My Gaming History, nostalgia til now
As we rapidly approach not only the end of the year but the end of the decade. It feels like the right time to look back on my personal gaming history. Gaming is a huge part of my life, but it hasn’t always been to the same extent. Now if you’ll permit me, I’d like to take you through some key gaming times in my life.
From Humble Beginnings
Growing up in the 90’s gaming was really passed the infancy stage. But, it was still far from what we have now. As a child gaming was a magical thing to behold, seeing friends SNES consoles and of course my first console the SEGA Genesis. Having a few brothers and sisters sort of around my age meant we had to share while playing. This meant restrictive time limits were in place, and that made gaming feel all the more special. What we would normally do was try to combine our allowed times so we could try and finish a game, or well come as close as we could.
And the games we would normally play? Well as pretty much any SEGA console owner would see in their library, it was Sonic the Hedgehog, and a few sequels. There were also some other games, a TMNT fighting game, some sort of Bejeweled-esque puzzle game. But the Sonic games were the ones that really stood out.
To Humble Slightly After Beginnings
The SEGA console was at my mother’s house, but my brother and I would spend weekends with our father too. So what were we to do there? Get another Genesis? Expand our selections with a SNES? Well, both those options would be nice, but instead, we made do with an Atari system. To be honest I’m not even sure what kind of Atari it was. But it had Pitfall and even less playable games. Time went on, and eventually, we added a Windows 95 PC to the mix.
The PC was definitely an evolution in gaming for us. While we lost the familiarity of controllers, we also lost the restrictive playtimes. And so marathon amounts of Age of Empires ensued. We also had some sort of Demo disk which had an overworld you could explore to find the demos to play. But, that wasn’t all, there were secrets to unlock and even more demos to find. A truly interesting idea that I wish caught on, it might have, but I haven’t heard or seen anything quite like it.
At this point, I will reveal to you, that although I had been playing games for years now. I didn’t really enjoy them. I never finished a Sonic game. Age of Empires would invariably end in using the cheats to do silly things like summoning the super priest or the big daddy car. But it was mostly fun because I knew gaming was supposed to be fun.
The Age of Loving Gaming
More time past and eventually even a relatively poor family like mine tried to catch up. The Genesis was traded in for a Playstation One, the Atari disappeared and a Nintendo 64 took its place. And that was when it happened. When the whole gaming thing started to make sense to me on a level it had never before. While there was still a bunch of bad and unenjoyable games out there that filled the gaming is fun because it’s gaming quota. Two titles stood out as genuinely interesting and engaging. One for each of the consoles we now had access to.
Spyro the Dragon, Banjo Kazooie. These dynamic duos (Spyro was accompanied by the Dragonfly Sparx) are my first memories of really loving games. Their worlds were vibrant, their character endearing and most of all, their gameplay was fun. Now both games here fall into the 3D platformer/collectathon genres and it’s still a genre I adore to this day. My siblings and I spent hours playing these games, getting lost in their worlds. If I had to pick between them I’d say Spyro would be my favourite, the first 3 games are among the finest ever made. Each one stands on my list of 100% completed games, and I still made an effort to grab the remastered versions to play them again. (I would happily play remastered versions of Banjo Kazooie and Tooie as well though).
Finding More To Love
After finding my love of gaming I spent a lot of time playing games, but the problem was I only had a few and no way to afford more. But this was the past, and the past had things called “video rental stores”. For those of you that don’t know video rental stores were kind of like libraries except you’d pay a small fee to borrow movies and games. For those of you that don’t know, libraries are kind of like a physical version of Netflix, except they have a finite amount of items so sometimes you have to wait for a book or movie to be returned before you can borrow it.
So video game rentals became a big part of my childhood, especially N64 games at my dad’s place. It was a fun and relatively cheap way of trying out all sorts of games. And if you didn’t like one, well after the weekend you wouldn’t have it anymore.
It was around these times that I borrowed a PS1 game, something I had never heard of that just caught my eye. A little game called Suikoden 2. Now I had not heard of the first Suikoden, nor did I know what the name meant (or how to pronounce it really). But I borrowed it and I was given the gift of what I consider to be gaming perfection. Suikoden 2 (and 1 for that matter) is a JRPG, or Japanese Role Playing Game, it uses a turn-based combat system with a large roster of characters and an interesting winding story. And I was in love.
Falling Down the Rabbit Hole
From there I was ravenous for more JRPG’s to play, and somehow I had managed to miss the entire Final Fantasy series which would have been up to about 8 or 9 at that stage. But I borrowed them from friends and am happy to report I loved them too. Time passed and I played all sorts of games, but I always held a special place for the 3D platformers and JRPG’s of my youth. Technology increased, the PS2, the Gamecube, the PS3, and of course a range of handheld consoles. My love of gaming had been imprinted in me and is likely to remain that way until I run out of 1-ups and experience permadeath.
While much time has passed, consoles are still a big part of my life. But, more and more PC gaming has become a big thing for me. Now more than ever my gaming library has become mostly PC–based. At first, it was a convenient way to keep games together without the need for disks. Then I started a YouTube Gaming channel and it is by far the easiest way to record. A side effect of moving toward a more PC-based gaming setup was the rise of indie gaming for me. A lot of indie games are available for PC and quite a few of those are PC exclusive.
I also found that a lot of Indie Developers and publishers are just great people. And from there I began covering more indie games on my channel. Combining my love of writing and gaming for sites like Sip Read Repeat. And for the first time in my life, I am actually enjoying what I’m doing.
The future looks bright folks, see you in 2020 with more gaming love.
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.