Gaming has played a significant role in my life. In fact, my earliest memory from childhood is playing a video game. It’s kind of like a parasite that has sucked countless hours from my life but, I refuse to go to the doctor because I know I’d be lonely without its company. With who knows how many years of in-game experiences I’ve racked up since I was a kid, some have held a dear place in my memory and heart. Nowadays I seem to have a cloak of immunity when it comes to being genuinely enthralled with a game or console but, looking back I vividly remember moments that I was overcome with one emotion or another and, I pray to the gods of gaming that I could relive some of those moments. Without further any rambling, here are ten moments from my gaming life that I want to experience for the first time, again.
10. MY FIRST VIDEO GAMEI know what you’re all thinking. “Well, that’s a lame and obvious choice.” And in response I say, “I know but, I had to… Please forgive me. I’m just getting it out of the way.”
This is an interesting one for me because, as stated, it is the earliest memory I have. Out of all the crap I did as a toddler, somehow, playing on the NES at a house my mother and I often visited is the only thing I can remember. Specifically, playing Duck Hunt with the zapper. I wasn’t even good at it but I remember never wanting to stop. What I found even more fascinating than Duck Hunt however was the magical golden cartridge of The Legend of Zelda. I didn’t care to play it or anything. It just filled me with such wonder.
9. THE TIME CRISIS ARCADE MACHINE
There were days when my mother would drive a couple friends and I to this place called Fun World. It smelled of urine and old popcorn but, it had an arcade so who really cared? My favorite game there was Time Crisis. For those of you who never experienced Time Crisis, I’m sorry. It’s a first person shooter that had a plastic pistol you fired at the screen (like Duck Hunt) and, most importantly a foot peddle that caused your character to duck behind objects. This is what made the game so memorable for me. It was the first time a game made me interact with more than a control, granted, the peddle was just another button but, as a kid I physically ducked when I stomped on that thing. It was rad.
8. MARIO’S TENNIS ON THE VIRTUAL BOY
Some of you may have never had Nintendo’s flop called the Virtual Boy but, I did and let me tell you, that thing is the reason I need glasses today. You basically shoved your face into the face guard that kept all light away from the screens that blasted your eyeballs with red lasers. What made it even worse is that you’d find yourself staring for so long you almost forgot that blinking would relieve some of the pain from your burning retinas. The reason this botched sort of portable system is on the list is because Mario Tennis made such a good use of the 3D that even the optometrist bills are worth the memory.
7. MY FIRST HEAD SHOT IN COUNTER STRIKE
This is jumping forward into my life a bit. There were weekends when I’d go to my friend’s house and just sit there, watching him play Counter Strike and I remember wanting to play so badly. I’d ask and ask and finally one day he let me. After a few rounds and more deaths than kills it happened, I got a head shot. Never before had I yelled “oooooooooh,” for such a sustained time as that moment.
6. SUPER MARIO ALL STARS
Riffing off Counter Strike in a weird way brings me to Super Mario All Stars for the SNES. Not because you can get head shots but because it was my first multiplayer experience. When I first got my Super Nintendo I only had two games: Mario Paint and Super Mario All Stars. What I liked most about All Stars is that (prepare for the lamest thing a guy could say) my mom would join in as Luigi. AWWWWWW! Yes I know. It’s a bit sappy but, this was the first time I had ever played a game with another person and on top of that it was the only video game my mom ever played until Wii Sports.
5. THE PLAYSTATION
This was a game changer. I mean, I had my N64 and everything so 3D graphics weren’t that big of a deal even though the PlayStation’s were a bit better. What really got me was that this thing had discs. You didn’t have to huff and puff to play your game and the controller was so comfortable to use and, what was that? Did the controller just vibrate when that dude hit me? THAT’S SO COOL! Oh, how I’d give to be that excited over something so simple. Now, I get annoyed when a controller vibrates too much and shut it off whenever possible. I’m a grump.
4. REALIZING THE CAKE IS A LIE
Do I really need to say more? In recent years the Portal series has been one of my favorites. With it’s original puzzles and very memorable characters, I was instantly hooked. When GLaDOS told me there would be cake at the end of my trials I burst into laughter thinking, “what a ridiculous reason to go through such torment.” Then, when I finally heard the truth, that there was never any cake to begin with, the heartbreak sunk in but, was almost immediately uplifted by the amount of laughing I was doing. Not only did that single line give me a good laugh, it has also provided me and I’m sure plenty of you with one of the most memorable lines in a video game to date.
3. BEATING OCARINA OF TIME
When this game came out I was only eight years old. It was easily the hardest game I had ever played. Not only was it the first open world I had to venture through but I also had to use an analog stick to do it. It blew my mind. Without any guidebooks to help me out, it took me about two years to beat and when I finally defeated Ganon I ran to my friends house screaming about how epic the fight was.
2. REACHING LEVEL 60 IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT
My friends and I began playing World of Warcraft shortly after launch. I had to wait until Christmas to get my copy. I’m still kind of mad about that. Never before had I been so immersed in a game and connected to the people that played it with me. During the original game, leveling was a very time consuming task. You really had to work towards level 60. It didn’t take me a couple years like OoT but, it did take a few months in between school and homework. My troll mage and I had trekked through many dungeons, desserts and jungles, fighting countless creatures and when I finally hit 60, all the friends I had made were online to cheer for me. It was a journey that I was proud to have accomplished. I still play WoW but the magic of leveling is gone. Which is great because now, for the low price of $60, you can just buy a max level character! YAY!
1. POKEMON RED/BLUE
If you know me at all this should come as no surprise. Pokemon is my favorite franchise of all time and nothing will ever beat the pure happiness I felt the day I finally got Pokemon Blue. To tell you the honest truth I don’t even remember where I heard about Pokemon to begin with but I do remember wanting it with every ounce of my being. I think this is also the first time I tried to sell my soul to the devil. It physically hurt that I had to wait for its release but, when that day finally came and I opened that box my life has never been the same. I looked through the manual, loving that it looked like a journal, popped the game into my clear purple Game Boy color and began a journey that to this day I am still experiencing. Despite still loving every Pokemon game that comes out, nothing will ever beat creating that first save file.
I am sure I could think of even more gamer moments I wish I could relive for the first time but, I’d be more interested to hear what some of yours are. Leave em in the comments below and as always, catch ya next time!