Wow, I've really been procrastinating with this. At first, I thought I would write about only one particular game, but decided I wouldn't be able to say enough about any particular game, so I've decided to give a brief rundown of some of the experiences(mostly involving playing games with other people) that have made me so attached to games.
Oddly enough, my fascination with games began before I could even read or write properly. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting down with my father by our old MS-Dos computer and playing Lemmings. Oh how I loved those quirky little suicidal Lemmings. I must have been about 4 or 5 years old, and I remember how my father helped explain each level for me, and would help me write down the password after each level. Sure, Lemmings was pretty simple, but I will always remember the fun I had and the sense of accomplishment I received from guiding those little guys to their destination, their "heaven" as the game would seem to imply.
For a few years after that, my exposure to games was limited to playing the shit out of Outrun and a few other games on my Uncle's Sega Master System whenever I would visit him. Eventually, my dad bought me a Sega Genesis. I only owned 3 or 4 games for it, but I'll always remember the times when me and my dad would play the multiplayer modes on great games such as Sonic 2. Playing games with him was a great experience, even with not so great games like the Aerosmith endorsed "Revolution X" and some mediocre Batman Forever game that had come out at the time. It is through this bonding experience, that some of my most memorable games-related moments have occured. This bonding that video games provided has always meant something to me, especially since not too long after those times playing my Genesis with him, my father had passed away.
This was about a year after the N64 came out, and in the following couple of years, I built up quite the game collection. I guess that must have been part of my reaction to my father's death, as I delved deeper into my choice form of escapism. I remember having about 32 games, which even now is more than I've had for any one console. Of course, like many others, I fell in love with games like Ocarina of Time, Banjo Kazooie and the sleeper hit Space Station Silicon Valley. Most of all, Ocarina of Time was the main game that helped me see games as a truly immersive experience. I remember being truly amazed by the atmosphere, amazing boss battles and challenging puzzles(Hey, I was like 10 and the Water Temple was fucking hard). Often times, however, I could become just as immersed in a game when competing with my friends. Great multiplayer games like Goldeneye and Mario Kart in particular provided lots of great gaming memories.
Looking back on my gaming history, the times I would spend hours at a time playing with these friends provided some of the best moments I've had related to games. A few years after the N64-era of consoles, I would stay over at my best friend's house for a day or two, usually in the summer, and we would just hang out and play games. Often times we'd play Smash Bros. Melee(or Street Fighter 3, or King of Fighters, or random competitive games) till the wee hours of the morning, go to sleep, and then wake up to once again challenge each other in whatever game we were into at the time. Even the times when we would take turns playing great single player games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and Ninja Gaiden, we always had fun.
Throughout the past couple of years, I've grown apart from these friends for a variety of reasons(college, various life drama) and I've truly been missing some of these great bonding-through-gaming moments. Xbox Live has somewhat remedied that, but I'll never forget those hot summer days, huddled up with good friends on the couch/floor. read