In my head as I write and pluck the hazy memories from deep within the meat of my brain, I hear some kind of ragtime piano merrily singing and I picture the scene played out behind a sepia tinted slightly sped up film. Crackling and uneven. The reality, nothing like that. It was a while ago though, back in the very early eighties. Please walk with me brothers and sisters in gamingÖ
I would guess I was about five years old. Round my aunties house, sitting beside my mum as she waffled on about god only knows what with my aunt, on what seemed at the time my aunts cartoon sized roger rabbit extended stretched kitchen type enormous sofa. I remember scrambling off the cushion and wandering off desperate to engage the still working cogs in my little head. This was obviously way before tits and what not were anywhere close to my thoughts, so pretty much anything would fascinate me, even without a nipple attached to it.
Aha, I found something. The looming vast entrance to the Aztec temple. Golden steps, the top of which obscured by grey clouds illuminated with the bassy rumble of occasional thunder. Standing at the foot of the mountain peak I gazed upwards. The most monumental climb known to man, the fuzzy steps. Stairs! Somethings got to be going on up there, off I wentÖ
I defeated the mountain, made it to the top and stood outside a waiting door. A grown ups door. My older cousin, miserable, a little intimidating. I was never thinking to actually enter, merely flirt with the danger of having a listen to what was going on, my ear pressed hard to the wood.
It was from this moment, at the tender age of around six or so years, I heard it. The manic bleeping. The stabbing synth like sound. It sounded like actual fucking insanity. As soon as I gathered enough bravery within my chest to gingerly ease the door open for a better look. I entered the room. Stale farts and a mess of clothes and magazines with tits. This was a mans zone; I felt big.
I entered my older cousins room and my eyes were drawn to a strange looking box with a wooden front panel on the floor, and my cousin hunched over, controlling on the screen, with what looked like some kind of angular Yellow head with square edges like some kind of flat animated lego brick, that had been attempted to be constructed round in shape. As he moved his hand, the actual yellow pill guzzling drug addict on the screen avoided what looked like ghosts. This was all happening at the whim and wish of my cousin. Who had full control of this world. The box said Atari 2600 on it. My life changed; I became a gamer.
He acknowledged my presence with a simple nod towards the floor. Indicating the empty patch next to him on the carpet for me to sit down on and watch in silence. I didnít get told off. He knew this moment was going to be burned within my memories for ever; to take me from but a boy, to a spartan. Something new was happening. Video gaming. He knew this would be with me forever. Thirty something years on, as he silently prophesied, I recount it to you. This was Pac Man and this was when the beauty of gaming bared all to me for the first time. Her breasts pert and firm. (Several breast references in this article, simply because it has to be done)
After my Atari 2600. My old man insisted I get a ďreal computerĒ, this came in the form of the legendarily crappy Spectrum 48k, which they coughed up for *stands up and salutes the memory of the rubber keys* Sitting patiently minutes upon minutes as the screen edges danced. Fucked up lines that looked like something was broken and the loading sound, that sound which no man; machine or being on earth could probably replicate in itís painful entirety. The spectrum loading screech. Everything was ok as long as it didnít flash the ominous two tones. If the lines were moving, all was good in the hood my playaz.
I would have been close to eight or so years old right now. Well, the thing busted, I canít remember exactly what I did but I stuck in it something I shouldnít have, the wrong adapter perhaps. Regardless I remember a metallic smell coming from the back which I later discovered was something inside burning. That sh*t was a wrap. I evolved, like the Borg if they actually evolve, if they do not, then not like them. An amoeba.
Next came the daddy, the Spectrum 128k and this was where my gaming really took off. Big time. I remember my first game being Donkey Kong, which I believe came with the computer. My first introduction to Mario. Back then I could never have fathomed how much of a rockstar that fat man would become; it was all about that monkey back then.
I had the largest collection of Spectrum games I think possible. Most of which should still i think actually be somewhere at my mothers, maturing like fine vintage wine. I cannot begin to explain the absolutely all encompassing fantasy world of gaming escapism I became lost in. My most consistent memory of that age, and my favorite games were the Dizzy collection. If you donít know Dizzy, please leave right now. Then accept the rocks and stones thrown at your back and head ripping chunks out of both as you go.
From here on in I was officially solidified as a quivering addict, desperate for more. Other boys were discovering porn magazines; girls; staying out late drinking in the street. I was in my room. Gaming, likeÖa lot! I saw a vagina far too late, within the pages of a porn magazine at one of my first jobs. Scared the life out of me. I blame gaming for this, same as I blame it for making me a rolling ball of actual dough.
My next machines were a Nes; Master System, Gameboy, Game Gear, Neo Geo (altho I didnít own it I had a swap period when the baby was mine for a good while), Jaguar (lol), Megadrive, where I had arguably my fondest memories of gaming. Street of Rage 2 still to this day perhaps being one of my all time favorite games, in no small part because of the ever present tease of full exposure to Blaze Feildings knickersÖ.and boobs. So, the Snes, N64Ö
The crack cocaine like addiction continued, as did my isolation from girls and life throughout my teens, all thanks to games. I had my first girlfriend at 18. I blame the gaming for this. Sad. Mega CD, 32X, Saturn. Coming up to my twenties the game porn continued with the Dreamcast, Playstation 1, Xbox, Xbox 360Ö.which is where we are today.
The Xbox 360 has to sit alongside the Megadrive as providing me with the purest gaming entertainment. Perhaps the Dreamy as well, although how much of these memories of Segas white knight are tinted a beautiful rose colour due to the epic Shenmue, Iím not too sure! And nights! That game was an acid trip on the tongue I would definitely pop again. He er, or she was awesome.
You may have noticed I missed out the Playstation 2 and 3. I know, I have never played many of the consoles biggest games. Killzone any of them. The same goes for uncharted or basically any big Playstation exclusive. I had to for financial reasons chose one or the other. I became a tame version of an xbox fan boy. I wasnít too hardcore about it. I was a real grown up now though, actually working and stuff. Buying the consoles myself! I decided to go with the Xbox, enjoyed the experience immensely. The awkwardly large console and controller now in my mind had a sturdy weight about them I kind of miss. Again, rose tinted. The Xbox and itís design was big and shit. Forever in my mind though, that shite clunkyness will translate as trident god of the sea type gargantuan ness.
I missed out on a world of Playstation exclusive titles. All the time while owning my Xbox consoles I felt like I was a step behind in gaming. This makes the next generation particularly exciting for me, as one of the minority of hardcore gamers who never physically owned a Playstation 2 or 3 (although of course I played on them with friends - I did have friends. Iím not lying)
At the age of 34 my next chapter in gaming continues, as it will until Iím old and grey, but with mutated fingers that move so quick, they are but a blur. This generation of gamers will be something close to evolved super sense X-Men thanks to all the work we have put in shooting; avoiding; reacting and jumping. I plan to be the Xavier of the lot of you as I roll my sleeves up and after a brief period of distraction, truly get back to my gaming and noob you up. The kids online still say noob right. Noob.
Iíve missed being a hardcore gamer over the last year or so, like I really was. Due to life and stuff like a girlfriend and that. However my priorities are now set. Reality and stuff can do one, no time at all for that nonsense. Bring on the next gen shit.