[It's time for Destructoid's number one community autobiography feature! Once again I am your "host" taumpytears and joining me this week are tazarthayoot, Garison, and Sentry. For those of you not in the know biotoid is a weekly feature where three community members (and sometimes editors) give a brief history of themselves as a gamer.]
I am pretty sure that my gaming obsession started when I was about 4 or 5 years old. My mother purchased a NES for me back in 1990 and from then I became completely obsessed with the Italian plumber with the pedo stache. My family moved around quite a bit when I was growing up, so my NES became my best friend, which I'm sure is a feeling most of us here may have felt growing up. When I turned 8 or 9 I got a Genesis for my birthday, and from that point on I gave up on the plumber and moved on to the blue blur Sonic. From then on I was pretty much a Sega fanboy, all the way up to the demise of the company with the Dreamcast.
Growing up my favorite games were platformers, since they were simple games and easy to play. I loved fighters and shmups, but I was never any good at them, which is a problem which still plagues me to this day. Up until last year I had never even owned a SNES, and I'm very thankful to Droobies for giving me that for my birthday last year. I need to find myself a copy of Earthbound and the old Final Fantasy games so I can finally see what was so amazing about them.
Nowadays I pretty much play anything that is the new hotness. I only have a 360, and any game that allows me to a) play as myself a la create a character or b) allow me to destroy and do pretty much anything is my strawberry jam. I still love the classic fighters and shmups, and I go back to them from time to time to try to increase my abilities (which are still nothing special just like back when I was 12). You can send me a friend request or game invite whenever you see me online, my gamertag is Roncore.[Editor's note: roncore is Will Arnett's gamer tag.]
I've always loved videogames ever since I was a little kid. Even though I didn't have a game system 'till I was probably about 9 or 10. I remember I used to go over to my cousin's house all the time, and we would play Mario Kart 64, and Zelda: OoT nonstop all day. When me and my brother got our first gaming system, a secondhand Super Nintendo, it was pretty much the end of the SNES' life cycle. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, because there was a ton of cheap second hand games to buy everywhere, and we probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to play games like A Link To The Past, Super Mario World, Uniracers, and all the old Capcom Disney games. When I eventually got a GameCube, I discovered Wind Waker, and it remains as my favourite game to this day.
Probably my most anticipated thing in videogames ever is the launch of Twilight Princess and the Wii. Since I am one of the younger community members on Destructoid, I was only 14 when the system was released back in '06, and man, did I work hard for that thing. I saved up all year, and it was great when the day finally came. Me and my Mom got up at 5 AM, drove an hour away to the nearest Walmart and waited in line in the bitter cold for an hour with some of the nerdiest people I have ever met. I have to admit, I'm not really too fond with what Nintendo is doing with the Wii. Like many gamers, I expected Nintendo to stick to their promise of a "Revolution" in game control, but so far I'm not really seeing much from their side of things. There have been lots great and different third party games, but nothing of too much merit that is from Nintendo (besides Galaxy of course, but that is an exception). [/wiirant]
I don't really remember when I first discovered Destructoid. I remember stumbling across Podtoid on iTunes while searching for game themed podcasts, but I also remember procrastinating during my Media Studies class first semester of 2007. But it doesn't really matter when I actually discovered the site, all that matters is that I was really digging the vibe of it and decided to stick around. Unfortunately I never even had internet at home until September of last year, when I posted my first blog , and I became a permanent troll of this place.
What I really love about Destructoid is the writing style. How completely honest the editors are in their opinions, how anyone is aloud to post pretty much anything they want (withing reason of course), and especially the podcasts. In my time here I have joined a podcast with some other community members, wrote some silly blogs, and generally just wasted a shit fuck amount of time doing nothing important at all. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
I first started playing video games at an early age, though I never really thought of myself as a "gamer" and - truth be told - still think of myself as rather casual, despite my intense interest in the industry and community at large. I've a smattering of memories involving playing Altered Beast at a friend of my mother's, as well as a game at the local rent-to-own place that I believe might have been on the Master System, but my first true entrance into gaming was when my mother bought for me on my fourth birthday a Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, and Tetris. My NES is still with me and remains one of my most cherished systems, but it wasn't until I was about ten years old that I'd take my next "step", as it were, into gaming.
It was while living in a remote, terrible town in Texas that I eventually came across a complete-in-box copy of Final Fantasy at a neighboring town's Goodwill. I had never played an RPG, and spent hours upon hours learning both the basic mechanics of the genre as well as how to overcome that game's difficulty. In fact, my long-time nickname (Sentry) was indirectly inspired by that first Final Fantasy (another story for another time). Because of this lucky find, I went on to love the RPG genre, and would rent a new title from any local Blockbuster (we moved around a lot) on a near-weekly basis: Star Tropics, The Secret of Mana (we had a Super Nintendo at this point), Final Fantasy II and III, Illusion of Gaia, Lufia, et al.
There have been other steps along the way, such as when I first played Starcraft on PC, or watching my good friend Robert play through games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (I'd never played a Castlevania title) and Half-Life 2 but a couple of years ago. Be that as it may, the MOST of my current identity as a gamer really developed when I started living with my friend and his wife
about a year ago, as well as the period of time following first deciding with them to open a used games shoppe and LAN center to this very moment, sitting in said store.
My attention to gaming grew by leaps and bounds over the last year. Patterns and forces I've always found fascinating in general social behaviour suddenly had relevant and immediate connections to video-games as an industry. Watching trends and consumer reactions, and the development of individual titles became one of my day-to-day activities. I can't go for an hour without at least checking Destructoid, Brian Crecente's Hair Palace, Crispy Gamer, or various developer/publisher twitters, though I usually end up browsing more than them alone.
Now I find that I care a great deal about who develops which games, the idea of gaming as both a commercial and artistic medium, as well as the elements of social interaction and community. Combining my love of local business, community in general, Destructoid, and the opening of our LAN center, I suddenly want to galvanize the gaming scene in Denver. I play games on PC (Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Red Alert 3, Call of Duty 4) with friends of the store on a regular basis, when I never used to even touch anything not on a console, not to mention the number of new titles that I consistently drool over, though don't always get a chance to play.
Gaming has always been present in my life, and it's now clear to me that it's going to play a HUGE role in the remainder of my years.
[Once again I am proud to thank tazar, Garison, Sentry and everyone who read this. Anyone who is interested in contributing can reach me at the "new" official biotoid email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Hugs & Kisses -taumpytears P.S. Sorry for the double post, I did the original on my iPhone and the formatting was all messed up.]
[Hello to all of you robots out there in internet land, how have you all been? I am really sorry about the unannounced hiatus in Biotoid, I have no good reason for not posting anything in so long. Just to bring everyone up to speed here is the original intro “I want to find a way to unite the old members and the new members. I think we all have interesting and unique ideas and perspectives we can bring to Destructoid. One of the most important things we all have in common our history as gamers. There are so many of us at this point that it gets hard to know other members on a more personal level (except Rev Anthony). That's why I decided to make a gamer bio feature, to make a way for us to understand each other. Each edition will feature one editor/long time user, one new member, and one wild card. Who knows what kind of exciting things we may learn about the community members!”]
This week we have entries from unangbangkay and Niero.
Niero My earliest memory as a gamer is probably familiar to friends as it's scribbled on the side of my cblog. We were at Varadero Beach in Cuba, a two hour bus ride from the town of Guines where I was born. There was a little touristy hut there and they had a pong machine and all these older guys were huddled around it, drinking beers, clearly having an awesome time. It was kind of like seeing your cool uncle pull up to your house in a red sports car with a blonde -- you wanted to be just like that when you grew up. Years later we moved to the states and my cousin owned an Atari with a few games, and I eventually got one. My favorite games were shooters: Atlantis, Missile Command (second game I ever bought), Vanguard, Asteroids, stuff like that. I sold all of my Atari Games, G.I. Joes and Transformers to buy an NES with Punch-Out, which is where the curiosity turned into a life-long obsession. I distinctly remember telling my parents that I wanted to become a Nintendo game counselor and move to Redmond. They patted me on the head and smiled. I don't know if they were paying attention. It was late at night and we had Cinemax. Also, cocks.
I'm an only child. Thinking back, I didn't have many friends as a kid. I was a foreigner, didn't speak the language, my folks couldn't buy me a bike (I lived next to the water treatment plant, no pools or small parks nearby and the big parks are where you go to get your ass kicked) so I stayed home a lot with my LEGOs (which I proudly still own!) so my NES was my life and social link to the world of other kids in the neighborhood. We "traded Nintendo tapes" constantly -- the most cost effective way to get access to all kinds of games when you're poor. After I had my NES I'd stay out at kid's houses all night trying to beat games and formed a Nintendo club -- the pre-Dtoid era if you will. I remember realizing that games would eventually grow into something unstoppable after seeing those great first generation franchises mature: Super Mario Brothers 2, Ninja Gaiden 2, Double Dragon II, 1943, Super C, Life Force, Dragon Warrior 2, Castlevania II, Mega Man 2 and so on. I knew there would always be amazing video games in the future -- the SNES and Genesis completely blew my mind: Strider, UN Squadron, MUSHA, Castle of Illusion, Pilotwings, Legend of the Mystical Ninja were all great -- but I clung to those Final Fantasy sequels the most like they were my religion. Heh, Kefka. I remember trying to make my own RGP on paper with some kids at school after that. It sucked but we had fun drawing that stuff -- one guy was in charge of monsters, I drew the heroes, and another guy did the weapon stuff. I also knew that I would always continue to find ways to connect with people through gaming. Its no wonder why Destructoid's community was always a priority for me. It always makes me so happy to learn about people making new friends this way. The gaining acceptance monthly musings article we promoted last week really hits home for me, actually. But I digress.
Arcardes were a big part of my gamer bio as well. We would go to four major ones in Miami: An odd one called Riverboat Playhouse which was like a disorganized version of Chuck E Cheese, a castle-shaped one called Pirates, Malibu Grand Prix which also had go-carts and mini-golf, and the one in the ass of the shopping mall. I would sink $20 bucks on beat-em ups, my cabinet game of choice: Combat Tribes, Final Fight, TMNT, The Simpsons, X-Men, Sunset Riders, even crap like Pit Fighter. Konami and Capcom were my life. At some point Street Fighter II happened and all other games ceased to exist. Walk to the video store to play. Ride bike to the weird new arcade that opened. Mom, drop me off at the Fun-o-Rama at the mall. After school. On the Snes. All. SF2. All. The. Fucking. Time. I think I burned out after that was over.
I couldn't afford a Saturn, NeoGeo, or 3DO until much later in life and my N64 years were overshadowed by obsessively trying to become a commercial illustrator and later a web designer because my math scores at school were so low that I couldn't hack it at college the normal way, so I only played casually through those generations as I wobbled into adulthood playing pirated copies of Starcraft, Unreal, and Half-Life after work with my office mates. I eventually bought a PlayStation and tried to catch up with all the stuff I missed, but games like FF7 already seemed so dated by then. Crazy Taxi sold me on the Dreamcast and I eventually became an op in an IRC channel during that time, as I was answering phones on the graveyard shift for a 24/7 catalog computer sales company. I found solace in discussing games with strangers -- we would trade ripped imports like Samba De Amigo and would get into huge circular debates about gaming and rumors. I remember reading stuff from Happy Puppy or the Snowball Network's version of IGN at the time. Eventually I left computer sales for freelance web design, but never did I ever think I'd ever run a gaming site or work for one. After all, I'm all the way in Florida and don't have the balls to move to Washington -- there's the internet now and game counselors are no longer needed. So I played the fuck out of my PS2. My roomates and I would have people over for BBQ's and play Burnout and Grand Theft Auto for DAYS. We'd binge on Dynasty Warriors 2, Onimusha, Gradius 5, Final Fantasy 8, then the Xbox: I couldn't wrap my head around FPS controls for Halo but eventually I got the hang of it. I never thought FPS games would do well on consoles as I never got into Golden Eye since I was too busy playing Quake 3. Boy was I wrong.
I think the last game I bought before I started Destructoid was Shadow of the Colossus, which I enjoyed but not as much as one of my favorite PS2 games: Ico. I didn't have an HD TV so I was putting off buying an Xbox 360, but I kept reading all these crazy rumors about HD gaming and what the Nintendo Revolution might be like and that the PS3 would be playable that year at E3 in California, but you had to be a member of the gaming press. I remember hearing that bloggers got into these events ... and the rest is Dtoid history.
I've been gaming for as long as I can remember, and my earliest memories of playing were losing my base in Battle City and getting blown up by my own bombs in Bomberman, both on an old Famicom. I also remember playing Moonvasion and Choplifter on an Apple Macintosh. One of my most cherished moments in gaming were, like many others, of unwrapping an SNES with Super Mario World one Christmas day. And also like many others, my life as a Nintendophile came in as I awoke World of Ruin halfway through Final Fantasy VI or beating the secret boss in Super Mario RPG.
In spite of my Nintendo fanboyism, I didn't really have a true "awakening" as a gamer, thinking about games as a full part of my life, until about 1995 and thereabouts. It was when I saw my cousin playing Doom 2 on his computer. Of course, I was pushed out of the room, since that stuff was for "grownups", but I got my revenge after I was gifted with a copy of Duke Nukem 3D. That was my first multiplayer experience, when I started griefing my friends by flying over them, dropping pipe bombs on their heads while playing in the first LAN cafes.
In that same year, my sister's boyfriend did me one of the most important favors in my history of gaming. Trying to curry favor with me, he gave me his "old" Playstation, which he had blown out while plugging it into the wrong wall socket. Already mod-chipped, I spent a measly 800 pesos to have its power supply fixed, and then went out to buy a pirated copy of Final Fantasy VII. From then on I was a true multiplatformer, playing Quake II and Jedi Knight after school, getting devastated by Soviet tank rushes in Red Alert, wasting ghouls and super mutants in Fallout, finding out about Dungeons and Dragons in Baldur's Gate, and learning about what can change the nature of a man in Planescape: Torment.
These days I'm still something of a PC snob, and can't help but get a little incensed when folks laugh about or lament the "death" of the once-dominant platform. I still miss the giant boxes and detailed manuals of those halcyon days, and can't bring myself to believe that joystick-based space-shooters are a dying genre. I'm also something of a DRM-hater, for all the modern reasons, and also for the fact that I owe most of my gaming life to piracy. Gaming's helped shape me to this day, and I have no intention of letting it stop shaping me. Well, unless it's sports gaming :P
[Thanks to everyone who participated and read this. If any of you want to participate in this please e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks a million, and again sorry for the delay especially to those who submitted bios. Also thanks to tactix for giving me that special push I needed to start over again.]
[There have been a lot of changes int he atmosphere at Destructoid lately, but I am not here to dig up that drama. I want to find a way to unite the old members and the new members. I think we all have interesting and unique ideas and perspectives we can bring to Destructoid. One of the most important things we all have in common our history as gamers. There are so many of us at this point that it gets hard to know other members on a more personal level (except Rev Anthony). That's why I decided to make a gamer bio feature, to make a way for us to understand each other. Each edition will feature one editor/long time user, one new member, and one wild card. Who knows what kind of exciting things we may learn about the community members! Personally I am fairly certain that a few members still think this is a Yankee Candle fan site.-taumpytears A.K.A. the dtoid loser]
Hamza CTZ Aziz
I started out with the original Game Boy with Tetris. My dad bought it for me when he got back from an overseas trip and I was hooked on it for years, fighting with my mom and sister to play the game. My first real console was the Super Nintendo. I have a horrible memory, but for whatever reason, I will always remember the day I got the SNES. I remember walking into some major electronics store with my parents and buying the system. I even got to carry it to the car. It came with Super Mario World and I would play that for years to come too. It is my favorite Mario platformer of all time.
I then later got a Nintendo 64 as a birthday gift years down the line but games for that system were expensive! So my dad had me start working at a mom & pop videogame store in my town. They were friends of the family so they had no objection to a 14-year-old working for them, under the table of course. My dad later would open up his own version of the store in a nearby city and so I had every single videogame at my fingertips.
Now, I get to write for some videogame blog called Destructoid and get to see games long before they're officially released. It's so weird seeing a game evolve right in front of my eyes first hand now. I grew up reading EGM and always wished I could do what they do. Now I do thanks to Niero and here I am. Sappy as fuck, I know.
Trying to think back to how I became a gamer is like trying to remember the day I was born. As far back as I can remember, I've played videogames. I mean, as a kid I was forced to play some sports, but they just never appealed to me. I was a tee-ball player when I was really young...that ball is stationary and I sucked at hitting it. I found I sucked at anything that required me to throw or catch a ball. What I was good at was videogames. Because of that, gaming is a part of who I am, although my first vivid memory of videogames is about a time where I almost quit on games before I even started. Gather around for story time!
From a young age, my parents saw that I had a passion for videogames, and did their best to promote it. Our family wasn't that well off, but that didn't stop my mom from buying me the latest games for my birthday and Christmas. The first console that they bought for me was the NES. I remember sitting near the Christmas tree and being SO EXCITED when I unwrapped my final present. Immediately after opening the present, my father began hooking the console up, while I just stared at the box and my first game, Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. Being a nerdy little kid, I wanted to be totally prepared for playing the game. I had a princess to save, and I had to make sure I knew the controls! Left/Right to move....B to Run.....A to Jump....got it! I devoured that manual (figuratively) and felt ready to play!
When the console was completely hooked up, I turned on the game and started up Super Mario Bros. World 1-1 flashed before my eyes, and I was transported to the Mushroom Kingdom. Recalling my extensive research of the game, I proceeded to move to the right. Before I knew it, I saw my first Goomba. My reading had taught me that the way to kill the Goombas was to jump on their heads, and so I was ready. I carefully approached the Goomba, pushed a button on the controller....and ran right into it, killing me instantly. For a child, I was devastated. Thoughts passed through my head about how inadequate I was at gaming, how my parents had wasted money on their son, on how I would never save the princess if I couldnt kill the first enemy. I then looked down at the controller and found my problem. The genius's at Nintendo decided, in their infinite wisdom, to place the B button to the LEFT of the A button....in a completely non-alphabetical fashion. Instead of pushing the jump button like I thought, I had unknowingly pushed the run button. Relieved by this oversight I had made, I decide to try again. This time, that Goomba was history, and a gamer was born.
Over time, my gaming skills changed and matured. I've had many gaming phases of my life. I've had periods where I was in love with the sidescrolling adventure type, the fighting game (MvC2 BABY!), and the RPG (Secret of Mana is my favorite game of all time). I've owned many consoles and played many games, but the thing that has stayed constant has been my love of this medium, and that's something that I know will stay with me for a long time. When I finally do start teaching a class as a professor, I will definitely need to keep my Fridays free of exams and grading duties. How else am I going to take part in a Friday Night Fight?
I have a slightly unusual gaming history in that most people my age (mid-twenties or older)
remember the NES and SNES with great fondness, but I didn't get a console until buying a
Playstation with my babysitting money as a teenager. My parents refused to buy any system
because they didn't want my brother and I to become addicted to video games (my mother
didn't "believe in" video games, or so she put it), so I was salivating over the thought of
having my own console many, many years before I actually got one. Until the age of about
fifteen, my sole gaming experience was hijacking the NES at a friends' house and playing
Mario until somewhere around world 2-1, then losing all of my lives pathetically.
Considering how many people I was only friends with so I could get in some quality time
with Mario on their NES, it's kind of sad that I never seemed to get very far.
Of course, back then a lot of my friends only had a few games: Mario, Zelda, and possibly
Duck Hunt. With such a limited selection of games, these kids were already bored with
their Nintendo, so occasionally I'd go over to someone's house to play games and they'd
say "Nah, it's boring, let's go play outside or something." I would typically then spend
the rest of the day plotting insanely complex ways to kill these people. One thing about
starting games really late: You start reading adult books really early.
It was Tomb Raider that turned me into a gamer. Newsweek did a short feature on Tomb
Raider II, and from the first screenshot of Lara in her smart jacket in the snowy foothills
of Tibet, I was enraptured. I'd stopped caring about video games by that time (I guess I'd
just accepted the fact that I was doomed to suck at platforming for my entire life), but
when I found out that games had reached the point where you could tour beautiful exotic
environments, it was like a lightbulb went off over my head that this was something I
needed to experience. Superficially, it didn't hurt that Lara was the first game character
who actually looked like me. I may not be fond of what's happened to Lara since (it's kind
of like watching a beloved older sister grow up and become a hooker), but I'll always be
grateful to TR as the game that made me a gamer.
As time went on I became more of an RPG player than anything else--it seemed like more of a
natural outgrowth of my love of fantasy novels-- but I still have a huge soft spot for
third-person adventure games. I've probably completed fewer games overall than many
gamers, since I tend to replay a select few games that I really like over again
rather than playing new games all the time, but if I get to even half the games that I
intend to play, it'll be a pretty impressive repertoire. However, I never just want to
passively play games and never create anything, so I try to use games a springboard for my
creativity, be it drawing or even starting to make my own games; it's a delicate balance
between being able to play as much as I'd like to and still keep up with my other
interests, but I wouldn't want it any other way...well, unless I could somehow figure out a
way to function without any sleep, but I drink enough coffee as it is.
[Thanks to everyone who participated and read this. If any of you want to participate in this please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a million.