The literature in Manga and Video Games

“I hope that addiction of yours lands you a better job!” This is what my mother yells at me when she sees that I have spent too much time playing video games. Another one of her “boches” that makes me smile is when she yells, “Look at you! You are 23 years old and you still watch/read Muñequitos! You are not 10 years old anymore” as much as I want to explain to her about the many great things about manga and video games, I know that she will not understand its beauty. It is not just my mother that fails to realize this, it is also a majority of the population that places a negative stigma on Japanese comics/Manga and Video Games.

There is also a sense of irony here, the things that my mother sees as counterproductive, has molded me into the man I am today. What society sees as the doming down of the brain, I see as a new kind of literature and a new way to teach children about different cultures and history. For example, Assassin’s Creed 2 showed the world how fun it is to be able to both play in Renaissance Italy whilst also learning about it. Playing as EzioAuditore one travels to beautiful cities such as Florence, Venice, Forli, and Tuscany while learning about historical figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia). The Assassin’s Creed franchise is not necessarily the first there are many but the first game that taught me that the history I was taught in school was merely a grain of sand in an endless desert.

The Game was Koei’s  Dynasty Warriors which painted  the fall of the Eastern Han Dynasty and the rise of the Jin dynasty in an intense story full of iconic characters such as Guan Yu, who later became deified in different religions: guardian deity in Taoism, Bodhisatva in Buddhism, and worshipped as an indigenous Chinese deity. Another character, TsaoTsao, who is known for his manipulation of the emperor and beautiful poetry and Short Song Style.

Another beauty of this game was that it had a database full of historical facts and it separates them between historical and hypothetical, due to the fact that game is based on the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong.  I read over the database just as much as I played the game. Another game that was also made by Koei, Samurai Warriors, and this game was a set in Japan just before Ieyasu Tokugawa united Japan and isolated the country for 200 years from the rest of the world, the Sengoku period; and just like Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors had an extensive database about the people and the events during the Sengoku period. From the Sengoku period I learned about the Bakumatsu, the closing curtain on the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the nationalist known as the IshinShishi. By reading the manga RurouniKenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story by Nobuhiro Watsuki. 

Video games and manga catapulted me in a world that I often saw as dull and boring, literature, the former showed that literature is exciting, captivating, and inspirational  and that it is also an art woven by words and images. I began to binge on books, starting from The Art of War, The Prince, Gilgamesh, Homer’s Epic, The Three Theban Plays, The Labyrinth of Solitude, and the Alchemist, etc… Video Game literature can not only teach us about history but also the art of creating worlds that take a life of their own, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Metal Gear Solid, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy. Video Games teaches us about how magical it is to create a world and how it impacts people, the death of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic, a personal favorite is Lavitz from Legend of the Dragoon, because I became very invested in the character because he was my favorite to play with. Manga and video games are merely books redefined, they take us on a trip full of emotions, they teach us empathy, and they create pieces of art that I can never stop to admire.

My name is David Alfredo Paulino. I graduated from SUNY Cortland with a international studies major with a concentration in Global Political Systems and my minors are Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Asia and the Middle East.

I was born in Manhattan, NYC, but I currently live in the Bronx with my Mother, little sister, and Stepfather. Although I was born here most of my fondest memories come from my frequent visits to the Dominican Republic, and always being there. I even stayed there for a year due to my constant going back and forth, I grew to love the atmosphere there and sometimes I yearn for it more than the actual city.

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