin’s bum rush was awesome); Sabin and his blitz abilities, though the bum rush was kind of a pain to do every time; and how halfway through the game, the world changed completely and it was like two games in one; the esper magic system with unique level up bonuses; fighting monsters from the sky in your flying ship; the forest with the dinosaur that gave you like 3k exp every battle, but was deadly if I got greedy and didn’t bring enough guys to battle; plus the story line for each character really hooked me into the story like no other game since. You know you’ve got a classic game when you’d rather play it than a newer game with better graphics.

Tim Ward is a science fiction, fantasy and horror writer from Des Moines, IA. His current project is to edit his SF novel, The General’s Shadow, about a bounty hunter trying to stop a nanobiologist from turning his people into a mutant army. Tim is always looking for people to interview on his two podcasts, AudioTim and Holy Worlds Podcast. He has a few short stories submitted for publication and hopes to see them in print soon. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or his website,

Dan here - The blog post Writing Average Heroes w/Level-Up Appeal Tim mentions at the end of his audio recording is great and was very interesting to me because I was one of the guys telling Tim he needed to read Nathan Lowell's novel Quarter Share. Go check it out and leave comments, it's a very interesting subject for writers when it comes to storytelling. The tension or action at every turn verses the everyman fiction where characters go about their business slowly "leveling up." I'd like to know what you all think about that as well!

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