I love video games, been gaming since the release of the Intellivision way back when Reagan was in office. †I played many nights and weekends with my older brother trying to beat him at every game we played. †Itís tough being a younger brother not being able to match speed or strength when playing football, baseball or any other outdoor activities that kids used to play. †However, that year I discovered my greatest attribute, agility. † My grades showed I did not have the intelligence but, agility is what gave me the quick reflexes to beat his high scores repeatedly in BurgerTime, Microsurgeon, River Raid & all three games in Triple Action. †Confidence! †I finally felt bigger than life. †I wanted that feeling of satisfaction and victory every day, adventure and excitement was in my basement and it was amazing. †Gameplay was king back then, none of this, ďYo bro come check my system it haz the best graphix !Ē. Going for that high score was the first sign of my addiction to gaming.
As the years went on, video games became more popular with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System. In my little circle I was no longer the best amongst my friends and family. †The popularity of the side scroller took flight and the focus of high scoring was no longer a priority. †In school everyone was talking about how fast they cleared levels, tips and tricks for 1ups, warp pipes, how to get fire works when jumping on the flag pole. †So many new areas and games to explore, more time was needed to enjoy all of these experiences. †That summer I decided to quit baseball, I was 13 and no longer wanted to play. †My parents had asked me why I wanted to leave the team and I had told them I wanted a paper route so I can start to earn money for myself. †In their eyes it was the next logical step. †So after 4 years of Baseball, thats what I did, I left my friends and teammates so I can deliver circulars on the weekends. †The money I made at the time was pretty good and after couple of weeks I was able to start buying the games that I wanted.
†Since Al Gore was still fine tuning the internet, the ability to read reviews at the click of a button wasnít possible . We had to rely on word of mouth or checking out the game box in the store. †The description on the back of the box and 3 screenshots was all the information I could get. †To avoid waiting weeks to buy a crappy game, I decided to add additional days to my paper route, this way I could buy a game every weekend. †With the extra mornings and weekends I had to make a choice on seeing my friends or playing games in my spare time. †Of course I choose playing games! Thats not to say I wouldnít have friends over, but itís not the same as going out and interacting with a group of friends. †Thereís a certain bond you create when your out with your friends, itís also increasingly difficult to get a girlfriend when playing games in your basement all the time. †But nevertheless I was having fun. †I continued this course of action through my High School career and skated by with ok grades, and couple of friends. †Playing most of the games from the 16 & 32-bit era started to seem a little stale. †I was in my early 20ís and was actively social again. †Video games didnít seem to have that stranglehold on me like it once did when I was younger. †Was I finally growing up? †At the time I seemed to have found a good balance between games, girls & friends but I was loosing interest, that was until I saw a demo of Mario 64.
I grew up gaming in the late 70ís and 80ís, so gameplay was always first. That all changed when I saw Mario running around jumping in a 3D world, it was amazing! † It was like a switch went off in my head I had to have an N64. †Once It was released I dragged my girlfriend with me on that Sunday morning and drove around for 5 hours until we found one in the toy section of a Sears 60 miles away. †I got it!!! †Thats it, Iím not going out tonight and Iím calling out of work tomorrow. †Never again will there be another dramatic leap, like there was from 2D to 3D. †I wanted more!
The frustration was growing with Nintendoís monthly releases, sure I got Shadows of the Empire, Turok & Killer Instinct which was all good but once your done your done. †Going from 2D to 3D really stretched development time which I understood but I didnít like. †I was getting impatient so I decided to go buy a Sega Saturn. †I had a Genesis and enjoyed immensely so I put my chips on Sega. †Whether it was my taste in games or the lack of localization, the Saturn did not fill that void. †I need to go bigger and better, maybe I should turn to PC gaming?
When you have a full-time job, a car and a credit card you can do some real damage, and damage I did when I purchased my first PC. †Gaming in the 90ís with a PC is a little different then it is now. †Every six months, a better video card was being released and if you wanted to keep up with all of the great games coming out you made sure your rig was set. †With greater processing speed I needed to see first hand how juiced my gaming rig was, so constant trips to Comp USA & MicroCenter were made weekly. †Purchasing multiple games walking out spending hundreds. †Most of the time before I left the parking lot, I would open the boxes up and look at all of the cool manuals a goodies they used to stuff inside. †Looking back I regret tossing the boxes because I still have all of the CDs. †Probably could have made most of my money back if I had kept everything but I digress. †I still game a little on my PC but things have slowed down a bit, mainly because I'm married with kids and it has to be shared between the four of us.
I had always been aware of portable gaming but wasnít to big into it. †I owned a Gameboy and a Sega Game Gear but one of the biggest turn offs was feeding them with batteries that constantly died , especially the Game Gear. †The graphics didnít compare to anything I had seen on my home consoles or PC so I lost interest pretty quickly. †My love for gaming seemed to fizzle out I was a family man now I had a house with big boy responsibilities. †Iím embarrassed to say but a year after the Wii was released I didnít know what all of the fuss was about. I did a little researching and saw that the remote looked like the original NES controller, it was motion controlled and it came bundled with Wii Sports, sold! †Suddenly my excitement for games was back after several years. †My kids were excited and were playing it everyday it was great! †The appeal of the Wii grabbed me because it was a more family friendly especially with younger kids around. †I wanted to build a library for them so they can enjoy games the way that I did when i was growing up. †I was pleased with the games that were available on the Wii and didnít really follow the PS3 and Xbox 360.
I looked into the DS lite and was slightly interested once I saw the dual screen and stylus in action playing Metroid Prime Hunters. I bought one and 65 games later, I couldnít be happier. †I feel like Iíve made more of a jump to handheld gaming mainly because it fits so well with how my life is. †Everything is being occupied in my house, even as I write this. †The TV, computer, Wii everything!! †A handheld console I can play anywhere, I could game in my bed, my patio, porch, bathroom, on the roof if I choose to do so & with a rechargeable battery, even better. †Once I played through most of what interested me on the DS, I turned to the PSP. †49 games later I kept on going, downloading Psone games and minis, I couldnít stop. †I felt like I was going overboard, I like the pick up and play, it fits my life perfectly but at the same time I canít stop. †I spend more time searching online stores looking for deals on old DS & PSP games to boost my library. †Iím sure everyone has a backlog but I was to the point now where if I have a slight interest in a game and itís cheap, Iíll buy it.
I needed to calm down, so I started to turn my focus to the 3DS and told myself I would only work with one console per generation. †A fresh start! I would purchase the games I wanted and when theyíre released I could maintain any backlog that I have created. Seemed like a good plan but I didnít bank on Nintendo stumbling out of the gate with slow pathetic releases and hardly anything on the Eshop. †Thirsty for more games I broke down I picked up a Vita, my thinking at the time was, Iíll flip flop back and forth until and run with both consoles. †So far so good, I guess. †I have 36 games for my 3DS, not counting VC releases and about 12 for my Vita. †As of right now I currently own just a WiiU and seem to have things under control. †Mainly because Iím unsure of the direction the next gen is going. Iíll play the wait and see approach before I make another console purchase. †I find it enjoyable now reading forums, I still game but not as much. †I donít know if itís because Iím slowly becoming bored with gaming again, or weíre just in that ďnew gen lull", or I just enjoy reading the reactions people have on some of the asinine decisions made by these publishers and console makers. †
How about you? Do you have full control over your hobby?