Well... where to begin?! Let’s start with something called TV boy. I must have been around six or seven years old when one day my dad bought home this thing. It was a remote you plug into the TV, with several games on it. It was the most basic gaming system with no ability to save; games like pong; as well as other pick up & play stuff. Looking back at it now it seems so uninteresting not to mention repetitive, however at the time as my mind or technology hadn’t evolved I found myself spending so many hours in front of the TV fighting off turns with my brother to play these random games. I, and an old neighbour of mine would always be around each other’s almost all day playing video games, he had a PC with similar, very basic and repetitive games; he also had a Super Nintendo which was my introduction to Street Fighter 2! We would button bash the whole day away into this game, it was like a never ending circle rotating between the 4 of us, (my brother and his brother would pretty much always be present).
I can’t quite remember when but around a year into the SNES my neighbours dad bought a Sega Mega Drive! We must have been 7 or 8 years old, and then it got a little more serious... Mortal Kombat, Sonic, Bomber Man, Streets of Rage, and so many others I can’t recall all the names. At this point I still had my TV Boy of lameness, around the same time he had purchased a Gameboy and Pokémon Red; at this point it does seem like his parents were very nice and mine were horrible for not buying me any proper game consoles BUT I assure you it was literally because they wanted us to focus in school, hah! One of my fond memories of the Mega Drive was this one came with a small original controller, and a GIANT one with turbo buttons, a huge joystick and it was almost as big as the console itself. Oh the how fun it was to button bash with full blown fists on Mortal Kombat not thinking at all that the thing might break.
I remember very well that I was always the person who would get the “new” game console or game LONG AFTER everyone else, possibly because I wasn’t spoilt at all at birthday’s or Christmas. So summers and weekends were all spent at my neighbours and somewhere between 9 or 10 we both bought Nintendo 64’s, Perhaps the most fun I have ever had out of a console. Though he bought it way before me and my brother the real epicness began when we could play 4 players. Games like Golden Eye, Mario Kart, Mario 64, F-zero X, Bomber man Hero, Banjo Kazooie, as well as so many more were all spammed to the point at which the cartridges had to be blown in order to work. I also recall Pokémon Stadium (mainly because I forced my parents to pay £50 for it, which they didn’t let me forget easily) as an awesome game because of the multi player high score based mini games that never got boring. It also came along with a adaptor you insert into the N64 controller, which allowed you to play your Gameboy games on the TV, at the time to us this was the best invention we had ever seen.
After having some awesome times with the N64 it was only a matter of time before the Playstation came along, once again my neighbour and most of my friends had it at least a year before me... >_>. I managed to obtain the PS1 (small white one) soon enough with Street Fighter EX2 Plus, which was so much fun as I could recall almost all the characters from playing it earlier on the SNES. I remember Tomb Raider quite well although I don’t think I ever completed it, Driver & Driver 2 were both also amazing games, almost like the GTA before GTA decided to move into a full 3D platform. When you could get out of the car and get into another in Driver 2, I was more than amazed at how free I felt in game, ha...ha. Metal Gear Solid has to be one of my favourite PS1 games, the comic like exclamation marks and box disguises alongside a lengthy, detailed storyline. There was also a game called “Jackie Chan Stuntmaster” which was a beat em up single player where you basically went around kicking ass around New York. I remember renting many times although I never bought it. One strange thing I did as a kid was rent games I would never end up buying, instead I would just rend familiar titles over and over again.
Considering handheld gaming I did have my fair share of Nintendo’s Gameboys, beginning with of course the colourless Gameboy. The main game I spammed on there was like I mentioned before, Pokémon Red, just to clarify, my Megadrive and Gameboy were once my neighbours and he actually gave both to me when he bought himself a Nintendo 64, I still own the Megadrive which till this day works ^__^ . Later on as time progressed with the PS1, I purchased a Gameboy Advance, games like the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series and Pokémon Crystal do are the ones I remember most with this console, although I didn’t spend too much time on it; it was something you would bust out when you had friends round to give to whoever isn’t on the console, aha.
After around a year into secondary school my parents bought me and my brother a PS2 for our birthday (yes, I have a twin) which came with GTA 3. I must say that game was VERY awesome because you could steal cars, kill people and be rewarded in game!! Ok joking aside, as desensitising as it sounds it was very enjoyable to play bringing a strong escapism. Personally I enjoyed the easy going games like the Gran Turismo series where it wasn’t something you took seriously, something where you could have a laugh. I did however, have my fair share of RPG games such as Boulders Gate 2 alongside a few from the Lord of the Rings series. As someone who used to play a lot of football I also loved the good old footy games and Pro Evolution Soccer on PS2 was something a lot of my friends also played so it was always fun to enjoy in a group.
As far as PC gaming goes, I didn’t really play any at all, except the one mostly everyone else has played, World of Warcraft, (don’t judge me, I was young). Seriously though up till this day I still think WoW was one of those games I have most enjoyed yet most hated. Personally I think the MMORPG idea is genius as it allows everyone to compete equally to enjoy the experience as a community but at the same time it can be a breeding ground for addictions that distance people from reality. I was also one to spend more than six hours a day on this game, starting at around 15 years old, I quit by the time I was 17 as I saw it almost leeching away my life! Games such as this I would probably never go back to, but at the same time I am always interested in what new content it has to offer each time a expansion hits the stores because I am still interested in the concept. It seems games like these are very hard to play casually as it’s a never ending psychological reward system, similar to a rat in a maze being given a piece of cheese each time it figures out the way; but the maze is never ending and the rewards become very repetitive. I think WoW and other MMO’s can only be enjoyed to their potential if many of your real life friends are online with you, but still something I wouldn’t personally go back to.
Ok, WOW that’s a lot of words on my gaming history, although there’s still a little bit more to go! What do I play today? Am I a gamer? I don’t think so, not at all. Not 4ish years ago I purchased a 40GB PS3 with GTA 4; I have also been through Call of Duty 4 and MW2 although I only played both online with friends. Casually I find myself on Fifa 12 online just for a few games during breaks from university work and the last game I completed was Assassin’s Creed 2 which I must say is somewhat of a masterpiece, I found the game kept luring me into wanting more and when I finally completed it, I was satisfied with it. The most recent game I bought was Gran Turismo 5 over the Christmas break; coincidently I was working on a vehicle project; although an interest in cars is something I’ve had for a very long time. Personally when it came to games I have always considered myself somewhat of a “light weight” especially these last few years I haven’t seen myself get attached to anything nor was I interested greatly in one single game where I could proudly brag about how awesome I am at it. On the other hand, I am very interested in what the future has to hold especially a decade from now where gaming as we know it may have completely evolved into something my generation may consider alien. As for a game I would like to play today? Star Wars: The Old Republic looks really cool, as I am also interested in MMO’s I think it’s something I could enjoy, but it would possibly mean ending/failing my degree, aha but seriously it does seem like a overall, solid, in depth and interesting game as it is backed by a strong and almost every lasting franchise.