Friday, 16 April 2010

My favorite gaming memories while growing up...

Growing up before and during the gaming boom of the 1990's and witnessing firsthand the battle between Sega and Nintendo for console supremacy there were moments that I can remember that stood out as I was growing up. Moments in games or just moments in time that were game related and for those who were too young to remember these times I'm just going to give you a quick run through of what stands out when I look into the dark recesses of my brain.

- My first Console -

The first console we ever had in my house hold was the ZX Spectrum +2. For those of you who have no idea what this was it was an all in one keyboard and tap deck unit that ran tape games such as 'SuperGran' or 'Hungry Horace' Needless to say the games were basic as hell and sometimes you would have to wait up to 20-30 minutes for the game to load and during that time you were entertained by a loading sound that sounded like an electric synthesizer mimicking the sound of nails down a blackboard... over and over again... it was hell. But I must admit that some of the games still entertain me today and at the time it blew my world away. I'm pretty sure that I have this console, that was released in 1986, to thank for what has become a lifelong interest in video games.

- "You've got to use your hands???" -

Aside from the nicely placed 'Back to the Future' quote there I am talking about a moment that cemented me as a lover of videogames. On September 28th 1990 me, my brother and my father stood in the queue of our local electronics shop for the launch or the original GameBoy. When I look back at my child hood it is constantly scattered with memories of playing this hand held wonder. From games such as Tetris, WarioWorld and Bart vs. the Juggernaughts my childhood is full of fun memories of playing these wonderful games and we abused the fact we could take it anywhere. Any day trip, holiday or even picnic we were there with our 8 bits of green and black awesome playing away linked up with our link cables and battling each other over and over. They took one hell of a battering but I still own my original GameBoy, I still have the box and it still works and I think that's a great testament to the handheld that showed and still shows to this day just how enduring and fun the handheld can be.

- The Game Changer -

If you grew up in the early 1990's you will know what I'm about to talk about. During this time possibly the greatest battle of the consoles happened between the two iconic companies Nintendo and Sega and if you were a kid then it was either a fan of Mario or a fan of sonic. It divided friends and schoolyards and was a huge part of the war the companies had with advertising for each playing on this divide to create very loyal fan bases for each franchise. I must admit I kind of turned on Nintendo the day the Sega Mega-Drive entered my home and I took the side of the Blue Hedgehog, so much so I never played a SNES till some years later and didn’t even own one until I reached my 20's. The MegaDrive, Mega CD and later the 2nd versions of each of these really shaped me in ways outside gaming. For the first time I was able to see brilliant colours and games (especially by Disney) that used to mimic so well the style and look of cartoons. The humour was usually brilliant, the levels well designed and enemies suited the environments they were in. Games such as 'Mickey Mouse in Castle of Illusion' the 'Sonic' titles, Aladdin and Earthworm Jim were visual feasts for the eyes and made such an impression on me at the time and still do now and I have them to thank for boosting my interest in Art.

If I go any further forward this will just become a list of everything I've ever liked and as fun as that that would be I’ll just stick to my childhood memories for now and go on about the '3D era' another time. But for now that’s just a small insight into some of the games and some of the moments that have shaped who I am as a person and a gamer. I was just very lucky to be able to grow up and experience firsthand what really was a golden age in gaming and the birth of a proper gaming culture, I look back at that time and just remember what fun it was to watch all these new icons emerge and become so engrained into the culture and to be honest I would love to experience that again. Games and console these days are more about units sold and graphics than they are about game play and enjoyment, there are some I admit that still hold onto the old ideals and get a good balance of great visuals with compelling story and fun game play, but during that awesome era there were just so many to choose from, It was a beautiful time and it really was a golden era.

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