70% of my body is made of videogames

zelda changed my life ft. HRT


i'm sure a lot of people say this, but i was born at a pretty interesting time. in 2004 the internet was already an established part of global culture, everyone had a computer, movies were being made with 3D computer graphics and videogames were being made with increasing levels of detail and fidelity. i was raised in this world, one reliant on technology, and so it's essentially shaped my entire personality. growing up my family were very adaptive when it came to tech, so an alarming amount of my earliest memories have something to do with using a PC or playing videogames or handling the first iphone or messing with my sister's DS when she really didn't want me to.

before i even knew how to tie my shoes i was watching youtube videos with my relatives, and it was always light stuff For The Funnies but it undoubtedly impacted my humor and personality. this was accompanied by LITTLEBIGPLANET, my first online game and also my first game in general i think, which hosted user-made levels to bring an online networking experience to a home console. i loved the game so much that my first handheld was a PSP bundled with the portable version of LBP, so it's safe to say that for the first handful of years i was a playstation kid (with mobile games on the side; i kept up to date on stuff like ANGRY BIRDS and JETPACK JOYRIDE).

something i wasn't so familiar with was NINTENDO, who i only knew for making the wii and DS. we had a wii, everyone had a wii, but i never played on it that much and as i said i wasn't allowed on my sister's DS. all i knew of nintendo was MARIO KART, because it's literally the only first-party wii game we owned that wasn't the packed-in copy of wii sports. nintendo games were always there, but just kinda out of reach while i mainly played games on everything the heck else our family had. this meant, mainly, that i really really wanted a DSi because it had all these games on it that i sometimes saw my sister playing on her pink DS lite. for christmas in 2011 i got a 3DS instead.

the problem with the 3DS is that, even at the end of its launch year when it definitively Had (some) games, there wasn't much for a gremlin like me apart from mediocre licensed tie-ins and SUPER MARIO 3D LAND. even though it was backwards compatible with regular DS games, i didn't know that at all and neither did my parents, so while my sister had NINTENDOGS and ZELDA on her DS i basically only got mario games. 3D LAND and then MARIO KART 7 and then NEW SUPER MARIO BROS 2 -- all good mario games for sure, but you can see the lack of variety in first party titles i had. i DID have some others, but it was uh... tintin? lego games? essentially, i was getting a pretty watered-down first DS experience, and i was always envious of other kids at school who had original DS games -- they may have been older, but they had street cred. i couldn't get anyone to play mario kart 7 with me locally, cuz no one even had a 3DS.

allow me to get to the point here though! i had limited knowledge of nintendo. i got those AR cards bundled with the 3DS, but the only character i could name was mario! well, kinda.

i distinctly remember my sister telling me i couldn't play THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: PHANTOM HOURGLASS on her DS cuz it was for girls. that main character with the long hair is CLEARLY a girl. she specifically told me the ZELDA series is about playing as the princess, which meant it's for girls. so it was always off limits! when i got the AR cards, i could name ZELDA. it was actually LINK, but i didn't know that yet.

a couple years would pass, and my experience with games still leaned heavily towards whatever playstation was doing, as well as ipad games. around the start of 2014, i finally figured out that i should ask my parents for the wifi password so my 3DS could connect to the internet, meaning eshop access, meaning i could download random demos and get a look at whatever was out. and then, closer to april or may, something happened that rewired my brain forever.

i had pretty much unrestricted access to youtube when i borrowed my parent's ipad, which meant i could look up anything and watch anything that i wanted. access to youtube wasn't anything new, i'd been watching videos on the computer since i was in preschool, but the ipad kinda shook up the dynamic and made it feel more personal. i could just watch Anything, and this naturally made me curious. i had mario games on my 3DS, i liked mario, so one night i decided to type "mario" into the youtube search bar. uh oh!

i watched a few top 10 videos about mario, nothing wild, one thing led to the other and suddenly i'm watching a top 10 about ZELDA instead. this was uncharted territory for me, a series i'd barely even Witnessed, now being talked about to me through youtube as if i've always known it. glimpses of zelda footage through early 2010s clip editing had sent my curiosity skyrocketing, because i was being presented this stuff with the intended context that i'd know what i was even looking at. i didn't, i had no idea what zelda was even about, so it was a weird experience overall. these videos were not made for me, but i was totally enamored. anyway then i clicked on a game theory video

"Game Theory: Is Link Dead in Majora's Mask?" is probably singlehandedly responsible for why my interest in videogames is as strong as it is. while littlebigplanet was foundational in my understanding of games, this youtube video on its own coerced me into being a curious freak about videogame history. i had no idea what the HELL mat "game theory" pat was talking about, nor his collaborative guest star for the video peanutbuttergamer, but i was fascinated with the subject matter alone. it was like, shit, should i have known about this stuff? is nintendo THIS important? the background music, notably the selective SNES RPG soundtracks, also added to the mystique of it all. there was an ascertainable Vibe i pieced together from this external view of a game i'd only just discovered, and it was only the beginning.

as months passed, this weird subset of nintendotubers is all i would watch on youtube. it became my new primary interest, but the entire time i was viewing it through this lens, and that maybe sucks. a lot of people can be weirdos when it comes to making videos for a target audience. a lot of the discussion around nintendo at the time was geared towards a particular mindset i can only describe as "white boy millennials who grew up on retro nintendo games and assume everyone else did the same", but i was still a kid! i'd just turned ten! i didn't know it was a regional thing, i just assumed EVERYONE played mario 64 when it came out because the guy on the ipad told me!

it was still incredibly informative to me though, because enough of the coverage was in-depth that i could actually learn about these miscellaneous retro games (with weird xenophobic gags about japan inbetween). it basically sealed my fate as a massive dweeb, and i've been consuming videogame info via youtube ever since. with so much time though, a lot has obviously changed! after a couple years of being converted into a nintendo fanatic, they announced the nintendo switch, the console we're still all using now. in the time since the switch launched, i went from an angsty schoolkid with terrible social skills to a university game design student making my own weirdo youtube videos. that might sound inspirational but there's possibly a more important personal development here lol.

when i originally found out ZELDA was a series in which you do not in fact play as the princess, it bended my entire worldview. the very idea of a BOY with features feminine enough to be mistaken as the princess blew me away, and it's stuck with me for years. this was the first time, that i remember at least, that i'd encountered gender nonconformity. it planted a seed in my brain that eventually grew into the realization i wasn't straight, which led to the realization i liked having long hair, which then took a concerning amount of time to lead to my realization that i'm not even the gender i was assigned at birth. i'm not sure if i blame LINK entirely for this, but it's one of those things that unveiled the very notion to me early on in life.

i started HRT yesterday.

around a decade after i tumbled into this huge rabbit hole of videogame niches, i've begun another life-altering change. i've known i'm trans for a couple years, but this is the first time i've gotten treatment for it, and i think it's neat that it's at this point, when i can look back on a solid decade and see how much has changed. for the most part, i don't watch many of those youtube channels anymore, i'm retroactively disgusted by that particular subset of nintendo-centric youtubers for a variety of reasons i won't get into. matpat was fine i guess, but earlier this year he god damn retired after the game theory channel grew to be one of youtube's biggest. most of the channels from that time i do still watch have significantly changed their style and sensibilities, shifting towards in-depth longform videos or aiming for something different entirely, while oldheads like the angry video game nerd remain exactly the same for increasingly corporate reasons. change is good, basically!

right now, i make my own videos and also i'm a girl. i was a girl this whole time, much like how i've loved games this whole time. all i've had to do is learn to improve myself, both personally and in making stuff for you. i know a heck of a lot more about videogames now, and also i'm a girl!