Well today is a day for celebration. One where most Americans come together over BBQs full of various meats and veggies, eat and drink themselves into a food coma, all whilst blowing up anything that has a fuse. This weekend we have family in town to help us blow things up, erm…celebrate the forth and for me that means hardly any available time to game. In fact, the only game I have managed to play thus far is where ‘cousin’ Yogi gets to pretend hes a surf board for the kids in the pool. I think I won, because I didnt drown.
There have been a few moments where I have been able to sneak off and have a min or two to read something gaming oriented, or in this case, write a post. I decided to take this time to look back on all the games that have helped push me towards where I am today. I sort of 4th of July remembrance geek style. So here is my list for the most influential games of my geek life.
Zelda- The first game I had ever played on my own system. It was a time when my father and I would sit down for hours, pushing forward on the quest to destroy Gannon. It is to this day, the one video game my father destroyed me at. He was kind enough to completely map out every dungeon including spectacle rock for me. Cheating yes, but when you are seven years old those dungeons can be a little difficult. It was the game and the time I spent with my father that caused me to fall in love with pixel action.
Super Mario 3- This was the first game that I often played with friends and one of the few games I could stomp anyone at. Granted it is not that difficult of a game, but I was good at it. I stumbled upon a book that lets you know all the secrets in the game. It was titled “How to Beat Super Mario Bros 1, 2, and 3″. Aside from the patterns for the card matching mini game, I had about 90-95% of the secrets already discovered. Yep I have probably logged more time into SMB3 than any other console game out there. Raccoon Suit ftw!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- I was a TMNT addict as a kid. My sheets even had the heroes all over them. I had toys, stuffed versions, lunch boxes, and even my very own TMNT themed whitie tighties. TMNT was one of those games that just appeals to me because of something else I loved. It is still one of the handful of NES games that I had and never beat. I used to prefer Don, but when I found out my sister had a crush on him, I switched for Leo. Must’ve been the purple headband ;D
Dark Forces and Jedi Knight- Dark Forces was the first PC game I ever saw/played. And it was Star Wars. While I never had the chance to show my love for star wars on my underpants, it is the top love for ‘magic’ and adventure for my life. Yes, I love the wonder so much that I enjoy the prequel trilogy. You elitist haters can toss off. Dark Forces led me to the Sequel. The first game on PC that I remember wielding a lightsaber. Enough Said.
Half Life- Great story, great action, nice puzzles and aliens. Arguably the best Single Player game I have ever played.
Counter-Strike- HL led me to this gem of a multi-player game. It would consume most of my high school and early college life. I spent hours mastering no scope scouting and helped admin a local gaming community based around the game. My first experiences with community and leadership roles within a game. I pwned noobs.
Neverwinter Nights- I didnt buy this game because I played DnD. I actually didnt start playing DnD until two months ago. I bought this game for one reason. I wanted to like rpgs even though I didn’t like rpgs. It sounds so stupid, but I looked at the box and thought, “I wish I was into this type of game.” After install, this game would be the starting of my conversion from FPS to RPG. I played online modules and did a lot of role-playing there. That is until one day my favorite module turned into one big S&M sex dungeon. I was there to slay orges, not get whipped by flame lashes.
Guild Wars- The first time I was invited into a closed beta for anything. I played the game a while before it was released and loved it. My first experience with the mmo genre and I fell in love with how players could connect without having to log into the same module, like NWN. This game would later become my secondary mmo for 5 years.
World of Warcraft- I can hear the groans now. My first Pay to Play game ever. I didnt like the Warcraft RTS series much at all. My friends were always better than me and I found the matches quite boring. All my Counter-Strike friends were talking about this game and I couldn’t understand why you would want to pay monthly to play a game. This thinking all melted away when I saw their first cinematic trailer. While cinematic trailers have almost nothing to do with how a game is played, I will forever remember the epic feeling I had after watching it and suddenly knowing, I must play this game. WoW would eventually become and addiction and Id drop out of college, lose friends, and alienate myself from much of my other hobbies. I gained 25-40 lbs. Eventually I would quit, resub, quit, sell account, rebuy, take a break or two, and finally come to the conclusion that I just like WoW and more importantly: MMOs.
There are lots of other games out there that I remember. These are the ones that I look back on and am thankful that I had the chance to play them. They have brought me friends and fond memories, excitement and adventure. They have caused heartache and breakups, failure and shame. In the end though these are the games that have contributed to who I am today. Not only as a gamer, but as a person. Maybe it is unpatriotic to think of games on the 4th of July. I just thought it was a nice geeky way to look back and say, “Thanks for all the memories you have provided me over the years, and thanks again for all the memories you have opened up for me in the future.”
And thanks to those Founding Father’s. Today we celebrate a nation of freedom because of the bravery of a few. Who knows what or where we would be if they had not had the courage and sacrifice at the right moment. Probably not enjoying myself with friends, family, and memories of great video games.