Video Games and Inspiration

Since returning from grad school residency a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been playing a lot of video games. Blame Steam, to whom I have given many dollars thanks to their holiday sales. I’ve played Dead Island, dabbled in Portal, and when I want something simple and silly, I fire up Plants vs Zombies. For the Xbox 360, I picked up Mass Effect 2 (yeah, I’m usually a couple of years behind everyone else). But I find myself, more often than not, turning back to certain games over and over. Given the current stress levels of my life, games into which I can completely immerse myself and shut out the rest of the world are my go-to entertainment.

I’m writing this while listening to Jeremy Soule’s Skyrim soundtrack. This is, hands-down, one of the most beautiful albums you could ever hope to own, which makes it quite fitting for the game it accompanies. Skyrim is a game I pop into the Xbox when I’m feeling overwhelmed by life. I’ve played through it before, but back in October I decided to start a new character and make another go at it. Bethesda has sucked me into this before, with Fallout 3 and, to a lesser extent, Fallout: New Vegas. And while you may be tempted to ask why I would “waste” hundreds of hours playing RPGs instead of writing, I will tell you that these games have been huge inspirations and influences on my work. The Lord of the Rings made me want to write an epic fantasy novel someday, but Skyrim made me want to do it, like, now. And I do in fact have one outlined.

I have a point here, and it’s similar to the one I tried to make in my teaching module at residency. You can find inspiration just about anywhere. For me, it’s very often in video games (and their soundtracks). I assure you, not one of those hours has been wasted. More often than not, I come away with an even greater desire to write. Do whatever it takes to recharge your creativity. Your story will be all the better for it.

Published by Jennifer Loring

Jennifer Loring’s short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Tales from the Lake vols. 1 and 4, Nightscript IV, Dim Shores Presents Volume 2, and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Not All Monsters and Arterial Bloom, among many others. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction with a concentration in horror fiction and is currently working toward a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies - Humanities & Culture, focusing on queer possibility in fairy tales. Jenn lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she and her husband are owned by a turtle and two basset hounds.

One thought on “Video Games and Inspiration

  1. I love listening to the Skyrim soundtrack. I picked up some of the songs from those Video Game anthology mp3 albums–as soon as you play it, you feel like you’re back in that world again. My other faves are Legend of Zelda and Chrono Trigger. Long live the old school!

    It’s great to read how video games inspire you. I think they really do get a bad rep for being a “pointless hobby.” But it’s easy to fall in love with them, especially since they’ve become so immersive over the years.


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