Video games have played an important role in my life. †So much so, that today, as a thirty something-year-old guy, it is engrained as one of my favorite past times. Video games, to me, is a hobby in much of the same way as reading, exercise, movies, or knitting breasts out of yarn.
Ever notice that yarn breasts from the 70ís look different than yarn breasts from the 90ís?
At a very young age, I was exposed to video games. I clearly remember the first game I played and that was Combat on my cousinís Atari 2600. It was the early 80ís, and as a small child, it was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. Combat was nothing special. It was essentially a 2-player competitive game with various game types. Atari advertised that this title had 27 different game types (LIAR!). In the end the goal was to shoot your opponentís genital shaped blob before they shot your genital shaped blob.
The cover art is not at all deceiving!
After wetting my whistle on my cousinís 2600 and as I got a bit older, I was ready for a console of my own. By now it was the mid-80ís and the country was going through Nintendo fever. All my friends had a NES and I wanted one badly. With Christmas right around the corner, I begged my parents for one.
They really couldnít understand why I wanted exactly the same thing that all my friends had. ďDonít you want something different?Ē My mother would ask. ďHow about this Sega Master System? This way you can play Nintendo at your friends and then your friends can play Sega here.Ē †This logic, to this day makes zero sense, but to a 5 year-old, it was pure wisdom. She was like a female Buddha, with a thick Italian accent.
It was at this point that I became a Sega fan boy of epic proportions. My Nintendo friends, by the way, were not at all interested in my Sega Master System. To top it all off, the Master System didnít gain the traction that the Sega Genesis would later enjoy in the U.S., so I was on my own.
My Master System days were not a total loss however. There were some amazing games released for that plucky black box. My favorite was a relatively obscure title called Wonder Boy in Monster Land. I adored this game and I played the shit out of it.
I SHALL SMITE THEE!
In the years that followed, my devotion to Sega continued. I owned a Sega Genesis and all of the add-ons (Sega CD, 32X) and a Sega Saturn. However, during this time a new player entered the gaming scene, and for the first time, I bought a console that was not from Sega, and that was the Sony Playstation (PS1).
This was now the mid-90ís (SO EXTREME!) and even though I played and enjoyed my PS1, I was a teenager, in high school, with a lot of other things on my mind, mainly football and girls. My PS1 started to get less and less use. I was probably on the verge of breaking up with video games forever, until I read a review for a new game that just came out from Capcom, which sounded pretty cool. I had some money in my pocket, a driverís license, and was bored, so off I went to the store to pick up a copy.
With a new copy of Resident Evil in hand, I powered up my PS1 and started to play. It was early evening, and was just starting to get dark outside. I wasnít very impressed at the start. The control scheme was odd and the voice acting was hysterically shitty. It did have a cool creepy vibe though, one that I hadnít experienced in a game before.
At this point, the sun had gone down and my room was dark. I could smell the dinner my mom was making downstairs in the kitchen and had plans to meet up with some friends and go to a party, drink some Natty Ice, and if I played my cards right, awkwardly make out with my High School sweetheart. This game was really not doing it for me, at the first point where I can save my progress (Typewriter? Really Capcom?), Iím going to quit and call it night. Iím just going to walk down this hallway and maybe theyíll be a save point behind this door...
I think I just shit my pants!
I never played a game before that scared the shit out of me. When that zombified dog lept through the window, I experienced a true, brief moment of terror in the same way a horror movie would get you. It was the perfect set up, and executed just right. The game lulled me to sleep, and just when I was about to give up, boom! I was hooked.
Resident Evil brought me back to video games. I was starting to feel apathetic to games in general and Resident Evil made me excited about games again. Perhaps it was me getting older, while console games lagged behind a bit. I was growing up and games like Mario and Sonic were simply not floating my boat anymore. Finally, there was a game that attempted to be more mature and step up the production values a bit. Technology has come so far since then, that we can look back and laugh at how primitive the visuals were and how horrible the voice acting was in Resident Evil, but one can arguably say that this game broke the mold. Here was a game that was mature, and not because it was filled with blood and gore, but because it had character development, pacing, appropriate music, and mood. One can say that this was a first, awkward and wobbly step to making games more movie-like.
Unlike Night Trap, which is just awkward and made me feel dirty
I have not stopped playing games since Resident Evil. If anything, my enthusiasm for gaming grew as video games as a medium matured. Since then, Iíve owned a Sega Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, and have become a big proponent of gaming as a medium and form of entertainment. A lot of things have changed between then and now. The Resident Evil series, for example, blows now, but video games in general are on par with Hollywood in terms of production values, creativity, and the amount of revenue it generates. Iíd like to think that the first original Resident Evil was the genesis of that. The merits of Resident Evil are up for debate, but regardless of what you think, I personally will always be fond of Resident Evil, as that was the game that cemented me as a lifelong gamer.