I must admit, I had trouble deciding on what to write about this week. As I stared at the serene glow of my computer late into the night, reflecting on failed friendships and the humorous image of a cat that one friend of mine posted to my profile, it seemed that I was hit with writers block.
And then, inspiration came to me. As I arose this morning I discovered that today was “Star Wars Day”. In the spirit of this holiday that can also be used to mock people with a lisp, I figured I would write about my favorite section of this storied franchise, and how it influences me today.
Let me begin by (As I am one to frequently do.) taking you back to the past. The year is 2004, I am a young eleven year old in the process of tearing open the tightly wrapped Christmas presents my parents carefully placed under the real tree (That my father had a hilariously hard time putting up.) in our home. After going through two or three items that my faded memory tells me were somewhat underwhelming, I at last came upon the grand jewel of the lot of merchandise.
In a very large container was an Xbox, and a copy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Now, as I was slightly less mature than I am now (For real-real, I’m a modern day Peter Pan in some ways.), I lost my shit. Somewhere in the vast recesses of my childhood home, there’s video of me screaming and shouting like a blind man who suddenly gained the ability to see again.
So, after the still for some reason required trip to my grandparents’ house that no one in my family ever really seemed to enjoy, I was finally free to dive into this RPG from Bioware. Using an old TV and a spare room in my house, I booted up the console and put the disc into the tray.
From the get go, I was hooked. Where in my normal life, I was the awkward and bookish child who never fit in with his peers, here in this world I was in charge. With my sidekick Carth, I would find Bastila, escape Taris and put an end to the reign of terror that the evil Darth Malak had been extending across the galaxy. At last, I would get to be the noble hero for a change.
Or so I thought. Like every kid who is young and doesn’t take their time to learn the inner workings of a great game, I soon became frustrated by the difficulty of the piece. No matter what I tried and no matter how I went about it, it seemed that the lower levels of the first planet you encountered always led to my undoing (Having my foolish sister erase my save didn’t help either.). Thus, the game was set aside, left to collect dust on an old TV tray in an unused room.
Having left the quest to stop evil and restore peace to the galaxy, I went back to my normal routine of reading, ostracization from those around me, and wishing I lived somewhere else. It seemed that the first Kotor would take its place in history as one of my great unfinished games.
Thankfully, that was not to pass.
Somewhere in the summer of 2005, my older sisters then boyfriend (Who was a little dumb, but still very nice.) hooked me up with a disc from Official Xbox Magazine (OXM). Though I didn’t think much of the gift at first, I was pleased as punch to discover that there was a special file for Kotor on it. When downloaded and accessed in game, it gave your character unlimited funds. Determined to finish what I had long since abandoned, I installed the file and cheated my way off Taris. I may take some flak for that, but what can I say? I was 12 and very impatient then.
So, for the rest of the year, I played. When I wasn’t focusing on school, I was playing Kotor. When I would get into trouble for silly things and my father would ban me from playing, II would sneak in time with the game when he was asleep. Thankfully the man can doze through an air raid. As I got deeper and deeper into the games story, I must admit I was shocked at its twist.
For those of you who haven’t played this 10 year old game, it is revealed at the midway point in the story that your character is actually the mentor of the stories villain. Yes, I was Darth Revan. Though curiously, my actions throughout the game didn’t reflect this villainous background.
While venturing around Korriban, Dantoonie, Maanan and the forest floor of Kashyyk, I made great pains to help those I encountered. Whether it was bringing peace between two feuding families or preventing Wookies from falling into slavery, I walked the proverbial path of light.
A day or two after experiencing this plot twist. I must admit I came to a certain realization about myself and the locale I inhabited. Though times were tough at that point in my life, that darkness that I felt was not set in stone. In time, I would get to leave Canada and walk my own path in life. Much like my Revan, it was I who set my image in the world, not anyone or anything else.
With a little bit of peace granted to myself (Though I still struggled and had hard moments like many others.), I played on and finished the story in early 2006. As the credits rolled, I truly felt like the Prodigal Knight that saved the galaxy and vanquished those who would enslave it.
After that, I later picked up the sequel and played that obsessively as well. I don’t mean to be silly, but if I had to estimate, I would say that I’ve played through both games about 200+ times each. Still today they influence me, as a writer, I always make sure to use a diverse crop of characters. As a person, I always try to go to great lengths to help people wherever and whenever I encounter them. Though my parents probably wish I did a lot less of that. They worry a lot.
That’s it gang, that’s my story, and yes, I still hold out absurd hope for a proper 3rd game.