[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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.]