It's fitting that my first blog should be based on how I got into games. Twisted Metal is not the first game I've ever played, but it sure as hell is one of the best. This is one of the games I played extensively in my early days of gaming.
Before Twisted Metal, the games I played were mostly SNES games, at my grandfather's house. I vaguely recall one with a bearded man playing banjo on the cover, and that was like unbeatable for me. I also played Pilotwings, which was great fun until that combat level. Also, Super Mario Allstars was this killer collection of Mario games, none of which I've ever beaten. Another was this one with a purple phantom guy with sweet gadgets, but that one's a bit hazy. (just found out it's called Phantom 2040, based on a comic book character)
Around that time, my brothers were more into games than I was. (they were born in 1986 and 1988, and I came into being in 1993) Around the late 90's, we got a Playstation. My oldest brother spent his time on it playing borrowed games like Silent Hill (still scary as hell), Resident Evil (also scary), and Metal Gear Solid (I regret that I have never played this game all the way through). Our tastes were different, though, as I was a little kid. One day, I came upon Twisted Metal.
Now when you're a kid, you don't know what games are good or bad, because you dont have reference. You simply don't know what a good game really is. However, Twisted Metal struck me as a great game, from the diverse cast of characters, to the awesome way to beat levels (beat the shit out of everyone else, then kill a boss car), to the simple-enough control scheme. I would memorize where the powerups were and return to the good ones whenever they respawned.
Strangely, I recall Twisted Metal 3 as a far more memorable game, maybe due to the Rob Zombie soundtrack. If Wikipedia is correct (always) then this game was actually panned when it came out. Like I said, when you're a kid, you don't really know the difference.
It was Twisted Metal, and some others like Super Mario 64, PC classics like Diablo II and Starcraft, and even GTA III (they shouldn't have let me play this, now I'm totally a serial killer) that bumped me into the gaming world. Now I'm a more hardcore gamer than my brother. (I got him into Rock Band, but our band, Treegoats, disbanded when he moved out again.) In an odd twist of fate, it used to be him telling me not to play with greasy fingers, and just recently he caught me telling him the same.
So, it was Twisted Metal in a big way that got me into gaming hardcore.