Thursday, March 22, 2012

how I got into gaming

This is a gaming memoir of sorts. If you don't play video games, you might not have any clue as to what I am mentioning. If you do, I hope this sparks some gaming nostalgia and maybe you can even remind me of a few I have left out. Ready, set, GO!

One of the very first video games I ever played was on one of the very first Mac computers. My grandfather had given my family the computer back in the late 80's and I remember playing very pixelated games on it for kids. The computer was in my parents room and we didn't really use it much. The internet didn't exist yet. Yeah, remember that?
We also had the Nintendo NES console, thanks to my older brother. I remember playing the games that came with it, Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt. I may or may not have tried putting the plastic Duck Hunt gun directly against the TV in order to do better. Come on, I was like 5.
When we lived in Germany, I don't remember playing anything other than our Sega Genesis. The console was in my brothers room so we had to be on good terms in order to play. I remember collecting rings like a maniac as Sonic the Hedgehog and trying to knock people off their motorcycles as I raced on Road Rash. Remember "THE BALL IS ON FIRE!" from NBA Jam? Any time anyone mentions Sega I always hear the opening title sound "SEEEGGAAAAA" in my head. I think my Sega is still in my mom's attic. I should really go dust that thing off and give it a go.
Now, when we moved back to the States, we got a new computer. This is when my real interest in gaming started. I wasn't playing my brothers games anymore, I was playing my Dad's. I would watch him play Doom and Duke Nukem and asked if I could play when he was done. I remembered he was a little hesitant since I was just his little girl, asking to shoot up "bad guys" or monsters into pulp (or pixilated pulp) but he gave in. I loved it. This was my first taste of first person shooters and I was hooked.
It wasn't just the gory games I was into. I was into everything. Literally. I got to play The Oregon Trail at school, shooting entire populations of buffalo while only being able to take a fraction of the meat along for the ride. No wonder those guys went extinct. I built cities with SimCity that always seemed to go bust after a while. I never really got the hang of that game. I still played those educational games too, like Math Blaster, Zoombinis, and even that Mavis Beacon typing game. I loved seeing how fast I could type.
The graphics started to get better and the games got more advanced. I used to spend hours on a game called Kings Quest 6, solving puzzles in the chaotic Green Isles in order to save the princess and trying to find my way around in Myst. My Dad's inclination to play strategy games led to me playing who-knows-how-many Age of Empire games as well as Civilization.
We had also gotten a Playstation and my favorite game quickly became Tomb Raider, that is, when my brother wasn't playing Need for Speed. Some of the puzzles on Tomb Raider used to trip me up and some took hours to figure out but I was determined. Lara Croft was one bad ass chick and is still one of my favorite female characters in the video game world.
When my parents got divorced, my family moved to New Jersey to be close to family. My cousins, who quickly became my new best friends, lived practically down the street. We didn't have the internet yet, so I used to walk over every day and use their computer, mostly to talk to my friends I had left behind in Georgia. Hanging out with a bunch a boys is sure to lead to some shenanigans but luckily, those shenanigans included playing their Nintendo 64. Ahh yes, the beloved Golden Eye, 007. That first summer, we played the multiplayer practically everyday. Remember racing to get a gun? Good thing I didn't rage too much back then.
Now is when things start to get a little fuzzy. I know we had a Playstation 2, but I didn't really play it too often. I think at this point, gaming took a backseat to my new found internet love. I did however play the Sims. All of the Sims. Every expansion pack. The Sims 2. Every expansion pack. (I even got Sims 3). Okay, it might be a problem... I played Black & White when visiting my Dad back in Georgia and I thought the game was pretty cool but never really got too far into it.
I remember visiting my first boyfriends dorm and his roommates would be hunkered down for hours playing Counter Strike. I used to watch them play, but never got into it myself. I thought it was funny that they were so into the game. Little did I know, that would soon be me.

The Xbox 360. That's my current love. I have to say it was playing Gears of War that got me back into gaming (besides The Sims). I used to play with William and then we started getting more games. And then... I started playing more than him. Soon, it was just me playing. My interest in video games went above and beyond his. From Hitman and Bully to Call of Duty and Battlefield, I've played a lot of games on this machine. I've gone through two consoles already and I've been lucky. (Watch now that I say that, something happens to my elite!)
I love playing video games. I've played using joysticks and headsets, controllers and mice. They are as important to me as the books I read and the movies I see. They tell amazing stories and give you incredible experiences you would otherwise never live through. You become attached to characters and you learn about yourself as you play. I even met my best friend while playing video games. If you're not a gamer, try not to dismiss video games as just a waste of time. Maybe you can even give them a try the next time you see someone playing.

And gamers, keep on playing. 

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