Video games - these simple and complex things of story, graphics, and lines and lines of code have won the hearts and minds of a good majority of people at some stage in their lives. They have helped form massive communities, and has been the focus of major events and competitions around the world. They've forged many friendships, even helped people find love, and have helped guide generations of people through good and bad times.
But the question I have for the gaming community is this: How did you get into gaming, whether casual, hardcore or professional? And what kind of games did you grow up playing? There's not one answer for every person in the gaming community, so let me tell you my story of how I went from your normal everyday person to gaming enthusiast.
Level One - Childhood
During my childhood I was exposed to a number of different games and consoles, from PC, Nintendo 64 and PlayStation to the not-so-well-known Virtual Boy which, after an hour of playing, gave me crazy back and neck pains...yay. Some of the most memorable games that I played included:
- Commander Keen - PC
- Wolfenstein 3D - PC
- Doom - PC
- Super Smash Bros. - N64
- Pokemon Stadium - N64
- Crash Bandicoot - Playstation
But unfortunately, due to my parents not allowing me to own a gaming console, my game time was limited to when I was over at a friend's house. That all changed when I managed to get my hands on the console that would kick off my gaming addiction...the Game Boy Color. My gaming addiction officially started with me pouring hour after hour into Pokemon Gold and Silver, making sure that I, like Ash Ketchum, caught 'em all, but eventually poured over into games like Donkey Kong: Country, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos and various Yu-Gi-Oh! games.
I continued my gaming addiction when I got the Game Boy Advance, and pursued my love for the Pokemon games with the addition of Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, as well as other games like Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. My handheld console gaming continued for quiet some time, until I procured my next gaming console to feed my growing addiction.
Level Two - Console Gaming
As I got older, my parents were kind enough to get me my first "proper" gaming console, an Xbox, along with Sega GT 2002, Brutal Force and Halo: Combat Evolved. Armed with my potato controller, I fought waves upon waves of aliens in Brutal Force, raced against the ridiculously aggressive AI drivers in Sega GT 2002, but eventually fell in love with Halo's storyline and combat. I immediately purchased Halo 2 when it came out, and promptly moved onto the Xbox 360 as soon as Halo 3 was released, and have continued to buy the Halo games stopping at Halo 4 as I do not own an Xbox One to buy the rest of the series. I also had fun playing through the craziness that is Serious Sam, often inviting friends over to play co-op campaign - arming us with cannons against the alien hordes.
During this time, I also managed to buy myself a GameCube, along with Pokemon XD and Pokemon Colosseum, in order to continue following the Pokemon craze. However, like the console itself, my play-time with the GameCube was short lived compared to the Xbox, and I was also being introduced to the wonderful world of PC Gaming!
Level Three - PC Gaming
Ah, PC Gaming - where it can be expensive to build a computer that can run almost every game, and it breaks pretty much all the time. But after encountering ridiculous amounts of young teens with microphones on Xbox 360, it's definitely worth the cost (if you have read my League of Legends community article, it's not always the case). PC Gaming would have to be the one area of the gaming world that most people are introduced to by friends, family or others, and for me it was no different. Although I played various PC games in my youth, I was formally introduced to PC gaming when I was in high school, as all of my friends at the time played Counter Strike: Source. This was also the time where I was introduced to Steam, where I made my first purchases - Counter Strike: Source and Half-Life 2.
After spending various nights playing Counter Strike: Source with my friends, I decided to further expand my games library to include other FPS titles, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, as well as expanding into other genres: RTS (Company of Heroes, Dawn of War, StarCraft), Adventure (King's Quest, A Story About My Uncle, various Telltale games), RPG (Dragon Age, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Diablo), and many more. Six years, two PCs, and 500+ games later, I still find myself enjoying my day by playing various games from my Steam library, or other games that I have installed on my PC, by myself, with friends and the person that I love. I also have my PlayStation 2 and 3 which I play those pesky PlayStation exclusives like Uncharted, Kingdom Hearts and Crash Bandicoot, and a Nintendo 3DS to continue my handheld console gaming today. But regardless of how many games I have now, and how many consoles I play across, I will never forget those days of yore, where gaming had made a massive impact on my life.
Now It's Your Turn!
And now I invite you, yes you, to join me in exploring how you too went from average person to intrepid gamer, and what kind of games you played in your youth to today!