Nerdiness runs in my blood: my father was a gamer before me. Famously, he had bested a friend’s long-standing high score in Frogger one night on his Atari 2600, only for my older brother – then an infant – to crawl past and unwittingly turn the console off. Heartbroken and exhausted, my father did what anyone would do after losing sight of an all-important goal: sit outside and polish off a case of beer (or your beverage of choice; in Dad’s case it was beer). My dad eschewed his gamer ways in order to provide food, clothes and video-games to a growing family: something for which I’m eternally grateful.
My brothers and I were happy enough with the Atari until our mother brought home a Sega Mega Drive (Genesis), two controllers, an arcade stick and six games which she had borrowed from a friend. The next six weeks were indulgent beyond belief, and six-year-old me knew to do only two things when it came time to return this wunder-console to its owner:
1. Cry like a baby
2. Beg for a Mega Drive of our own
We would one day receive that Mega Drive we so dearly desired, but not before we had experience with some of Sega’s other machines; specifically, the Master System and Game Gear. My brothers and I were most definitely Sega fanboys throughout our childhood. We were at times distracted by PC offerings such as Relentless: Twinsen’s Adventure, Crusader: No Remorse, Fallout and many a Wing Commander game; but we much preferred a controller to a keyboard and mouse.
Best Action RPG ever.....EVER!
In my teens I found myself with a PlayStation and a somewhat more powerful PC. On the Sony console, I sunk any free time and money into RPGs, fighting and wrestling games; Street Fighter Alpha 3, the original WWF Smackdown and Vagrant Story being my favourites if I had to choose. On the PC I invested years into creating mods and skin packs for Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (JK).
While I was a massive Star Wars fan, I also had a deep love for a great many other pop culture icons; so being able to create and modify skins for use in JK’s multiplayer suite allowed me to express my love of all things nerdy. In LAN matches at the Damen house you could expect to see Hollywood Hulk Hogan using Force Destruction on Wolverine, who was in turn activating Force Healing (or was he using his Healing Factor?). There were some great user-created maps available for Jedi Knight. The best was definitely the Sarlaac Pit complete with skiffs and Jabba’s Palace in the distance. Combine that with the Mandolorian Wars mode, which included grappling hooks, and you could keep me entertained for – what turned out to be – years.
It's like I'm watching Empire!
After finishing high school, my brothers and I progressed to the PlayStation 2. I spent a lot of time playing various instalments of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, usually with System of a Down’s self-titled album as a soundtrack. When with friends, I would get involved in heated matches of Capcom Vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium. A friend’s mastery of Blanka had me stumped for months until I discovered that Terry Bogard’s “Crack Shot” had priority over most of the green man’s deviously-fast rolls. For those interested, my team usually comprised of Ryu (Ratio 2), Rugal (Ratio 1) and Terry Bogard (Ratio 1). I also owned a Gamecube, which had Super Monkey Ball or its disappointing sequel loaded in the disc tray for the majority of the time. Save for some Mario-themed sports games, Resident Evil 4 and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, pretty much all of the time spent with my favourite Nintendo console revolved around monkeys and the spherical prisons to which they were confined.
A tip of the cap and it's problem solved!
I’ve also invested a lot of money in portable gaming, with the aforementioned Game Gear, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation Portable, DS, and – more recently - the 3DS allowing me to game when I’m supposed to be engaged in social activities, studying or working. The Game Boy Advance SP easily ranks as my favourite, with a library of games punctuated with
Tune in for the next instalment of my Bitmography where I’ll discuss my experience with current generation hardware as well as the pitfalls of gaming in Australia.
Thanks for reading.