I’ve enjoyed playing video games ever since I got my first Gameboy Color and Pokemon Red. For my birthday one year I received a Playstation 2 as a gift and no exaggeration, it ended up changing my life. Beyond my rounds of playing Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, I eventually played Silent Hill 2, which would leave a large impact on me. I recently stumbled upon fellow fiction author Drew Chial’s article on how the Silent Hill series inspired his writing, and it got me thinking about how some of the games that I have played over the years have also had an impact on my creativity. For me, video games have become more than just an entertaining way to pass the time: they’ve unexpectedly played a part in fueling my creative process.
The Silent Hill Series
I’ve already mentioned in a previous post how much of an impact Silent Hill 2 left on me (I’m not the only one) and how it got me into the horror genre. From my youth I was always interested in reading about the supernatural. My interest in Silent Hill became an extension of that. A major part of the series is a cult called “The Order” that runs the town and whose beliefs involve dark rituals. One of the most prominent in the series is the 21 Sacraments, a ritual that the antagonist Walter Sullivan seeks to awaken his mother. Both the ideas of a cult existing behind the scenes and magic rituals with dark consequences have come to feature in my stories.
Then there’s the Silent Hill soundtrack. I don’t think my life would be complete without Akira Yamaoka’s haunting soundtrack to the series, which I often listen to while crafting spooky scenes when I’m writing. The music helps me invoke the more unsettling and scary moments that I’ve experienced while playing the series.
“Room of Angel,” from the Silent Hill 4 soundtrack, is one of my favorites:
About a year after I got my PS2 and got my first taste of Silent Hill, I requested The Sims on PC as a birthday gift, and I subsequently spent hours upon hours playing this game. The Sims was the first game I played that allowed me to be fully creative, crafting my own characters and creating soap operas out of their lives. Sometimes these stories would take on a life of their own and I would flesh them out and jot them down on paper. This is, strangely enough, how my Kindred series began. Alejandra was a sim that I created with the goal of collecting magical artifacts and creatures and storing them in her mansion. When I purchased the Supernatural expansion pack, I created a few other sims to move in with her and create my idea of a coven. From there, the story grew and grew, and before I knew it I had a series on my hands.
Here’s the original sim Alejandra, exploring tombs in The Sims version of Egypt:
The Sims is also great for visualizing what my characters would look like and how they might dress. One of the stories in the original Kindred storyline was about an all girls rock band (somewhat inspired by The Runaways) that used dark magic to fuel their success. I created the band using The Sims:
I also enjoyed messing around and creating fake movie posters featuring the characters from Kindred – here’s one of the outtakes from the photo shoot:
These days, I still enjoy gaming though I don’t play them as often as I used to. Some recent favorites are the Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto series, which I more so play for entertainment rather than looking for creative inspiration. Despite this, one of my favorite games of all time, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, has gone on to inspire the setting of one of my stories. The story mostly takes place in a touristy area that I imagine would have a similar feel to Vice City. Listening to songs from the new wave radio station that I would often have on while playing helped me set the mood for the story and envision what living in this place would be like.
Moral of the story: you can find creative inspiration from unexpected places.