I think anyone who partakes in the wonderful activity of gaming has been asked one defining question; ‘what was the first game you ever played.’ Now myself, I can barely remember what I did yesterday, never mind the events of the last *cough* twenty one *cough* years I’ve walked (and sometimes crawled, staggered) across the earth. My mother often enjoyed playing video games with me in my earlier years, therefore I thought she’d be the perfect person to consult whilst compiling my gaming history.
My mother’s immediate reaction was, ‘oh where do I start’, which did not surprise me at all. She vaguely remembers purchasing a SNES, referring to it as ‘the one you put the cartridge’ things in, which caused a smile to appear upon my face. I do possess a vague recollection of the Super Mario World title for the SNES. This probably explains my unhealthy obsession with anything related to Super Mario.
Another console mentioned was the Sega Mega Drive II. Again, I vaguely remember possessing it, but my title collection is nothing but a blur, owing to my age I presume. One magnificent confirmation of me owning the Mega Drive is a highly embarrassing picture of me I posted on Facebook, holding the controller whilst celebrating an early gaming victory, possibly!?
A console I hold extremely close to my heart would be my PlayStation. I swiftly built up an incredible collection of games from the likes of Croc to Hercules: Action Game. Of all the titles I received for my PlayStation, Crash Bandicoot is one that reminds me of the precious gaming memories I possess from my childhood. Doctor Neo Cortex swiftly became the ‘baddy’ according to my younger self, who I would spend hours seeking to defeat. I happily spent hours collecting Wumpa Fruit and attacking countless enemies with Crash’s infamous ‘spinning’ attack.
Having already caught the Sony bug by owning a PlayStation, it was inevitable that my younger self would nag my parents for the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 is a magnificent console, one that I still play regularly to this day. With a collection of games that easily surpassed 100 titles, my PlayStation 2 endured copious amounts of gameplay.
I was introduced to the Grand Theft Auto series whilst playing my PlayStation 2, much to the reluctance of my parents. A friend of mine brought Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for me to ‘try’ which lead to me harassing my parents to purchase it. This triggered my obsession with the Grand Theft Auto series and ultimately I became interested in games of a mature nature.
Another series of games I thoroughly enjoyed during my childhood were the wrestling games. Having been an avid wrestling fan from a young age, the Smackdown vs Raw games were a ‘must have’ for me each Christmas. Although I am not the wrestling fan I once was (apart from being a fan of the lovely John Cena and Randy Orton) this tradition remains to this day as I still receive a wrestling game for Christmas.
I think at some point in their lives, every gamer has owned a handheld console. I was lucky enough to have both a Game Boy, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance. A series that dominated the handheld market and continues to do so would be the Pokémon series. Pokémon played an integral part in my gaming endeavours. As a child my friends and I would often huddle around our Game Boy device, discussing and debating which Pokémon we would be trading with one another. This would usually lead to me having a tantrum when I didn’t receive the Pokémon I wanted. Not that I have tantrums at games anymore, I’ve grown out of it I promise…
My obsession with Pokémon, led to the purchase of a Nintendo 64. Placing Pokémon within the Pokémon stadium to duel and snapping pictures of them in their natural habitat during Pokémon Snap became my favourite pastimes. The Nintendo 64 is the console that I first discovered my profound love for the ‘Mario Kart’ franchise. Mario Kart 64 is a game I spent countless hours playing with friends.
After seeing an advertisement for the wondrous title Fable, I purchased the original Xbox. I opted for the crystal version of the console and received it for Christmas. I opened the box and was greeted to this beautiful console, with no controller…I believe this is every gamer’s nightmare. Determined to play my Xbox on Christmas Day, I attempted to play Fable using the d-pad of the steering wheel controller I received as a gift. Needless to say, this did not go according to plan. Fable is a title that broadened the spectrum of genres I became interested in as I grew up. The level of freedom and intriguing story of this title captivated me immensely. I recently played the original Fable again and it captured my attention and imagination with the same intensity as it originally did.
Although I owned various consoles throughout my childhood, I also dabbled briefly in PC gaming. Theme Park World is a title that swiftly took over my life. Nothing satisfied me more than building outrageous rollercoasters and having the ability to ride them in the first person. Theme Hospital is another title that I enjoyed immensely. It is one of the earliest examples of me purchasing the same title on two formats (PC and PlayStation.) With comical illnesses and hilarious visuals, Theme Hospital is a game that I enjoyed to such a degree that I still play to this day.
PC gaming triggered my interest in The Sims series. As most people know, The Sims is without a doubt my favourite game series ever. Most people would suggest that my profound love of The Sims, does not qualify me to call myself a ‘proper gamer’ (whatever that may mean.) If you read this thoroughly and the other ‘Retro Years’ pieces from my colleagues on the website, you will notice the games that we have played differs immensely. Does that suggest that one of us is a superior gamer to another? No, it reflects the beautiful catalogue of games that the gaming industry has supplied us with over the years.
I would like to thank anyone who actually took an interest in my gaming background and this piece of writing. There are countless other titles I could have mentioned, but I hope this paints an eclectic picture of what my ‘retro years’ of gaming consisted of!
Thanks again for reading,