Alright folks – pardon my French, but sit the fuck down, because you’re about to hear the story of how I got into gaming. (It’s a Friday night, I’m bored of studying for my Sociology exam, so this is what we’re doing now.)
As a kid, my parents were really insistent that I play outside and stay off the computer (minus maybe half an hour a day, which they imposed fairly well until I was in high school). This was actually a really great way to raise a kid. I was always running around outside and staying in good health because of it; I actually used to be a pretty good runner through about 9th grade because of all the variations on Tag I played with my brother and friends growing up.
I don’t remember what the first console I played on was, but I’m pretty sure (unless I’m forgetting something) it was the Nintendo 64 at the house of a friend of my mom’s. That friend’s kids decided to show me and my brother how to play Star Fox, which was a pretty freakin’ awesome game even though I sucked at it since I didn’t have any idea how to map keys into movements and actions on the screen in my brain yet. But it was fun to do barrel rolls and shoot at things. It also put me in the active role of a movie protagonist (at least, being a big Star Wars fan, that’s how I felt about it) and that excited me. I suppose I had always kinda wanted to be Luke Skywalker, so I liked getting to be a fighter pilot and shoot at robots in space. (I really can’t remember much of the plot of Star Fox, but I remember something about asteroids and something about dropping bombs on a giant robot. It was a pretty awesome game.)
Later on, when I was in about 6th grade, Runescape became a thing in my class at school. Everyone was talking about it – guys and girls, it seemed like everyone had an account. So I decided to make one too so I could see what all the fuss was about. I had to okay it with my mom since it was kinda violent, but I agreed I wouldn’t play too much so she was fine with it. I got really into the game really quickly – since it’s an MMO, “natural ability” isn’t really a thing, but I focused on quests and tried to level up as much as I could in as many different areas as I could keep track of. Exploring the huge map of the game was really fun, and I liked all the different things you could do and the different people you could talk to – especially the other players. (Runescape didn’t have a TON of interuser interaction compared to current multiplayer games, but I had never experienced any kind of MMO before, so this was a big deal.)
At some point in here, one Christmas, my grandparents sent me and my brother a Wii; my mom looked kind of mad when she saw what the present was if I remember correctly, but I was way too excited to hear anything about “returning it” or “not keeping it,” and my brother and I quickly made the case that the console only came with a sports game, so it wasn’t as if we were going to be sitting around shooting things all day. My brother and I got really into Wii Bowling for awhile. To be honest, Wii Sports was an amazing little game; I hadn’t experienced mainstream consoles enough to know how different this game and console were from the norm, but it was super cool to me that everything was based on real movement (sort of) and that you could make characters that looked vaguely like yourself and your friends.
Just after the Wii, I discovered Armor Games, which led to my first obsession with a flash game – Bubble Tanks 2. (In the game, you’re a small tank made of bubbles, and you jump around from arena to arena killing enemies to steal their bubbles; you upgrade your tank along different specialization routes to fight bigger and stronger enemies until you find yourself armed with impossibly powerful weapons and pitted against a gigantic boss that fills an entire arena.) The game was really awesome. I played it again and again, testing all the upgrade routes to see which path could exploit the weaknesses of the final boss (I think the answer is to go with the Balanced path and get the final tank that has the Doomsday Weapon, which has the potential to infect an enemy and kill it, at which point it infects nearby enemies and destroys entire crowds in a massive chain reaction…).
Bubble Tanks 2 led me, somehow, to the tower defense genre, where (after a brief stint with Canyon Defense on Miniclip) I found myself learning to play Warzone Tower Defense. Still one of the better TDs out there, this game was originally a Facebook app; it had a few different options for towers and very large and complex maps through which you could build intricate mazes (and never, ever use laser cannons unless you were a complete moron). Of course, playing this game is how I met Fred, and how we first became friends, so this is arguably the most important part of my gaming career (because let’s face it… who has told me to play more games than Fred? No one, that’s who…).
My Freshman year at the Academy was, for some reason, all about Halo: Combat Evolved. Evan and I played a lot of Halo for some reason. Which is odd, because it’s not- Aw, screw it. I can’t lie about this. I fucking love Halo. It is and forever will be the best FPS of all time. You get to shoot people. You get a shield. You can blow up people’s cars. You can run people over with your car. You can snipe people. And there is nothing more awesome than hearing that announcement: RED TEAM HAS THE FLAG. (And then running that guy over with a Banshee, hopping out, and crouching on him repeatedly while you taunt him on all-chat.)
The summer before Sophomore was the penultimate game that I’ll include in my history – Sonny 2. I had never marathoned a game before Sonny 2, but when I went to Evan’s house and we discovered it, I gave the game a full play-through. I started at 11PM and I finished at 5AM. And I loved every minute of it. Sonny 2 is a fairly weird, backwards zombie game from a guy named Krin, and it’s a beautiful game that you really should play if you haven’t already. Also, you can get really big swords.
The last one that I will mention (no, it’s actually not League)… well, when I first heard about Minecraft, I thought it looked kinda dumb. It looked really pixely and… well, dumb. But then I actually GOT Minecraft… in 2011.
It’s 2014 and I have probably logged thousands of hours on Minecraft. There was a period of time in Senior year when, unless Kimberly ordered me to come hang out with her, I stayed in my room playing Minecraft from dinnertime to 2am every night for weeks on end. But I think the end of that tale – the saga of Carlos’ Minecraft server – will have to wait for another day, because I really should get back to studying. I hope you enjoyed my brief walkthrough of all the games that got me where I am today – and I do recommend that you play all of these at least once in your life.
As always, thanks for reading.