[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.