In everybody’s life there are watershed moments. Events that are either great or terrible, ones that convince you to stay the path you are on or divert into a new path and hope the outcomes improve.
My gaming life is full of moments like this, a series of events and moments so sublime that they reinforced my love for this hobby. The story of what made me a gamer is one that transpires over the course of a good lot of years, but I feel it is interesting enough to warrant a post so…
My gaming life began in the late 80s, I think I’ve chronicled that in this blog with a number of posts. My first console was the Atari 2600, it came with the home version of ‘Pac Man’. I know what you are thinking, “Jesus Luvva that’s terrible luck” – but it really wasn’t I loved that console and that game. So much so the power supply caught fire and the Atari went into its death throes. We were unable to get a replacement.
Atari may have been my initial experience with gaming, but it was not here that I was made a gamer. Oh no that would come many years later. The Christmas of 1995, the Christmas of the Playstation, the year I was a born a gamer.
Sure in-between the Atari and the Playstation I had games consoles, I played them to death too! The Amstrad CPC-464, Master System, GameBoy, Megadrive all of these were in my (or my brothers’) possession and we played the crap outta them. I loved the Mega Drive the most, I played the hell out of the classic titles, ‘Streets of Rage’, ‘Sonic’, ‘Toejam and Earl’ all hold a very dear place in my heart. But I was young, I played outside loads, football and wrestling were my primary concern and gaming was definitely on the back burner.
The Playstation changed that.
It was cool! The advertising campaign was aggressive. It was everywhere. It was a defining moment for gaming, and it was a watershed moment in my life. Although I somehow had missed all this before Christmas, I was made acutely aware of it after…and I wasn’t the only one.
I went back to school after that Christmas, told my friends I got a Playstation and they were all jealous, they asked to come over to my house to witness this revelation in gaming. Everyone wanted a Playstation, and I was literally the only one who had it (funny, considering I wanted a Saturn and had never heard of the Playstation)!
It may sound corny, but it changed my life, slowly but surely it took over little facets here and there. Saturdays were filled with football in the morning, teletext (for football scores) in the afternoon, Playstation in the early evening and wrestling to wrap it all up. Suddenly gaming was holding its own with my big hobbies.
It would grow to eclipse many of them by the end.
I stayed up all night playing ‘Resident Evil’ with a friend, even though we were far too young. We sat up, enthralled by the story, captivated by the enemies, we even cursed (quietly, didn’t want his Dad to hear) when the traitor was unmasked. ‘Silent Hill’ was another we got our grubby hands on far too young, we played it most of the night and nearly crapped ourselves when my Dad came home from work and scared us at 4am.
Gaming was also becoming an event, we had epic battles in games such as ‘Tekken’ and ‘Destruction Derby 2’. ‘Worms’ was our new grudge settling game (it overtook football horse). The marquee launches were also staggering. We all wanted and played the same games. This was a first for me, my friends and I had always been on opposite sides of the console war and being together, for the first time, created bonds between us. And bonds between my games and I.
My brother and I even subscribed to the Official Playstation Magazine, a full three years of good reading, good letter writing and even better demo discs.
Gaming was also a lifestyle, I would chat with friends about the games we owned, strategies on bosses and discussed games coming out. We passed around the Resident Evil 2 Demo until we’d all played and could talk about it safe from our parents ears.
I’ve never missed a generation of consoles since the Playstation, hell I’ve barely missed a console at all! The Playstation also gave me enough memories to last this blog for an incredibly long time.
SEGA may have made me love games, but it was Sony that made me a gamer.