The first time that I was introduced to the world of video games was by my father. I must have been no older than five, made to sit at the dining room table on my father’s lap as he played Pac-Man on what must have been an Atari 2600. I was only little at the time, but I remember enjoying watching my father play video games. This is my earliest memory of gaming and led my brother and me to be given a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) as a gift a few years later. The number of hours played on Duck Hunt, Mario Bros, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles must easily be in the hundreds of hours each. These are a few of the games we had as children but the ones most synonymous with the late 80’s and early 90’s of my childhood.
As I got older, I transitioned to other consoles, such as the Sega Master System II that I bought with my birthday money one year. Sonic the Hedgehog fast became one of my favourite characters of all time and remains such to this day, but my favourite game that was released on this console will always be ‘Castle of Illusions’. This game is magical for me, being played through more times than I can even remember. The varied gameplay, brilliant music, and use of Disney characters was so well done. I’m sure many of us will remember this game from their childhood as fondly as I do. It was a little later that the Nintendo 64 burst onto the scene in a heated competition with Playstation. Once again my brother and I were bought an N64 for Christmas after deciding that we wanted the N64 over the Playstation. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much multiplayer fun as I did with GoldenEye for the N64. GoldenEye was hilarious fun; pitting you against your brother as your favourite villain, or any other character that you were allowed to use in the game. I liked to play as Oddjob whilst my brother often chose Jaws. The satisfaction of boobytrapping a room with explosives and goading your brother into running after you so you can blow him up has quite the appeal when you’re a youngster. The heavy sniggering of the ‘Slappers Only’ mode wasn’t lost on us as teenagers and isn’t to this day although running across the map to slap your brother to death was less a game of skill and more of who got the first slap in and could land every hit.
One of the best parts of playing Goldeneye in multiplayer was that we didn’t have two controllers for our console, but I did have a steering wheel that I was bought for Christmas. My brother would play with the controller and I’d use my wheel which meant that I could only strafe but I could change direction if I turned the wheel. The hilarity of streaking past your brother like a crab yet still be able to win the game caused quite a few arguments. Shouts of “will you give me a chance” complete with expletives made me laugh at him all the louder. Summer holidays when it wasn’t such nice weather outside were well spent on the N64 which still remains in the loft of my mother’s house packaged in its box. We were bought a Playstation shortly after the N64, which was where I discovered Lara Croft. The original Tomb Raider is one of my favourite games of all time, although how she was able to dust herself off after dropping her off a cliff always made me wonder if she was actually made of granite. I remember finishing Tomb Raider in no time at all then playing through it again as it was that good. The puzzle solving part had the greatest appeal for me as opposed to the gun battles. Some of the puzzles were fiendishly complicated and meant you’d be running around in circles for an hour or so trying to figure out what you had missed.
Resident Evil came to the console, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysey, Crash Bandicoot, then Grand Theft Auto. The original Grand Theft Auto was awesome. A game where you could do whatever you wanted, when you wanted, and maim, kill, and terrorise people in the comfort of your bedroom was unheard of. It became competitive in my house to run over all of the Hare Krishna groups sparing none, seeing just how much havoc you could cause before you got yourself killed by the police. At the time, it was the most played game in my school year with everyone trading tips, tricks, and bragging to each other about how they had completed the game, or how high their wanted level was and for how long before they died. As the Playstation was updated with the Playstation 2 we bought the new Grand Theft Auto and moved onto other games. Playstation 2 was the last console I owned before leaving my parents home and moving to London.
London was where the XBOX arrived in my life, being the first console I bought myself with one of my first month’s pay in my new job. Compared to today’s consoles it weighed as much as a corner sofa and had the computing power of a Nokia 3300. Regardless of this, I was so proud to take it home and sit playing video games on my living room floor. One of my favourite games of the console was ‘Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay’. Unfortunately, I can’t remember many other games from the console but I do remember that one. It was a good mix of frenetic gameplay alongside puzzle solving which really appealed to me. The best part of the game was when Riddick was gifted with eyeshine by the Pastor allowing him to see in the dark. I sometimes miss that massive black and green box but it ended up gathering dust as I moved back to PC gaming leaving the XBOX to become a glorified DVD player.
The game that I have played for the longest period of time on PC is easily EVE Online. I got into EVE after reading the PC Gamer article Murder Incorporated: ten months of deception for one kill in Eve Online. The article speaks of a corporation within EVE Online that had gained itself a lot of enemies, especially the CEO of the corporation ‘Mirial’. I read this article with great interest, about how it explained the efforts that other players had gone to to topple this powerful group of people, and rob them of their assets. Unlike other games such as World of Warcraft which I still play to this day players had no rules of ‘fair play’ enforced upon them, and scamming people in-game was completely legal.