My Gaming History

Super Metroid CoverI'd like to apologize for being so wordy this week at the First Hour, but the writers here love to write!  I recently asked Ian to tell me about his gaming history, thinking I'd get a couple line reponse about how his parents bought him a Game Boy or something, but along comes a serious epic that will probably seem very familiar to many of us reading along.

If you've got your own story you'd like to tell, reply in the comments or send me an email, I'd love to host it here!

Ian's Gaming History

The first system I owned was the Super Nintendo. My mom and step-father, Paul, really splurged and bought it for my 5th birthday from Radioshack. I was actually kind of disappointed, mostly because I had no idea what it was.  I hadn't heard of it before and I was really banking on a bike that birthday.

My stepdad hooked it up with ease, popped Super Mario World in and BAM, we were in business. I was instantly addicted. It was fun and while I didn't really know Nintendo very well, Mario was familiar looking to me.

I got frustrated occasionally, but overall, I was pretty calm. It was funny to watch Mario's eyes bulge when he fell in lava, got his by a fireball or smoked by a Koopa shell. It was serious entertainment and I was so pleased with it that I totally forgot that I wanted a bike, which is what my father and step-mom got me.

The strange thing was that I had access to video games at my father's house occasionally, but I didn't really indulge, and most of the time they didn't work, and I only went over once a month.

Legend of Zelda Link to the Past CoverVideo games quickly took over as my main form of entertainment, along with Nick Jr. and Computer games. While my mom would rent me games from the local supermarket, such as Megaman, which I would whole-heartedly enjoy, my first game purchase was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was $15 dollars, and took 4 months of allowance to buy from Wal-Mart.

I thought the game was great, but I had no idea what I had just bought. When my brother, Ryan, who is 10 years older than me, sat down and started playing it non-stop, I realize what a big deal Zelda was. He was addicted. The best part about Zelda was that I finally got to spend time with my brother, who would generally be out with his friends if it were not for this game I had gotten.

I remember  the item collecting pretty well, the first time I hoisted the master sword over my head. But the thing I remember most was my brother and I going nuts when we would be fighting a boss, screaming and jumping and taking turns trying to beat them. It was awesome!

After that, I was hook line and sinker. I was done. The Super Nintendo was it, it was the system and Zelda was the game. That was at least what I thought, until my brother visited the newly opened blockbuster and came back with a game that I hadn't seen, ever, even at the grocery store where I normally rented games: Super Metroid.

I remember him coming in with my Sister and I sitting in my bedroom and going "What'd you get?! What'd you get?!"

"Super Metroid!"

"What? What's that?! What's it about?!"


He popped the cartridge in, and hit start, and that eerie music had a real effect on me. The green text revealing Samus' face (Who I had assumed was named "Metroid.") was creepy but awesome. It was like a movie.

Then my brother was in the space station, running down corridors littered with corpses. I recall how baffled I was when my brother made it to the end of the space station and there sat a jar encasing a Metroid inside.

My brother Ryan, my sister Rhiannon and I all sat baffled with, trying to figure out what to do next when Ridley suddenly appeared and roared and the boss music appeared. The next thing I knew, we're all going "AHH! GO! JUMP! SHOOT HIM!"

The music, the atmosphere, all took me and my seven year old self in. I was enthralled. I wasn't even interested in playing as much as just watching the world unfold. The game was a bit too complicated for me to fully appreciate, but that didn't keep me from trying to hold my own, and enjoy the spectacle of my brother finishing the game.

Super Mario rpg CoverAfter Metroid, I picked up Super Mario RPG, and it was not until later that I realized that I had pretty much covered the spectrum of all genres available to me at the time. Super Mario RPG was the first game I bought the day it came out. I remember watching commercials about it. I didn't really know what the game was, but I knew I loved Super Mario.

I specifically faked sick just to play the game, and I was whole-heartedly disappointed when it turned out not to be a side-scroller. "What the hell? Why am I walking Mario around?" I thought, and the next thing I knew, I was fighting koopas in hand to hand combat and my anxiety subsided.

I fought Bowser, knocking the chandelier, and watched in amazement when Bowser knocked down the chandelier I was on. It was quite the experience. I played this game more than any other for the Super Nintendo. Then, the next thing I knew, it was Christmas 1996.

The Nintendo 64 had been out for only a few months, and I actually rented the Nintendo 64 console from blockbuster for a weekend at my father's house. They no longer do that, of course. But I rented Super Mario 64 and my older brother rented GoldenEye 007 and we were hooked on both games. They were both equally astonishing, but to me, Super Mario 64 had the greatest impact. Then, amazingly, when I tore open my gifts two weeks before it was truly christmas, I was astonished to find my very own Nintendo 64 with the golden controller and a copy of Super Mario 64, as well as Mario Kart 64.

Quake CoverWhile all this was going on, and I was having my Nintendo fix galore, I was also playing Quake online with a 28.8k connection and a Toshiba Pentium pc. I was terrible, but it was a blast and it also started my dad's love for online shooters.  While these games were fun, it took awhile to really bloom on me and since I was so young, playing online was not really fun since I was easily killed.

Unfortunately, after Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64, my love for Nintendo 64 waned. There weren't as many games as I liked. I was often going back to its predecessor for entertainment. Then, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out, and I was back to the addiction.

Ocarina of Time was a game that I was obsessed with as a kid. I loved reading about it, playing it, and I thought Link was the coolest character ever. It was also a game that I needed less help on than any other. But while I was obsessed with this game, after beating it, it got thrown on a stack with my other Nintendo 64 titles. After that there was Ogre Battle 64, and then I received a Playstation.

It felt like it took way too long for me to actually get one, but the Playstation was just what the doctor ordered for my desire to play good rpgs and other games that, in general, did not blow and had replay value.

The first game I played on the Playstation was a demo of Breath of Fire 3. Dear god, I loved it. It had a great story, awesome gameplay, pleasing graphics and it was just plain fun. Plus, I hadn't played a turn based RPG since Super Mario RPG.

I then got my hands on Final Fantasy VIII, and what's funny about that, is that I did not play it for the Playstation until much later. I actually received a demo disc in an issue of PC Gamer and played it over and over again before picking it up for PC. Unfortunately, in the middle of the second disc, the game would lock up and fail to continue playing.

Final Fantasy 7 CoverThe first Final Fantasy game I played on a console was Final Fantasy VII in which I was disappointed because most of my friends said it was the best game ever, where I thought Ocarina of Time and Ogre Battle 64, not to mention Final Fantasy VIII were far superior.

Now, going back in time, there were several games I played regularly via the internet and LAN connections, as well as single player: Age of Empires, Duke Nukem 3D, Rise of the Triad and Warcraft. After my obsession with Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber died down, I found myself playing a landmark PC game by Blizzard titled Diablo 2. This game became my bread and butter PC game for three years, and to this day I still have an active account that I regularly play.

The first sixth generation console I received was the Nintendo Gamecube, primarily for Super Smash Bros. Melee and Pikmin. The next Christmas, I received a Playstation 2, and then an Xbox the christmas after that.

The system I found myself playing the most was the Playstation 2. I played quite a few games for the Playstation 2, which include Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, Soul Calibur 2 and 3, as well  as many games I hardly remember. The summer after I received the Playstation 2, I had a raise in my allowance, in addition to mowing my father's lawn every weekend for 25 dollars and washing their cars biweekly for $30. Because of these chores, and the ability to purchase used games, my video game collection soared, as well as my Anime collection.

I also built my first computer at that time, so I could finally play Diablo 2 on my own pc. I had a 2.2 GHZ Athlon XP and a Geforce 4 TI 4600 with (I believe) 512 MB of Ram. It cost me a pretty penny. I then found myself constantly gaming on PC.

For a while, I had slowed down on gaming, mostly because I met my wife online when I was sixteen years old, and finally visited her when I was 19 years old. Due to my unemployment in high school and college, I was asking for money every Christmas, and used it to go 600 miles to Texas.

Now I game much more regularly. My brother-in-law has quite a large amount of video games which I partake in. Most of the games I've been playing are past generations that I never had a chance to play and am playing now.

So that's basically my gaming history in a nutshell.  The only other landmark games I played for the past four years that had a real grasping hold on me are Counter Strike: Source and World of Warcraft.

Several other games that I did not mention, but were also great to play were Neverwinter Nights, F.E.A.R., Survival Crisis Z and the Halo series.