Monday, 8 April 2013

H - Highlights! My Top 10 Moments in Gaming

I reckon that every keen gamer, all over this good Earth, can pick a selection of moments in their personal journey that stand out to ever increase and galvanize their love of video games. This is my list of those intimate moments. 10 instances that gave me renamed love and insight into my personal gaming exposure. Whether it be getting ownership of the latest console, entering into the multi-player tournament for the first time or simply acquiring a sought after game, these moments stay with the gamer. He or she will draw experience and inspiration from this, and thus make them a better player across the board. Of course, this list may mean nothing to you, but maybe you can associate with the sentiment.
Quality Street's green triangle hated alien wordsearches
#10 Atari 2600/Space Invaders - Fittingly being the first game I played on a home console, my instant comparison to the table-top arcade I played on previously gave me a natural drive to dissect and pass opinion on video games. Why did the invaders look so different, I pondered.  This also gave me a lasting impression for other reasons. I remember the awkward feel of the joystick in my hands (No double entendre's please!), the flickering of the screen and the smell of the heated plastic the console gave off. Arguably, this started my love affair with gaming.

#9 Gameboy Pocket - I had been envious of the peers at the time, flashing around their Gameboys, Game Gears and Atari Lynxs, the latter of which I found really cool. However, with the release of the smaller version of Nintendo's handheld kingpin, I received it as a birthday present and was thrilled. It was the see-through model too! Since I was into electronics at the time, this was even more of a boon for me. I took several therapists to ween me off Tetris.

#8 Amstrad CPC464 - Shortly after my encounter with the aforementioned 2600, me and my brother got our very own home computer, and although firstly I was upset that it wasn't a C64, I took a shine to the CPC with it's built-in tape deck and funky coloured keys. Over the years of using this gem, I developed my gaming acumen to become the very average gamer I am now. I owe a lot to the CPC, with the hundreds of titles I played, good and bad, and also it made me take an interest in programming. I never did reach high levels in this, but it served me well in later years with HTML, PC's and all the jazz. Thankyou Amstrad.

#7 Secret of Mana/JRPG's - By this point, I was seriously into gaming, possibly this was my glory years so to speak, and when I curiously slotted this inconspicuous import cart into my Snes, JRPG's become a genre I adore. The music, the gameplay, the story... it was all there, pulling me in and yearning to be played, more and more. I make no excuses, as my colleagues at The Pixel Empire are aware of, this is my all time favourite game, and shaped my level of expectations in games ever since.

Tekken was all about fairness, as the sword-wielding
ninja cyborg faced off against the skinny schoolgirl
#6 Sony Playstation/Tekken 3 - Strangely, getting the Playstation console itself was not the mind-blower I thought it would be at first. Sure, I enjoyed it, getting good mileage out of Resident Evil and Wipeout, but never felt the full potential until I started matching up with my buds on Tekken 3. This was when I discovered that I cannot stand losing, and often a shattered duel-shock was the end result of a particularly bad session. However, over the years I have learned to quell this, but not completely, so it's a good job that I have a large stock of spare controllers in the house.

#5 Sony Playstation 2/Rez - Getting my PS2 only a few days after launch, I was much more enthused with it than it's predecessor. I hurried home quickly, bragged about a bit and over the next few years played through a rich selection of games. It was not until playing Rez that I found a new type of game, one which merged my liking for shoot 'em up's with dance music. It also looked absolutely gorgeous, was so different from anything I had played before, and it became the game I return to in times when a clear of the head is needed. Essential.

#4 Amstrad GX4000 - In the transition from home computer to console, I was one of those rare (and some say dumb) teenagers that wanted to stay loyal with what I knew. Stupidly, I neglected the chance to save for a SEGA Megadrive and plumbed for Amstrad's entry into the console market. I didn't make this choice lightly either; I had read the spec sheets, the prices and the promises, and trusted Amstrad to deliver. Unfortunately, they didn't. The machine was fine, matching up well to the MD for an 8-bit system, the games were either not made, underdeveloped or simply ported from the CPC. The machine failed miserably, and needless to say I was a laughing stock at school. But, it's a choice I have never regretted, and still admire this system and what it COULD have achieved.

#3 Nintendo Wii - When the Wii was first released, it caused quite a storm in the gaming fraternity. Motion control in this manner was new and gave gaming a new dimension seldom seen before. For so, as I have become a father and a family man, it opens a nice passage into gaming that's gradual, educational, giving a healthy spirit of competition with a range of friendly but enjoyable titles. It's an important machine, and while it may have been overtaken now, I feel this is a system that will live on in retro-land, much like...

#2 Super Nintendo/Street Fighter 2 - "Oh... my!" That was the phrase which left my gawking mouth the moment I played Super Mario World on this, the all time best games console for my money. A few years later, on a Christmas morning in Lincolnshire, I said the same phrase, this time punctuated with an expletive in the middle. Street Fighter 2 in my home, nearly identical to the arcade from which I had ploughed so much money into over the last year. Sufficed to say, this hit me for six, and truly galvanized my video game interest, maybe until the day my fingers start to creak and cease function. That will probably be in a few years, again thanks to the mighty Snes. Gulp!

Halo: The early years
#1 Kung-Fu Master/Vastar - Ignoring the accident rhyme there, this fairly obscure arcade duo are to blame for everything. They are the reason I play video games, the reason I have wasted countless hours, money and emotions. They are the reason I am writing this very article. Put simply, they took up a place in the public house my folks ran at the time, with the latter replacing former over the course of a few months. I was gutted to see Kung-Fu Master leave, but recovered quickly upon playing the space-shooter Vastar; with it's flying spiky balls, two-headed flying monsters and drills devilishly twisting up into the sky while your little man bops around on his jet-pack. If you look closely, he resembles the Master Chief. Possibly the design inspiration to Halo?

So, those are the most significant moments in my personal gaming history. I'm sure some of you can pick out a moment from which you can draw back too. Maybe your first console? The first arcade you clocked? We all have them, I'm convinced of it. We go pull-your-hair-out  hardcore tomorrow with some of the most friggin' difficult games ever to grace the pixels. I-mpossible!



  1. I'm a closet gamer, I complain that my bonus kids spend too much time playing, but I have spent many an all nighter with crash bandicoot and Mario. In my younger days it was my neighbours pocket nintendos snoopy tennis, popeye, and a double screen donkey kong. Clocking them was always the mission - I'm going to go check if we have donkey kong on wii now - great list.

  2. What a great post. I too could go one about some of my favorite game moments - Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, Halo, Street Fighter. Ah, the memories!

    Lyre at Lyre's Musings

  3. Gaming! I've read about it, sort of know about it and never really knew about it until reading this and your previous post! I can understand the fascination with it! Many years ago (how long?) my sons were mad about the mario brothers, sony playstation - I know that they still game but on what I am not sure. Thank you!
    Susan Scott's Soul Stuff

  4. Super Mario, Space Invaders, Skylanders Wii, in fact all Wii, now apps, omg I am playing too much. Happy A to Z.
    maggie winter

  5. Haha, we have the same #10! :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: