In a previous post, I shared ways I get inspiration, including news and events, dreams, and photos. But I left out one of the more unexpected places I receive inspiration for my writing: video games.
I had my original Nintendo growing up that my Dad won in a raffle at Kmart. It came with Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, and the original gold Zelda. I later acquired Super Mario Bros. III for a Christmas present, and that was the extent of my video game collection.
It wasn't until college that I started to become a gamer. I modified my computer and even got xpadder pour windows so that I could play various games directly from my PC, I didn't even have to turn on any of my consoles. My Honeybee love Final Fantasy, so he got me into the FF games. FFX and FFX2 are my favorites, and I still bust them out occasionally. Still, even with the Final Fantasy and PS2 games, I considered myself a part-time gamer.
Until 2007 when LOTRO was released.
That was the turning point for me. I became hooked, got my Honeybee into LOTRO as well, and 13 years later we're still playing it! Enjoy this video of my Honeybee and I playing with a couple of our other friends in 2010. We 4-manned a 6-man instance on level, which if you don't play MMO's, that won't mean anything to you, but it was hard 🙂
Now that we've establish how much I love LOTRO, let's get to the point of this post: using video games for inspiration!
I find that I use video games, particularly LOTRO, for inspiration in 2 different ways.
- To help get over writer's block.
- For getting ideas when I least expect it.
Because LOTRO is a medieval fantasy world (based off of Tolkien's Middle Earth) playing it gets me in the perfect mindset to help get the creativity flowing when I'm having difficulty writing. There have been many times where I've logged on to LOTRO, started playing, and just by being in the setting and letting my mind wander, words and ideas start flowing.
I take a break from gaming, write until I hit another impasse, and then alt+tab back to the game.
As far as getting actual ideas from things I see in a game, that's far less infrequent, but it does happen. Most of the times, they're ideas I can incorporate into a story, not the start or premise for a story.
For example, I took the 2 weeks off over Christmas and New Years and got my LOTRO fix. One of the mobs is this purple and black orb of sorrow. I was drawn to the word sorrow and had the idea that it would be interesting to have a character feed off of people's sorrow. Because it's something that can't ever be eliminated, the character would have a constant supply of energy and power.
I jotted it down and it's now in my Ideas Folder patiently waiting to become part of my stories!
As a writer, ideas can come from anything at any time. I've gotten ideas for names from the color of the curtains hanging in my office. Gaming exposes me to a whole new world full of things ready to spark an idea and get my creative mind flowing.
Are you a gamer? Do you find it to be an inspiration for your writing?
It's blurry, but it's my favorite LOTRO video we recorded. It's the same group of 4 as the 1st video, except I'm playing my Captain instead of my Loremaster 🙂