My first console was an Atari. It wasn’t exactly mine, however. It was in the household around the time I was born. It was okay. I liked to play Q-Bert on occasion, until my mother decided to give the Atari to our plumber for free. Big mistake.
Then we had the Amiga. We loved the Amiga. I’ve heard others refer to it as a Commodore 64 but to us it was the Amiga. We had hoards of games, copied from relatives and friends. Over time, the mouse got shoddy, the joysticks became irreplaceable and our Amiga was just too old to work anymore.
Around the same time, we had an Apple Macintosh. As you may know, Macintosh was never really popular for gaming, although we had some fun adventures nevertheless.
Our parents were avid Mac fans and very anti-console from about 1992, so there were no PCs, Nintendos or Playstations in our household. However, our parents succumbed to buying my sibling a black-and-white Game Boy at some stage, and soon after, a PC laptop at the start of high school, so we had access to a few more games by then (hello, Wacky Wheels).
Our main gaming adventures throughout our childhood were at our friends’ house. Particularly, two brothers whose parents were friends of our parents. Most Saturday nights we spent at their house, on whatever Nintendo was new at the time, usually into the early hours of Sunday whilst our parents played Scrabble in the kitchen. Being the only girl, I usually got shunned to the couch (as opposed to the floor where the players and Burger Rings sat). On the rare occasions that I was allowed to play, I kicked ass in Street Fighter (thanks to E. Honda’s hundred hand slap). Maybe that’s why I wasn’t allowed to play much.
Later, there were emulators, which provided me some much required time-out from the hardships of being a little girl.
Over the past few years, I’ve seldom played games. Occasionally I will try to download another emulator or free point-and-click demos, but nothing too serious. Until recently, when Alex decided to buy me a game. I was eyeing off L.A. Noire in the store for some time because I love all that 1950s/film noir stuff, but never actually considered playing an entire console game. And so it began – my obsession with playing games (again).
I finished L.A. Noire (and was also very, very pleased with the Mad Men cameos popping up everywhere) and wanted more. Alex had Red Dead Redemption, which I was not too thrilled about, because, well, I’ve always been very judgemental about Westerns. Then I remembered when I reluctantly watched The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and it instantly became a favourite even though I thought I always hated Westerns. So I gave Red Dead Redemption a try. I was even more obsessed with it than L.A. Noire. I love John Marston. So I started researching new games and consoles, and then I started being nostalgic and thought about all the awesome games I’ve played in my life, and became obsessed with.
Day of the Tentacle
For Christmas one year, daddy dearest bought us a LucasArts package game, featuring Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (also awesome), Sam and Max, and Day of the Tentacle.
Day of the Tentacle is a point-and-click adventure involving time-travel, three usable, hilarious characters and tentacles who rule the world. It is sequel to Maniac Mansion, which I’d never heard of, but ended up playing some years later.
We spent many hours conquering this awesome game, and learning a lot about American history in the process (including what a Hoagie sandwich is).
You can still play this game by downloading an emulator from ScummVM, and I believe it’s also recently been re-released for some consoles. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
I honestly can’t recall where I first played this magnificent game. It could have been at our Nintendo friends’ house, or, perhaps on an emulator late in life. Nevertheless, this edition of Zelda is one of my all-time favourites. In particular, the soundtrack is absolutely lovely. The game and music defined my entire childhood (or so I like to think).
The sad truth is, I have never finished this game. I have tried, several times, many years later, but just cannot pass the eastern levels.
It Came from the Desert
This game, now that I think of it, was eerily creepy. Inspired by 1950s B-movies, you played a man, who lived in an isolated country desert town, who dreamed about giant ants, and who had to escape from hospital in a wheelchair at one time. It was truly weird. Nowadays when I watch videos of its gameplay, I wonder why I didn’t become too messed up as an adult. Or did.
Red Dead Redemption
John Marston is a loveable chap, sent to the crummy town of New Austin to help the lawmakers find some badass gang members he used to hang out with. You get to complete many missions, not all with a gun, which I often prefer. You get to fall in love with Bonnie, and then realise that you’re married, so you can’t have her. Life sucks. You also get to hunt scary bears, go to Mexico, and do all sorts of awesome things. Rumours are flying about a Red Dead Redemption 2, possibly a prequel. If this happens, I may just die.
The Walking Dead
Zombies don’t interest me at all. When The Walking Dead: Season 2 was a freebie one month with Alex’s PlayStation Plus membership, I wasn’t too excited, but once I found out it was made by Telltale Games (who made the excellent The Wolf Among Us), I decided to add it to my ‘To Play’ list, but with little haste. Alex surprised me one night by bringing home The Walking Dead: Season 1 as he thought I should play that one first. Reluctantly, I got started. And so began my obsession. In particular, the obsession was less to do with the zombies, but more to do with the beautiful, angelic, darling secondary character, Clementine. Little Clementine is absolutely adorable and her character alone drew me back to the game for more. I wanted to see what became of her. I love her. Alex won’t let me call our first born Princess Clementine. Also, the soundtrack is great. I may just have to watch the TV series now.
The Last of Us
Another zombie game which didn’t interest me at all to begin with is the highly praised The Last of Us. This is the story of a man and his daughter at the beginning of the end of the world – that is, some sort of zombie virus which is quickly infecting mankind. The game fast-forwards 20 years – the dad is older, he meets a young girl, and a beautiful relationship between the two slowly ensues. Basically, this game was all about the relationship between dad-guy and fatherless-girl. I desperately wanted the dad to love the young girl like a father. Their relationship melted my heart. Another thing that really interested me about this game was, much like The Walking Dead series, the zombies are actually not the worst enemy in the game. The fight for survival brings out the worst in humankind and you do meet some desperate, cruel humans along the way, and in many ways these enemies are much scarier than the zombies. The soundtrack is also absolutely phenomenal, and is composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, the guy who did the soundtracks for Babel and Brokeback Mountain. The scenery is pretty stunning, too. Actually, everything about this game rules. Except the monsters.
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
What were our parents thinking? Leisure Suit Larry, if you didn’t know, is a point-and-click game series and this first one was released in the late 80s. It’s about the misadventures of a disgustingly sleazy, repulsive man, whose hobbies include getting drunk, bedding women, gambling, and the occasional suicide. So risqué! There was even a set of random questions asked before you could play to make sure that you were actually over 18. The questions were so USA-centric that my parents could barely guess the answers, so we made a manual of all the questions and answers whenever we guessed right, for future reference (back then, there was no internet, so things were always done the hard way). The goal of the game is to find Larry the woman of his dreams, as he is a desperate, lonely, ageing man who still lives at home with his mother. It was a big responsibility for an 8-year-old girl, but I managed somehow.
What to play next? Well, I’m about to finish the fourth game of the Uncharted series (another awesome soundtrack, by the way, and very comedic – I’ll miss Drake, for sure), and then after that, who knows. Maybe Mafia 3, which is set in 1960s fake-New Orleans and looks pretty awesome.