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About 21 years ago, my uncle Chris bought a Sega MasterSystem II, one of the ones with Alex the Kid built into it, and from that moment on, I was in to video games. After considerable pestering, my younger brother and I managed to convince Mum and Dad to get us our own one, which changed my pocket money sink from penny sweets to cartridges. Obviously Sonic the Hedgehog was an instant favourite (I remember wanting blue spiky hair for a while), along with Wonderboy and Super Monaco GP, but life became about going round my uncles to play Alex the Kid. Then Chris got a Megadrive, I went with him to W.H Smiths to get it and the shop assistant smiled and asked if it was for me, Chris being the legend he was replied: "No, it's mine!". The memory is one of my fondest, and I bring it up as it sort of highlights what a fundamental part of my life gaming is.

After the Megadrive came to the end of it's life cycle, my Dad set up his own business and bought a computer, and so began my foray into PC Gaming with Wolfenstien and an old shareware dungeon crawler that my Dad loved called Dungeons of the Unforgiven. He's never been great with computers, so he always asks me to "take a look at" stuff, the last time I did, I installed a DosBox program and the full release of Dungeons of the Unforgiven for him, man seeing him get excited about a game was great. The big games during this period were the Baldur's Gate games, Diablo II and CounterStrike 1.6, all of which are games I drop back into periodically, especially CS

While playing PC games, I had shied away from consoles, but made a triumphant return to the platform with the GameCube, the stand out game there being Super Smash Bro's Melee, which remains one of my most played titles ever. The GameCube has always been under-rated in my eyes, I see it as the best console of it's generation. This is where I played my first Zelda, and my first Metroid games, as being a Sega kid during the old console war meant Nintendo were the hated enemy. Being a PC gamer had meant I had skipped the PlayStation and Final Fantasy, but I borrowed a friends PS2 and played through Final Fantasy X. Thus started my love affair with JRPG's. Christmas that year was when I'd asked for Tales of Symphonia which had come out earlier that year (I think). I don't think I left my room till after the new year, but when I did, my love of the genre was all consuming.

Then two things happened, I met my wife, and the scourge known as World of Warcraft. The former is a girl gamer I met on-line and tried to convince to play CS with me (that's not innuendo, honest), she never did prove she played it,but I did manage to introduce her to WoW, and created a monster. She moved in with me, as she was from a different part of the country, and the economic crisis was just beginning, so finding a job down here wasn't proving easy. So it was no surprise that she beat me to level 80, and started raiding, even taught me how to raid as my first ever raid leader. I'm not going to go into detail about WoW, other than to say for two years or more Ali and I sat in the same room gaming at night (I was a night-shift worker at the time), and we look back on that time fondly.

We played till just before Cataclysm hit, but by then we'd gotten bored and gradually both stopped playing. We bought a 360 and Wii together, and after two hard years of trying, Ali found a fantastic job.

Not that I used the new consoles much to start with, I'd found EvE Online and become mesmerized with the meta-game within it. I ended up spending a fair bit of time and money on EvE before I knocked it on the head due to working more and more hours. Oh and having a beautiful little girl called Winter The life constraints have made a return to off-line console gaming and handhelds make perfect sense. I've also become something of a games collector. I spend my spare time either trawling game stores, or the internet for games and their strategy guides, or playing them. The guides are part of the collection to me.

Looking back on what I've written here, illustrates I hope, the impact gaming has had on my entire life, and how passionate I am about gaming as a hobby. Thankfully, my wife is part of that hobby, and in future I'm really looking forward to sharing this with Winter, who has just turned a year old.

I'm thinking Wind Waker for the first game we play through together.
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I made a decision to start blogging about the <3Video Games<3 one night ages ago after reading some of the blogs here.  I wrote this massive bio and filled in my personal details. Then did nothing. Bottled it. Writers block. Whatever. I went back to reading the site, browsing the blogs and making the odd comment here and there, but not ever really contributing anything to any discussion.

I'm generally a quiet, anti-social dude who likes peace and quiet, but I also like talking. Like most people I talk about what I'm passionate about, and for me that's gaming. If I get into a conversation about gaming with people, I can generally hold my own.  I just suck at starting them.

So anyway a few blogs I've read recently here have been these call to action, get off your arse and start writing inspirational pieces. And I sit here thinking, yeah I should totally do that. I read dtiod near enough daily. If I have a few quiet minutes between 5:30 and 6am, before my daughter wakes up I come here to read what the good folks write.

So I'll give this a go.

So, um, games.




God Eater.

So looking through the pages I spot the God Eater 2 opening anime article.  I got a thing for anime, I got's a Vita (<3), so I read/watch/get-hyped.  The opening anime looks sick, it's like Monster Hunter, which is cool, and I read somewhere it's going to get a EU release maybe when researching a bit of history on the series. Awesome.

Later I'm browsing the PSN store on the Vita and see Gods Eater Burst on there for £7.99.  I just been paid, so I'm feeling flush, and I've put my money down for a pre-order of XCOM Enemy Within, so why not treat myself.

I've maybe put 2 hours in, so I'm barely scratching the surface, but I see a lot of potential.  It's got a post-apocalyptic, Digital-Devil Saga feel to it which I can dig on, and plays pretty similar to Monster Hunter. I found a neat thing being that the right-stick of the Vita can be set for camera control which instantly makes playing easier.  It's looking pretty dated and the animations in the story are a little bleh, but it is a PSP game that's a few years old, and I have just been playing Dragons Crown, which is gorgeous on the OLED screen of the Vita, so I'll let that slide.

So yeah, good first impressions, this will do nicely for the two weeks until...



XCOM Enemy Within.

XCOM Enemy Unknown was a runaway hit with me when it was release.  It was sci-fi. It was unforgiving. It made me sad when Col. Xian, the sniper I had from touchdown in the first mission bought the farm. 

That was something I loved about this game.  The soldiers are randomly generated pixel junk, yet  over time they become old friends. Reliable.  They they die on Ironman mode. The void they leave in the game is unlike any other game experience I've had, they are genuinely missed, and from reading online, other people were having similar experiences, so I'm not as soft in the head as I thought!

Overall, it's a great game if you like turn-based strategy games, SRPG's or just a real challenge. It's not the best looking game out there, but it's true to itself with some nice lighting effects and atmospheric background music.  Seriously, if you didn't play this game the first time round, go pick it up, turn the lights off, make a cup of tea, and enjoy! Or hold off a few weeks and get Enemy Within, which overlays and expands on the original game.

Yeah do that.


So, um yeah, I think I'm just going to click publish on this blog before I bottle it. I hope it's not been to hard work to read, I kinda just splurged without structure.



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