I remember it well, sitting in the lounge room with my family, gathered around the Christmas tree, excitedly opening presents. I had gotten good loot that Christmas, and was pretty happy with this years haul. I was yet to go to Nan and Popís, which would get me more presents. Then I saw it, hidden on the other side of the tree was a huge box. Dad pulled it over and dragged it in front of me and my sister. This probably isnít true, but I remember it being bigger than me.
It was addressed to me and my sister, so I was a bit disappointed this huge box wasnít just for me, but in a few seconds that wouldnít matter at all. We opened it as quickly as we could, ripping the tape off the lid and pulling the lid open. What we saw was the closest thing to treasure I could dream of at the time. When I think back to it, I imagine our faces becoming illuminated with the brightness of the gold inside.
Neatly sitting in the box in front of us was a Playstation 1 and about 100 games to play on it. Until this, we had been a Nintendo family, only owning a SNES and a Nintendo 64. My mind was blow, I couldnít believe what was in front of me. I just stared. My sister had a similar reaction, but after that we took slightly different paths. She would continue to casually play games until this day, falling in love with the Zelda franchise (she even has a tattoo). But for me, it was when I fell in love with videogames. It was when I became a gamer.
I had played a few games on PC, and loved Podracer, Banjo Kazooie, Mario and Turok 2 (dinosaurs!) on the N64, and barely touched the SNES. Games had only been a hobby, something I occasionally did when there was nothing else to do. But from this day on, videogames were a passion, only to become an obsession latter on in life when I finished Resident Evil 4 on PS2.
Me and my sister started looking through the games, I remember being really excited when I saw Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, Iím pretty sure it was the first game I played on my new system. We plugged the PS1 into the tv and began trying as many games as we could before we had to go to Nan and Popís. Going there didnít seem like such a great plan anymore. But we still had to to. Can you imagine? Being a young kid and just getting a PS1 with over a hundred games, only to be told you have to leave it for the day. Iím pretty sure I could of sued my parents for child abuse.
What my Dad had done was buy a PS1, have a chip out in it that would allow burnt games to be played on it, then go to the videostore and rent games. He would then go home, burn them, print out a front and back cover, then a sticker to put on the CD and give it to us. Then Repeat. You could imagine how long this would of taken.
At the time the only Pirates I knew were the ones who sailed around on ships killing and robbing people, and they were awesome. Call me bias, but Iím going to defend my Dad. The games he was burning had been bought by the videostore. The published got itís money, the videostore got itís money, and I got my game. Everyone is happy. And plus, he was only a father trying to make his kids happy.
Donít think burning so many games didnít has it repercussions. It was extremely hard to become attached to a game when you had so many. I think you could count the amount of games I actually beat on one hand. I also cheated A LOT. We had a big book of cheats I would use constantly to get to the last level, with unlimited lives and ammo. Looking back now, it wasnít a very rewarding experience
.There were a few games I did become obsessed with though. I loved the Army Men games. Plastic men, just like the ones I have, coming alive and shooting the shit out of each other. It was great.
Then there as the Tony Hawk games. I put countless hours into these, playing with my sister or by myself. I would even role play that I was the skater going around my school or the park.
I loved The Lost World game for one reason: Dinosaurs. I would put in the cheat that let you pick a level and jump straight to the T-Rex or Velocoraptor levels. To a young Ben, any game that let you actually play as a dinosaur was the best game ever, and this is probably still true.
Last there was GTA2, which I wasnít allowed to play at first, and for good reason. When I finally got to play, I had no idea what to do. When I figured it out, Iíd play for hours. And no, I havenít shot a single school.
There were others, which I wonít go into, like MK4, X Files (which you needed a mouse for), Crash Bandicoot and Spyro.
We ended up having almost 250 games, and I was the envy of all my friends. It was great. For one of my birthday I had a bunch of friends over and we played Quake and Medal of Honor all night. Without this present, I wouldnít of stayed on Destructoid, and I wouldnít of become the person I am today...a geek who hates leaving his house.
Another great present was from my ex, she got my The Saboteur on Xbox 360, thatís pretty rad, right? read