Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been a gamer for. And it actually too me a second to answer. I told them I started when I was in grade 7 or 8, around 99 or 2000, but now I’m not sure if that’s true.
I mean around that time was when I got into Starcraft online, or playing Half-Life and Counter Strike. Those were the days I’d come home from school and either play Starcraft with my friend’s little brother from down the street, or hop n Counter Strike and get on my favourite servers. I’d be playing for at least a couple hours a night, before either my parents kicked me off, or someone needed to do homework on the house computer. In other words, that’s when I became a hardcore gamer. Someone who plays games as a hobby rather than a time waster or a distraction. Back in those days that also meant playing on a PC, as home consoles were still about Mario games and kids stuff, not aliens and terrorists. However to be a ‘hardcore” gamer, you have to start off as just a regular gamer right?
My first memory of video games was thanks to, of all people, my Mother. One year for Christmas, we all received little floppy discs with educational or simple games that could run on our home computer (Your iPod is about 10 times more powerful than the relic we had). They were little circus games and the Epic games classic, Jazz Jackrabbit. It truly captured all of our imaginations and we couldn’t get enough, my Mom had to institute a time limit for each of us so that we could all play. Even before that, I can recall my Mom bringing me to the library to search for books on this new fangled thing called a computer. It ran on a version of DOS, and since my Mom had worked at a library, she knew the language to search for books and taught me how to input commands.
The next biggest point in my gaming career, would be Nintendo. My best friend growing up, Charlotte, had one, a Super Nintendo in fact, I think her older brother bought it, and back then it came bundled with Super Mario Bros. 3 and Duck Hunt. If i have to explain what those games are, you probably are not reading my blog. While I loved the games, I was still a young kid, and the games didn’t hold all of our attention as we would quickly move on to find something else fun to do.
It wasn’t until I played Super Mario Kart and a different friend’s house that I got a taste for how much fun being a gamer could be. I was well in to my elementary school days and a friend who my Mom babysat (Man, it seems like I owe her everything or something) has an Super NES, and it introduced me to the joys of multiplayer gaming.
From there, the Nintendo 64 and it’s four player gaming was the only logical next step (007 Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64 anyone?) and from there I made my between PC gaming, and then on to the OG Xbox, and so on.
The more I thought about it, the less I could recall of a time when I hadn’t experienced gaming. Which makes me think, I was a bit of an outsider for liking games so much as a kid, so what is it like for kids now, where there are games everywhere. Not just on consoles or computers, but on phones, ipods, dentist offices, day cares, and schools. Now they’re not just a possibility but an everyday, everywhere convenience and expectation. What will it mean to be hooked on gaming since you were a toddler when your parents met over xbox live or the doctor who delivered you got trained on a simulator?
Keep that in mind the next you call some a nerd for their love of gaming.