The Inspiration of "Uncharted"
I believe that it is impossible to deny the scope that Uncharted has been able to achieve throughout the series' five installments. Even at the most basic level, Uncharted has gained critical acclaim for everything ranging from graphical capabilities to the realism of its characters. For me, the beauty of Uncharted came from the longing for adventure that it instilled in me and although I would never become Nathan Drake, the lure of the world was inescapable.
It all started with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune in 2007, following the charismatic Nathan Drake on a journey led by the journal left by Sir Francis Drake. His expedition, along with Elena and Sully leads him to the legendary El Dorado. Fraught with peril and stunning sights seeped in history and myth, the series although in some ways didn't majorly innovate the genre is terms of controls, it did improve and master them. Naughty Dog's (the developer) ability to create stunning visuals paired with wholesome characters and a well paced narrative ensured the success of Uncharted. Although Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, went on to obtain massive accolades it wasn't until the release of Uncharted: Among Thieves in 2009 that changed the shape of gaming itself. Naughty dog further pushed the boundaries of the PS3's graphical capabilities and continued to refine the story and characters which led to it receiving universal acclaim and quickly soared into people's hearts as a classic. The mix of myth coupled with a sense of adventure immerses you fully into the world of Uncharted and will leave you with a memorable experience to last a lifetime.
The Turning Point
Although there was a third game (Uncharted: Drake's Deception in 2011), the turning point in my life was the fourth and last instalment for Nathan Drake's story, Uncharted: A Thief's End (2016). At a time when I was conflicted with life and what I wanted to do, Uncharted, once again, offered a sort of separation from my own situation. It follows Nathan Drake years after his retirement from his line of work, trying to live a 'normal life', when his brother, Samuel Drake, needs his help. Watching the interactions between the characters and seeing Nathan's conflict between his new way of life and his love of adventure hit the mark. A sense of longing for the outside world hit me life a freight train. The longing for beautiful vistas, for an existence outside of the grind of the everyday filed my every waking moment the instance I picked up the game. The final straw was the conclusion, spoiler alert may be necessary, where Nate comes to terms with the need for both in his life. He is able to create a balance between the crazy dangerous adventures he used to have and living in a safer and healthier environment.
So what does that all mean? Where has it been leading too?
Well, for me, at least, it was a message of pursuing your passions, for being able to live by your own rules. When you realise that sometimes all that was needed was a push, one little bit of research, or meeting the right person to send you on that track you wonder why you never realised it before. So I decided to follow my heart, I left a sales job and I write this now while on an island in Greece. I even bought my Uncharted journal with me, that I had earned while working at a video game store, to record my own adventures. I knew I wouldn't be like Nathan Drake, I wasn't going to find Shambhala or Libertalia, but I am making my own adventures and I think back to this at every turn. Inspiration can come from everywhere and the believability of Uncharted and the sense of realism changed my life. Video games aren't all about shooting one thing after the other, they make you think and can completely alter your perspective, just as a good book or song can.
The dreamers of today are dangerous men for they may act their dreams with eyes open to make it possible.— T.E.Lawrence
Finally, with the recent release of The Lost Legacy, ten years after Drake's Fortune, I find myself sat on the beach overlooking the turquoise Aegean Sea watching a playthough of a piece of art that led me to this spot. Although I'm slightly sad I can't play it myself, there is nowhere I would rather be now. Instead of sitting at home playing the fourth instalment a year ago, I am now beginning my travels with Uncharted coming with me.
© 2017 Jack Moore