Every now and then, I like to include blog posts that have nothing to do with literary study and are instead an appreciation of some aspect of our vast world of pop culture. Welcome to one such post!
I cringe when people question the validity of gaming. I always feel the need to hop up on a soapbox (which don’t line the streets like they evidently did in the 19th century) to explain all of the good that games can do for the player, from helping us work through different obstacles in our lives to simply offering us a way to relax. Games have a lot to offer us between the story, engaging visuals, and problem-solving required to complete a puzzle or defeat a boss (or even just earn more points to buy in-game items). What I don’t always think about when contemplating this argument is how games inspire us.
Game-driven inspiration can come to us in many forms. Maybe the characters and story inspire us to create something new, or the visuals make us want to draw something or take up digital art. Perhaps a thoughtful quote shows us a new way of thinking about the world around us. This inspiration isn’t always life-changing, nor does it always make us change the way we think or see the world. Every now and then, games inspire us to try something new that might not have occurred to us on our own.
Recently, I was reminded of this type of inspiration courtesy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
My brother is the type of person who focuses mostly on the task at hand. He doesn’t like to go outside of his comfort zone by trying new things. Convincing him to try something new is like asking your dog to go outside in the rain. It does happen, eventually, but not without some grumbling and more than one look of betrayal and agony. He spends much of his time in his room reading forums, playing video games, and watching YouTube videos about playing video games. He has his routines well-honed.
That’s not to say that he doesn’t do anything beyond his usual. I’m always impressed by his ever-growing art skills, and his Bionicle creation skills are nearly legendary. He rides his bike to work regularly, helps me take care of my dogs on occasion, and regularly attends events with the music fraternity that he joined.
After sharing an apartment with him for the past few years, I have noticed that his comfort zone doesn’t tend to include any kind of domestic activities, including cleaning or cooking. Overall, this is not a bad thing, and it is not unique only to him. There are plenty of people out there who have similar habits. But it can be inconvenient sometimes.
I usually split dinner making with my husband, but occasionally ask my brother to help out and prepare a meal. Requests of this sort are usually met with begrudging acceptance, and he asks me (or calls mom) to find out what he should make for dinner. His go-to meal is tacos, which he has down to a comfortable science.
Just the other night, however, he blindsided me by volunteering to cooking dinner. Not only did he step up to make us all dinner, but he also went out of his way to create a dish that he had never made before: salmon with green beans and mushrooms on a bed of spinach.
Later, he told me that inspiration for the dish came from a session of Zelda. After working his way through some especially difficult battles, it was time to cook an army’s worth of hearty (because it’s Zelda) meals to prepare for future encounters. One of those happened to be a fish dish. Out of the blue, he decided that he wanted to cook fish for dinner.
The dish didn’t change his life, but it was fun for him to make and offered him a new experience. It served as a reminder that even if a game isn’t inspiring you to go become the next Shigeru Miyamoto or Takashi Tezuka doesn’t mean that it isn’t giving you opportunities to grow.
Bonus: If you enjoy food creations inspired by pop culture, check out Cartooncravings for fun recipes inspired by cartoons and anime. This blogger does a great job, offering not only recipes, but also thoughtful looks at the shows the food comes from.