There’s moments in life where something grabs our attention to become a better person. There’s also moments in life if certain circumstances didn’t play in our favor, things would have been different. Today I’m going to go over the top 10 influences which helped me become a better person. Friends, family, religion, and even pets are omitted to prevent conflict and/or potential debates regarding certain situations.

10. Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo

The “ultimate console war” to us gamers who were around in the 90’s. However, it’s more than just gaming is why these made the list; it’s about the ultimate life lesson – balance. Granted Sega will always hold a place in my gaming crusades, Super Nintendo will also hold a place as the contender who offered certain experiences Sega couldn’t compete with.

9. Napster

The start of online file sharing. PSN, XBL, Steam, and even Google Docs owe their services to this group of college students who wanted to share music without having to visit each other. With their technology, today we have the option to send physical material through the mail, or copy and send through email. Thanks to them, what would cost excessive $ can now be completed by a few clicks on the internet.

8. Dragon Ball series

The action, Super Saiyan, frienemies, and extensive screaming for 45 minutes is NOT why this made the list. It’s something even bigger than those reasons – competition. Because of competition, customers win because you want to do better than the other person. In this series, it’s always about hard work, sacrifice, and how the end result always goes in your favor. Even if you lose, you still learn that you’re capable of more than what you thought.

7. Robert Greene (Author)

A psychologist who turned author, every book I’ve read from him have been nothing but excellent. His methods involve a lesson, a couple of stories to help understand the why, and applies those lessons to our everyday living. Because of him, I, myself even learned certain areas about myself no other person could explain.

6. Arcades

The go-to spot back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. This is multiplayer – meeting people face to face, countless amounts of competition, and even the start of esports. To this day I still try to find arcades to visit; not for the nostalgia, but this is the perfect place to meet other gamer friends. I remember my parents never having to wonder where I was because where there was an arcade, I was there playing.

5. Final Fantasy 8

The game which saved me when I was younger. Why? Because whoever helped in making this game, went to an American high school and knew the troubles involving adolescence. Granted I was real young when it released, there’s still a lot of high schoolers today that can learn from this game – friendships, trouble, being the good/bad guy in someone else’s perspective; it’s all here in one package. And with the recent re-release on current-gen consoles, this is one game I highly suggest for anyone going through troubles involving middle/high school and even college.

4. Fighting game tournaments

Just like arcades, this is an excellent place to meet other gamer friends. The competition, friends, expensive food, and even cosplaying (dressing up as your favorite character(s)) are just part of the experience. I voted this higher because I was able to use Evo as proof you can make money off playing fighting games. You win, lose, learn, and have an excellent time. I also met an irreplaceable friend at my first Evo in 2013 – Gary Salinas (Shockbeast).

3. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

If you know the enemy, and you know yourself, you needn’t fear the result of 100 battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every win there’s also a loss. If you don’t know the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb to every battle – Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception

This book is by far the ultimate guide to daily life. The lessons learned in this book can apply to warfare, as well as metaphors in life. The book can be read in under an hour, and yes there are cheap physical versions and free .pdf versions for everyone to read. Anyone, regardless of background, can benefit from this book. If you want a good start in leadership, this is an excellent read.

2. Street Fighter 2

The game which brought even my dad into gaming to an extent. This game will always be the first time in my life where I had the upper hand against strangers and other classmates, and felt good in the process. The ultimate reason why I voted this at #2; all my best friends I met through playing this game at some point in life. The game also taught me something no other medium at the time (and even today) could – bonding.

  1. Final Fantasy 11

For the first time in my life (at time of purchasing this game), this game taught so many lessons to count; I’ll go over the top highlights:

Meeting people just like me, meaning I’m not the only one regardless of what society says

Communication with other nationalities to learn about other’s cultures

What addiction actually is

Balance between real life and fantasy

How to handle loss (around the time my dog Sandy disappeared)

How tell who your real friends are

Cross play between PlayStation 2, PC, and Xbox 360 which meant more friends

This game sucked the life out of me for almost 10 years (off and on); however, there’s so many memories this game provided that can’t be replicated even to today’s standards. Some of the people I met on this game I still communicate with today; which is unheard of in certain circles once a game’s popularity goes down. I remember waking up early hours in the morning for a boss fight, and staying up till almost daylight for that next win.

Some honorable mentions:

PlayStation/Nintendo 64 – enhanced my balance

Celsius Green Tea – providing healthier alternatives for diets

Batman – realistic comic hero with mental issues

Cowboy Bebop – mature anime revolving around people who work together

Fallout New Vegas – a game I can play for hours on end when I need an escape

Mass Effect 2 – the perfect allegory against racism

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