Remember your first time? The first time you took the thing out and put it into the designated slot to have some fun? The first time you went on for an entire night without taking a 15 minute break after every hour? The first time you hid it from your parents because they weren’t supposed to see what you were doing? The first time you used special periphery? Remember the first time you had friends join in on the fun? Or the first time you did it on a plane or a train? The first time you cried during it, or the first time you laughed your ass off? Do you remember your first time roleplaying or the first time you met resistance and kept pushing on for uh, some consensual fun?
Remember when you first thought: Man, I fucking love videogames!
I do. Or at least I tried to. After recent years surprised me with incredibly fantastic games like The Walking Dead
, Spec Ops: The Line
, The Last of Us
, FTL – Faster Than Light
and many others, I asked myself, “Hey, how did all this actually start again?” And from there on out I thought about the many first moments of awe and wonder I experienced with videogames, the moments that got me invested and let me love videogames, again and again.
Here are some of them:
When we’re talking first times I guess it’s only fair to start at the beginning, right? I was born in ’85, my parents were no nerds but my dad was still kind of familiar with videogames. And so it happened -- much to the dismay of my mother -- that I/we got a GameBoy as my first "console"
when I was about five or six years old. The games that came with it: Tetris
and Super Mario Land
, of which Super Mario Land is the first videogame I ever played
. Little did my parents know what this would do to me in the long run. Massive grade deterioration in highschool for example. In the end I'd count more positive aspects though, like faster learning of the English language, connection with friends or better comprehension of narrative elements. And while my mother still hasn't warmed up to a lot of technological advances (except for some occasional SingStar
, Guitar Hero
or EVEN a phone answering machine) she was actually the one out of her, dad and me who figured out that you could enter the pipes in Super Mario Land to get to "secret" coin rooms. Mind blown.
Dat blocky Greytness
With my games being Mario and Tetris it is kinda obvious that the first game I ever finished
was Super Mario Land. Also, a bit less obviously it is the game where I got my first Gameover screen
. I still remember loving the variety in that game. In one level you were on foot while the next had you in a submarine blasting your way to the level. In the end you even flew a plane and finally faced the boss Tatanga -- as a kid the fight felt to me like bullethell shooters do nowadays . I also remember finding some sounds effects quite creepy and in later stages you would be pursued by hopping Chinese Jiang Shi zombies. At that time I had no idea what Jiang Shi or zombies were but because they came after me so relentlessly and got back up when I "killed" them they really kept me on edge every time I encountered them.
Funny how it starts with one little game when I'm about to write my bachelor thesis analyzing a videogame.
First game I 100-percented
(only counting games with additional collectibles and challenges beyond the normal playthrough): Wario Land for the GameBoy.
Next came my PC phase. My dad bought one at some point and I could try some stuff out with it. The first PC game I played
was The Lost Vikings
, a game I still hold most dear today because it is excellent. You controlled three vikings named Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout who had different skills they had to utilize to get to the end of a level. Erik could jump and dash through certain walls, Baleog could attack with a sword or use a bow to kill enemies or activate switches and Olaf had a shield the he could use either to block hazards, as a stepping stone for one of the other vikings or as a paraglide. The mechanics and leveldesign are extremely good for such an old game and it still holds up well today in my opinion.
Actually I think that a new (lower budget) one with three player co-op would still sell well today. I remember not really getting the hang of the game at all though. I pretty much sucked at it and used a list of level passwords to check out and try -- and fail at -- the later levels. I went back when I was older and finished that gem of a game.
And while I'm mentioning PC games, here also fits the first game I wasn't allowed to play
. It was Battle Chess
. A version of classic Chess where the pieces would do a crude little battle animation when one attacked the other. Different times, I guess.
My first gaming buddy
was Ben who was in my class when we started highschool. He had a Super Nintendo and I often would come over to his place to game the days away. We got pretty far into Yoshi's Island
and The Adventures of Batman and Robin
. I think we finished Yoshi but Batman was hard
. Trying to beat the stages, figuring out new ways together, talking about that shit, that was new to me and it was amazing. He also got the Star Wars
SNES game which we finished as well if I remember correctly. I would then bring over my GameBoy games of Empire and Return so that we could play them on the Super GameBoy adapter. Also, we watched stupidly awesome late-night movies like Beast – Schrecken der Tiefe
(US: The Beast
) where some giant squid terrorizes a smalltown.
Good times were had but as fate wanted it they wouldn't stay. After a year or so contact faded who knows why, but maybe our paths would cross again...
For Christmas '97 I eventually got my first console
, a PlayStation. My first console games
being Cool Boarders 2
and Broken Sword 2
. Doing tricks while boarding down a snowy mountain was great fun and my love for point 'n' click adventures still burns brightly today (gotta get that new Broken Sword game during Winter Sale). Also, my first demo disc
demo1 with lots of PlayStation games to try out like Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
. I ended up loving the PSone A LOT. Games like Crash Bandicoot
and many, many more are still dear to me. And if I'd be forced to swear allegiance to only one console it would most probably be a PlayStation.
First videogame movie I watched
was Mortal Kombat
. I didn't know the games back then and the movie is kinda trashy nowadays but since I was, like twelve or so the movie was actually pretty damn magnificent.
Much of my PSone love doubtlessly stems from the first rpg I played
(and its PS one successors), namely Final Fantasy VII
. I still play it every now and then because it is just an awesome game. The characters are likable, the soundtrack is amazing, the game world is huge
and full of stuff to do and the battle and skill system are simple but brilliant. No need to say much about it, the game just rocks.
First time I was a dick concerning a videogame:
During highschool a friend of mine acquired the Spiderman
game for PSone. Since Spiderman was (and is) our favourite superhero we would meet up and play the game together. One time he visited me to play it at my place. Due to some obligations he couldn’t keep playing the game the same day which is why he allowed me to borrow it until the next
day (he was pretty strict about that). Being a dick and wanting to keep playing the awesome game with flipping Spiderman I left it at home and said that I had forgotten it there. The ruse was as lousy as it was transparent. Needless to say my mate was pretty pissed at me. I did feel bad and still remember the deed as one of my whackest moments. But hey, I could play a videogame for a few more hours … ugh.
First time I made the case for a game:
I had first heard about this game from a buddy and it sounded incredible! Fighting a helicopter on a rooftop, a mind-controlling gas mask dude, a vicious sniper girl, a giant shaman with a mini-gun, atom-bomb launching robot tanks, snakes, why am I still typing and not playing Metal Gear Solid
This year I easily bought it again as a PSone classic on PSN but when I was 14 I first had to convince my dad that this game was appropriate for me. And convincing I did, with a fervor and reasoning that in comparison would've turned pale Matlock, Phoenix Wright and Ally McBeal. “Dad, the game is about ‘espionage’ (Dad being a big James Bond fan), you don’t need to kill anybody, actually it is far better if you don’t kill anybody and stay hidden, the story is quite important as well and I really really really
want it. Please?” It worked. Game rocked my world. I rejoiced.
My first starter Pokèmon
was in Gen I, Bisasam. Da fuq is a Bisasam you may ask. It’s the German name for Bulbasaur
. Always loved the little guy.
The first horror game I ever played
is Resident Evil 2
. I played it over at a friend’s house when we were 13-ish. And it was awesome! The atmosphere, the setting, the difficulty, the story, the suspense, the perfect opener for a thrilling genre. This game is what started my love for zombies, corporate conspiracies and survival horror in the first place. A great service I’ll always cherish. Maybe for that I’ll finish it one day cause, well, I didn’t. While I played it at my friend’s place and loved it I mostly watched him play. The first RE I finished by myself was RE3 which is actually my favourite of the franchise (due to Nemesis) closely followed by RE2 and Remake. Upon inquiring why he bought RE2 before RE1, he said to me that I dissuaded his mother from buying RE1 before because it was a M-rated game with gore and stuff. Now I really can’t believe it myself but I have to take his word on this. 13 year old me could be quite a dick apparently.
First gaming marathon:
I must’ve been in ninth or tenth grade when I started playing Grandia
, a nice little Jrpg with well-written taking characters, an epic story, a great battle system, a brilliant soundtrack and THE MOST ADDICTIVE SKILL SYSTEM EVER DESIGNED BY MAN. Seriously, that skill system was worse than crack-cocaine, meth-heroin and another hard-drug-amalgam combined. It worked in a way that each character was leveling four element skills (Fire, Wind, Earth, Water) and two to three weapon skills. Each skill-level-up would net the respective character a small stat boost (like +1HP for a Water-level-up) but the most important thing was unlocking new skills with reaching new element and weapon levels. Say, before switching your console off you check your skill screen and see that you need Wind on level 9 to unlock a new skill. Now, you already have it on 8, so this is over in a breeze. Nice, new skill! Oooooh, what is this? There is a combined
skill -- that only needs Wind 9, Fire 12 and Sword 12 -- waiting for you to get these last two levels on Sword and Fire. Now, this will be over quick as lightni-HOLY SHIT, I’VE PLAYED SIX MORE HOURS!
This way I ended up playing Grandia for twelve hours straight. I mean, I pulled all-nighters with friends before but those were more movie-game-nights with lots of bullshit-talking. This was a twelve hour Grandia binge only paused for toilet walks and food gathering. This was new for me. And it was great.
Of course it wasn’t solely the skill system that hooked me but it helped with the occasional crucial push when you’re about to switch off the game. Everything else is great as well. The sense of adventure, the characters, everything. If -- for some reason -- you haven’t played Grandia, stop reading this and get it on PSN ASAP. But do come back, okay? Hello?
When released the PlayStation 2 was too expensive for me so I waited a year or two and was pretty damn happy when I got the money on Christmas to buy one. Having played over at a friend's place I already had seen the awesomeness that was Devil May Cry
. So it was only logical that my first PS2 games
I bought with the system were Devil May Cry, featuring cocky, battle-hardened, fiend-slaying half-demon, full-badass Dante, and Kuri Kuri Mix
(known in the US as The Adventures of Cookie and Cream
), a nice and cuddly, severely -- I think -- overlooked gem of a co-op game. Both games totally rocked in their way. DMC (capital m only) just was so well designed. The action and soundtrack -- which I still listen to today -- were out of this world. I loved the bosses like lava-spider Phantom and tragic Nelo Angelo and how you built up a kind of rivalry with them because you fought them more than once. Also small doses of backtracking -- not like that bullshit in DMC4 -- made the gameworld feel very coherent and alive. An overall well-done game! Kuri Kuri Mix on the other hand satisfied with some nice puzzle-y co-op platforming that got pretty hard nearing the end if I remember correctly. As in every co-op game it was especially fun to let your partner drown instead of helping him with raising a platform.
The PS2 ended up being my favourite console of all time with a gigantic game library spanning all genre and some creative and innovative ideas like Guitar Hero, EyeToy and such.
Recounting the first time I got utterly dominated in a videogame
I’m just gonna have to cheat and mention two different instances of getting owned.
The first one is a series of one-on-one duels in Dead or Alive 2
on PS2 against a friend. Normally I could give him at least a bit of a challenge but on one day, he completely annihilated me. After winning the first matches his robotic beat ’em up brain adjusted to my playstyle quicker than usual and he kept winning and winning and winning and winning and winning… and we’re talking around thirty or forty matches with max number of rounds each. At some point I was getting desperate enough to resort to empty threats like “I will never play DoA against you if I lose another round”. I don’t even remember if he let me win one time out of pity. He beat me into a state of mind where I wanted to roll on the ground and flail my arms and legs. That’s some ownage right there.
The other instance happened on a LAN party some buddies and me were having and was less one-on-one-dominating and more… oh, you’ll see.
Ben, my aforementioned gaming buddy, hit the competitive PC gaming scene pretty hard after leaving Yoshi’s Island behind. He has played Counterstrike
and every Call of Duty
more or less competitively but in one game he achieved true mastership. He was fucking Neo seeing the code of the matrix. That game was Tactical Ops
, a Counterstrike counterpart based on the Unreal engine and as I said, he was really into it. I vividly remember witnessing him leaving his actual guests to their own devices to have clan meetings via TeamSpeak. Maneuvers, battle plans, maps and tactics; all that jam and oh god, the slang. I'll probably never understand the derogatory communication style a lot of (semi)pro-gamers use.
Since I’m not much of a competitive gamer myself (save for the occasional fun match Tekken or Crash Team Racing
and recently Dota2
) I found those antics quite funny in a kind of terrifying way.
And funny they were, until we played TacOps at the LAN party. A timeline:
We started with balanced player counts on both teams (I’m guessing 4on4). Ben’s team won.
We started to re-balance the player counts against Ben’s favor. Ben’s team won.
We re-balanced again, this time drastically. Ben won.
We introduced house-rule #1 “No weapons above pistols for Ben”. Ben won.
We introduced house-rule #2 “Only knives for Ben”. Ben won.
Stahp, please. Don’t kill us anymore.
And don’t think that we were just a bunch of suicidal noobs. Everyone of us had played fps before, having at least an acceptable skillset but we still got totally and singlehandedly dominated by Ben, that fuckface
(love you, mate).
And while getting dominated doesn't sound like fun these moments were fascinating enough to make for good gaming experiences. In hindsight. When I'm in a good mood.
Speaking of good mood. There are few games I really hate. DmC (booo, lower case m) would be an example or the FF XIII stuff and while I was bitterly disappointed with Grandia 2
the award for first game I hated with a passion
goes toooooo Resident Evil 4
. Maybe it just hit a wrong note with me, maybe it was because I started to get more refined opinions about media and games but I just absolutely can’t stand that game and what it stands for. Now I’m not gonna go on a rant here as it has been done many times before but I just can't accept this watered down, action-oriented, NIL horror game as a Resident Evil title. It's easy as fuck and the gamedesign is boring and bad; enter an area, gun down every enemy, move on, repeat ad nauseam. No careful resource management whatsoever is required to survive, no lack of ammo or anything else for that matter makes for some chilling fight-or-flight decisions and an overpowered, wrestlingmove-using protagonist is just the worst idea ever for a Resident Evil game. While playing the game I kept saying to myself "Keep it up, it is RE, it will get better", spoiler alert, it doesn't get better. It gets worse.
The story -- yes, I care about the story in RE -- is complete bullshit and shallow. Leon kills a few bad excuses for antagonists and gets infected by some spooky bullshit parasite, big whoop, why should I care, it doesn't even affect the fucking gameplay because that would've been too good and coherent of an idea for this piece of shit excuse for a Resident Evil game. Escorting Ashley has to be one of the worst things I experienced in gaming ever and the entire third location is just so artificially bloated and made-up that it made me want strangle someone. Oh, and to top it off, in the final fight you get a special rocket launcher which is literally described as the perfect weapon to exterminate the boss. What is this self-referential, immersion-breaking bullshit in my RE? Hell, even Resident Evil 5
was more fun and engaging because at least there you could shoot stuff up with a buddy. The only, absolutely only good thing that I can say without blowing a gasket is that the Regeneradores are one of the best enemies ever designed in a videogame. RE4's gameplay however was bland and unfinished, the story was crap, the characters unlikable and annoying, the action approach superfluous, and it killed Resident Evil. Just killed it like that.
Oh well, could’ve seen that coming.... /rant
Entering the third generation of PlayStation consoles was only a matter of time for me. Ever since God of War 3
was announced it was clear that I'd get one (well, what a disappointment that game was for me, hah). So when the Slim edition entered the game my time had come. At the end of 2009 I got me a PS3 for my 24th birthday and the first PS3 games
were Mirror's Edge
and Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction
closely followed by three games a buddy brought along from the US (cheaper for me): Tekken 6
, R&C: A Crack in time
and Uncharted 2
I already had played Mirror's Edge over at a friend's place and loved it. Now it still is one of my favourite games of the generation and I really really hope they don't fuck-up the sequel, prequel, reboot, ARGH, why a reboot?
My love for the Ratchet games is written in stone as well, only stuff like All4One
can make me doubt Insomniac. Well, that and FUSE
. Will get Into the Nexus in a few days, pretty pumped about that one.
Uncharted 2 turned out to be an incredible WOW!
-experience and for quite some time I considered it to be a perfect game. The setpieces, the action, the Indiana Jones feeling, loved it to bits! Played the first one later one, also great. Got the third one shortly after it was released, really amazing setpieces but no narrative coherency to a degree where I felt bullshitted, overall a lesser package than game two and one.
In the end getting a PS3 was the right decision. I played some really good games like inFamous
, Last of Us
, Lollipop Chainsaw
, Demon's Souls
(although I haven't made it that far yet), Little Big Planet
, Heavy Rain
and many more. Moreover, I still got a backlog with quite some games. Unfortunately my BluRay-drive is working up and I often need to try several times before a game starts booting up. Dampens fun and motivation a bit.
I was quite late to the Steam party. When it was first introduced my PC wasn’t good enough to play games like Halflife 2
and I only had regular access to the internet when I started with college at age 22. I made my account in 2011 because a friend was heavily recommending HL2 and Portal
. To play them he lend me his Orange Box but -- as it turned out -- you can’t lend games you already activated on Steam. Shortly after this initial disappointment something bad happened though, really bad, really really bad, for my bank account. This something
was the Summer Sale 2011 *dun dun dun*. Although I didn’t buy that many games during that sale it made me love Steam -- because who doesn’t love awesome stuff for cheap? -- which subsequently hurt my finances a lot. Also, dat backlog is grow-*ringring*Yes, hello? What, I’m digressing? Okay, I’ll distract them and get back on topic. Take care and thanks, Mr. President, now we’re even.
During the Summer Sale 2011 I got my first game on Steam
which was VVVVVV
. It’s an awesome indie title by Terry Kavanagh who also did the great Don't look back
. I love the tight platforming controls, the challenge the game presented -- Veni, Vidi, Vici anyone? So damn satisfying --, the overall style and praise Thor, I absolutely adore the soundtrack, Predestined Fate
being one of my favourite videogame tracks of all time. This reminds me that I should dig up Super Hexagon
from my backlog and give it a spin.
This year I had my first really emotional game experience
. While the “evil ending” of inFamous2
was pretty fucking sad and brought a few tears to my eyes, nothing I have played to this day ever came close to what I experienced during Telltale’s The Walking Dead
. The game really wrecked me. Since I tried to play the game making decisions like I would do in real life it hit me hard in the face with its introspective nature and its abundance of moral relativism. No game before made me feel so guilty, yet justified. So sad, yet angry. So desperate, yet a bit hopeful. And no game made me cry before. The connections you feel towards the NPCs in general and Clementine in particular really take their toll during some of the heavier scenes. Beginning and middle of episode 3 for example were incredibly powerful for me, not to mention the entire final episode. During the end scene I was bawling my eyes out.
And for that it’s easily in my Top 5 games of all time.
I don’t even care that a lot of the decisions still lead to the same outcome because as I see it, it’s not the decision that counts but rather the way you feel about making, living with and justifying it for yourself.
The first time I visited Destructoid
was today six years ago. Thanks for a lot of insights, entertainment and news, folks!
(actually it was six years and ten days ago but I was too lazy to finish writing this post)
And finally, first game during which I had sex: Megaman 10. I REGRET NOTHING! *highfive*
Also, you will probably remember stuff like cblog introductions, "10 things you didn't know about member xy" (sry, link didn't work) or lately "x things I'm excited about"
I really enjoy stuff like this on this site, reading about other peoples' experiences and (gaming) passions. So if you liked this little trip into my gaming past, feel free to share your own. I'd sure as hell love to read them!