The well known dilemma of having TOO many games to play is a real one. A REALLY REALLY REAL one! Woah! Try saying that fast, that get's a little crazy and also leads to you regressing into a child! Anyway, yes, too many games. As I was saying before I interrupted myself, the dilemma is real. The problem I have is that I have a lot of games I play online with my mates. Games like Overwatch, The Division, DOTA2 (on the very rare occasion). Now these games tend to take up a rather large chunk of my gaming time as I socialise with my friends online and ultimately get the piss taken out of me. Its just the way of things really! This obviously leaves very little time for other games like a bit of WoW in preparation for the patch drop. Rise of the Tomb Raider on the consoles and all those other neglected games on the console I always meant to get back to! THEN throw in time required to create videos for this very site and watch some random television *takes a deep breath*. I think the problem is my inability to concentrate on one thing at a time! I have always had this problem.......I am cursed. However, it all comes from my generally love of gaming but where did it all start? I hear you cry and, to be honest, I thought you'd never ask!
I think it can be sourced back to when I was a wee boy. My brother and I used to have a Commodore 64. We used to play it all the time but we obviously used to argue about which game we were going to be playing. I am not going to lie it usually ended with darts being thrown at my feet and my brother winning the argument *chuckles*. One thing about the Commodore 64 was that games would run using a tape deck and the games would take quite some time to load. Spending time looking at a psychedelic pattern on the screen whilst they did. I am sure there was some subliminal messages in there for my brother to pick up the darts! Anyway, I would usually be sitting there in my He-Man pyjamas loading the games exciting with my joystick in my hands.....not a euphemism. My brother would come in, eject my copy of Rambo: First Blood and insert his copy of Commando (to be honest, I was never usually that bothered as Commando was awesome) and claim the joystick from my very hands. It was at that time I wished my brother would join a gang or something that would get him out in the evenings......*sigh*.
Anyway, this is where my fondest memories come from, the Commodore 64. I remember playing classics like Bubble Bobble, Ghosts n' Goblins and Dizzy! Brilliant memories. None were more brilliant than going round to Uncle Williams to play with my cousins. We would usually have the adults and involved and be playing games like Bruce Lee, Its a Knockout, California Games and International Karate. I would also remember the fights over International Soccer! *reminisces*
Anyway, this is where my gaming history begun and from here it was the commodore Amiga. I didn't have one but Uncle William and Aunty Maria did so I was round there as often as I was loud to play it. I must admit though, I don't remember many games from it. I remember one with killer ants you were trying to avoid and one I think was called Fire an Ice and was a platformer. So many games, so many memories.
From here the console age began and I was thrust into systems like the NES and the master system. Progressed on to the SNES and the Mega Drive. I was starting to find a love for the story and magic within games. Specifically RPG games like Zelda and the like. There was one I remember called Mystic Quest which was great and born from it was the dungeon tactic of always following the right or left wall in a dungeon to find my way, especially if their was no map! I think this was my most love moment in gaming history though as the games that were starting to emerge were getting deeper story and complex systems. You could spend literally days trying to beat a game and it was glorious, cue beam of light!
My next stage of gaming was when the Playstation was first released. I did not move from the SNES until I heard the legend of this system. With it being so expensive it was hard to get my hands on one. I was in luck though, my local gaming story was doing a special on console rentals. I was able to afford to rent the console, one game, and no memory card. I chose to rent a game called Final Fantasy VII and that was the longest 24 hours rental in my life. With no ability to save I stayed up all night playing through the first disk of the game and at that point I knew I had to have one. With titles like Resident Evil also tickling my fancy I was on a "Sell everything I have to buy one" quest! After around 6 months I managed to save up some money and put it together with my mum to get a playstation for Christmas and I kind of became a hermit for a while whilst I played through the entirety of Final Fantasy VII before even touching any of the other games. I was an RPG gamer now and a story whore. I needed more.
I toyed with consoles like the Sega Saturn for a while. Primarily for the purpose of Panzer Dragoon Saga which was am epic RPG based around the world of Panzer Dragoon and was surprisingly really good. If only I had kept my Saturn and that game as looking at the price they are selling for on eBay! WoW! Thank god for emulators though as I can still play it whenever I want even today! I naturally progressed onto the PS2 but I also had another love affair with another Sega console. Another "cancelled" console I might add! The Sega Dreamcast! It started simple, Chu Chu Rocket! I spent a fortune over dial up internet playing that game online. I got such a telling off from the person I was living with at the time. They thought I was surfing porn until I showed them Chu Chu Rocket, they simply laughed at me......bastards! Anyway, my all time favourite game was played on the Dreamcast.....Shenmue. I absolutely loved the mix of story and martial arts and a real breathing world. Yes the control system was clunky at times but this game was SO immersive it was crazy! I am obviously rather excited for Shenmue 3 which is finally being made *does a little dance*. Another game on the Dreamcast was a game called Skies of Arcadia which was truly superb. I'm going to post more about these games in particular in a further post about returning to them now and balancing my feelings etc.
From here, I was primarily a Playstation gamer moving onto the PS3 and PS4 ultimately but also finding a deep set love for PC gaming with games like colonization and the like. I was expanding myself into every facet of gaming to ensure I was getting a full scope of the experiences I was beginning to find a love for. We all know about my love for the MMORPG genre and this is where that particular story was born from.
I have toyed with "the other side". The Xbox that is and my experiences have always been generally a little lacklustre to be honest. A console is a console in my eyes though and it tends to be all about the games that you want to play rather than the hardware you play it on.
Well, this ends the first part of my Gaming roots. I will post another soon with a more specific focus on certain eras of my love for gaming! So keep posted!
My love for gaming is deep set and almost completely born of my desire to be taken away to far away worlds. There is nothing quite like immersing yourself into something that tells a story and builds a world so well that you completely feel as if you are a part of that world. This is what I have come to look for in every game but it is certainly not found in every game, that is for sure. I suppose it is also what I look for in movies too. With movies I often find what I am looking for simply due the nature of the experience. With gaming, it take a little more to pull me in to that place. This is where my love for MMOs comes from.
My love for MMOs has a strange beginning, I was a little late to the party really if I'm honest. I initially skipped the early MUDs that started to show up around the place. Primarily text based adventures that would lead you around a virtual world meeting people along the way. To be honest, i'm not sure if I would have gotten into them anyway as I tend to require pictures in my mind to enable me to be taken away to somewhere. Mind you, playing these games, like reading a book, I am sure you would envision things as you play. Then I would hear little murmurs of bigger games, like Ultima, Everquest and Asheron's Call. These games seemed to get me interested in what it was all about. Being a major RPG fan I was taken particularly with MMORPG's, or as a lot of people have come to know them MEMORPEGERS. The more I would look into them I would learn about the vast and wonderful worlds that had been build for people to explore online. Choosing a class and building your character as you progress through the game. I was still not fully stirred to begin playing them though. I was still quite young and the internet was rather expensive back then so I think it was more so the fact that I "Wasn't allowed" *chuckles*
My first foray into the world of MMORPGS came in 2002 with a game called Final Fantasy XI. Being a fan of the Final Fantasy series this was an easy transition for me. As soon as I installed the game and launched into it, I was hooked. Looking back there were a lot of issues. A clunky control system, a battle system that would take an absolute age and so on. What it DID have though was that immersive world I was looking for. A whole continent to explore with vast and unforgiving environments. Endless creatures to fight and people to fight them with! My love for the genre was being born as I killed my 1000th wasp! I was oblivious to the sheer grind of these sorts of games I was far too taken by the experience of it all. I played the game for a couple of years and made some good friends. Being the indecisive chap I am though, I did not make it to the end game. Instead opting to play through various different characters etc. I was simply enjoying myself far too much. Little did I know what was just around the corner!
In 2005 I started playing World of Warcraft and I was hooked. Everything that had come before this was melting away as I created my human hunter. It had immersion, lore, a living and breathing world, and intuitive combat system and most importantly so much more content and character progression than I could every ask for. Plus, it had humour which was unheard of with this sort of game. They usually took themselves a little too seriously at times. I played World of Warcraft on and off for a long time. I even joined guilds, raided and ran instances with people when I was able. It was a new level of "social" within the gaming community. Now, you will be surprised about this fact. I never actually got to the end game until Cataclysm was released. I am not sure why, maybe (going by my previous experiences) I was one of those guys who liked to the story and the building of each character. I kept hearing legend of the end game but never quite go there until Cataclysm dropped. It was a big drop though, it changed everything and for me, it made it better. Once I got to the end game and started running the content it was magnificent. I think a lot of my delaying may have been down to my not wanting to get too hooked to the game. I was starting to hear about people who gave up there jobs to play the game and simply got paid for levelling other people. Crazy stuff indeed. So, I did the normal thing you would do.....I branched out into other MMOs!
This took me through a number of other games. Lord of the Rings Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online, Guild Wards, Rift and various others. Then I found love again. I heard rumour of a game based around Knight of the Old Republic. The excellent Star Wars RPG. It was to be called The Old Republic. Off the back of this I got involved with the best gamer guild I have ever been a part of. Made lots of friends and I even managed to get into the closed beta for the game. This game was awesome. There was nothing quite like getting immersed in the same way I could be with World of Warcraft, in the Star Wars Universe! The beta took us through various stages of the game and we could nurture it and see it grow around us it was truly fantastic. It did, unfortunately, come to the point of release and all my drive for the game had gone. The game is still brilliant, maybe a little skill heavy as of late, but still awesome.
The problem I have now is that I keep going back to games to play them again and then reasonably quickly losing interest. I am not sure what it is. Maybe it is me simply waiting for my next big game, or maybe not, maybe I am done with the genre..............pah! That'll be right!!