As a fan of all things technical, it seams only fair that I try to cover gaming from my viewpoint. I’d like to try to stick with the format from past posts about the history of Mac as it appeared to me and in relation to my life at the time. That being said, I am fully prepared to end up on a completely random trail of none sense.
Imagine a world that is dark and dreary. All that can be seen are two moving white/green lines moving up and down to intercept a slow moving circle. The only sound is a “pong” noise. I’m sure some of you will remember this world, but some of you are too young. It was a dark age for video games, but also full of excitement and advancement.
Ok, dramatic opening a complete failure, but its as a good a place as any to start. Growing up, my family was normally 7-8 steps behind the Jones’, so I didn’t really even know what I was missing out on, because, well, we never had those things. My first memories of gaming are dark and fuzzy and full of that annoying “pong” noise. To be honest, I’d rather have gone outside and played with our pet dogs, or chased tumbleweeds, or played in the ditch. (Yes, we had a ditch I played in frequently. It was dry an full of dirt, desert insects, and lizards.)
This was all about to change drastically. My friend (really, he was my only friend as a child) had gotten a Nintendo entertainment system. (Aka: NES) after school, we would both go over to his house and spend hours (sometimes over night) beating and re-beating every version of Mario he could lay his hands on. Then came the SNES, and with it came the world of Zelda. My friend became obsessed with finding all the clues and solving every piece of that game. For a couple 7-8 year olds, it was a great way to build out puzzle skills, and to this day puzzles irritate the hell out of me.
Slowly, the years rolled by, and we finally got a gaming system of our own. As opposite from Nintendo as Microsoft is from Apple, for a holiday or birthday somewhere in those foggy years my brother and I got our first gaming console; Sega Genesis. Sonic the hedgehog, rocket knight, Ecco the Dolphin, and various other games soon took up my free time, and I found out something about myself; I liked playing these games, but they were more fun with other people. It would be years before social gaming caught on, but I could see the beginnings of it there in the early 90’s.
It would be years before our household saw another gaming system, so that poor Genesis logged more hours than it probably should have. On weekends, Dad would stop by Blockbuster and pick up a game or two for us to try out for a couple days. Other times, I would go off to my friends house (who by now had the N64) and be amazed by how cool it was. Goldeneye was probably the most played game for me as a teen, and where I first noticed a swing towards social gaming. My friend and I spent hours hunting each other, laying traps, or taking turns unlocking the N64’s secrets.
Over the next few years, I saw the advent of an entirely new social class; the gamer. Gamers could be poor, rich, middle class, grungy, punky, young, old… It really didn’t seem to matter. When it came to games, everyone was welcomed.