Welcome to Growing Up Geek, a feature where we take a look back at our youth, and tell stories of growing up to be the nerds that we are. This week, we have our new associate editor, Melissa Grey!
Sometimes, the formative moments in your life happen when you least expect them. One such moment occurred for me in 1997, as I watched my brother pilot Cloud Strife through the ruins of the Forgotten City while Aerith Gainsborough clasped her hands in prayer. We'd taken turns playing Final Fantasy VII on and off for days. He bemoaned my stubborn inclusion of Red XIII in every party and we both developed gambling habits at the Gold Saucer on the outskirts of North Corel. We argued about the validity of Yuffie Kisaragi's existence and watched in awe as Sapphire Weapon emerged from the sea to attack Junon. We laughed. We cried. We experienced a game unlike anything we'd ever played before, but nothing could have prepared us for what happened next.
As a sword-wielding Sephiroth fell on Aerith like an avenging angel, I felt the Earth tilt on its axis. It wasn't simply the unexpected plot twist that left me reeling. No, it was deeper than that. I realized in that moment that the figures on my screen had transcended the jagged stacks of polygons that made them. They had become real to me. The loss of one of them, fictional as it was, cut me to the quick. It was then that I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to devastate people the way I had been devastated. I wanted to build worlds as fantastical as Midgar and populate them with characters as richly layered as Vincent Valentine. I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to be a writer.
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