I’m an 80’s guy. No I didn’t live in fear of the bomb, and I scarcely remember the wall coming down, but it is technically when I started devoting time to that hobby that would nomnom my soul.
The first game I ever played was Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Say what you want about games in the late 80s they didn’t fuck around. You didn’t get savestates, healthbars that regenerate in cover, continues, help manuals and there was no internet walkthroughs. Games in those days seemed to loom over you like a remorseless robotic thug completely uninterested in the tearful pleas of frustrated young children. (You have completed six human years and you still request my assistance? Apathy sequence initiated. I help those that help themselves.) It really was just your enormous flintstoney fist and rock, paper, scissors “skills” against Janken’s debaucheries. When you completed that stupid jumping puzzle and get your enormous mitt on the crown you feel like a god amongst Radaxians. You also start having dreams about murdering Kotaro Hayashida but with therapy those can be overcome too.
I don’t say this because I want your eyes to glaze over in the same way they do when your grandparents tell you an Exo cube and warm water is all the nutrition they needed to grow up healthy, but rather to give you a background on how I enjoyed learning and competing against games, and later other gamers. Games to me have always been more about personal development than they have relaxation. I believe that the reason that we enjoy games is because they teach us something. Not in the way your history teacher crams a fact into your temporal lobe (now THERE’S an image), rather the understanding and application of an abstract concept (eg. strategy games) or physical function (eg. FPS). The best games force us to understand and apply both. It is in the mastering of these concepts that we develop satisfaction, and thus a game we like is born.
It was the early 90s when I got my first PC. An old hand-me-down 386 given to me by a much older family member. It was filled with DOSy and threepointoney goodness, and buried deep within its bowels was a copy of the first Civilization game (as well as a well hidden copy of a game I didn’t fully understand called Leisure Suit Larry). It was here that I started learning that games could be interesting enough to consume your life. This was a game that introduced the concepts of strategy, economics and getting what you want by having the bigger gun. This was the first game I had played where your choices were meaningful, and produced wildly different, but entirely predictable outcomes. This was the first game I had played where the aim of the game was to destroy another (albeit computer controlled) opponent. It was a potent and addictive combination.
What? NSFW? No I’m talking about Civilization here!!
My parents let me have my computer in my room at first. Big mistake. This was a game so good I would set my alarm 2 hours early so I could get up (if I went to sleep at all) and polish off that Roman/Continents/Temperate/Prince Difficulty space race I had happening. When my addiction to this game was discovered I decided the best course of action was to rattle off the names of all the cities in the Aztec, Babylonian and Egyptian empires. My info checked out, and my folks let my Civilization obsession continue, although the computer was moved into a more public location.
Know your enemy folks. The best games are played against other people.
That was a long time ago, and to stop this page becoming any more of a “MATT DAMON!!” fest than it already is I’ll just let the rest come out in the blog.
I’d love to hear any thoughts or comments you have about any of the content on the site. Feel free to drop me a line my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the rest of my life I have a girlfriend, a family (no kids), a dog, a job outside “the industry” and I actively support the greatest game of all.