Lest you think I’m doing a history on fruit.
I’ve been gaming for almost as long as I can remember. My parents had a NES lying around and to this day, I don’t know why. Neither of my parents are real gamers. Well, okay, credit due to my mom who’s probably put more hours into Rollercoaster Tycoon than I have and to this day enjoys card and puzzle games both on PC and her new iPad. My dad’s no slouch though. He doesn’t game, true, but he knows more about computers than I do, and I’m a software developer!
So by no choice of my own, the NES was my first system. But it was a great one. I still remember playing Super Mario 1 and 3, Duck Hunt, and Monsters in my Pocket in my parent’s bedroom with my neighbor Connor. I also had the original Gameboy, although Kirby’s Dreamland is the only game I can remember playing on it.
Following these classics was a somewhat more niche console, the Sega Dreamcast. While everyone else ran around with Mario on their N64s, I created fond memories with Trickstyle, Hydro Thunder, Crazy Taxi, Star Wars Episode I Pod Racer, and many others I still hold dear.
A few Christmases later, however, I received the console that sits as my favorite of all time: the Playstation 2. This would be the console that defined me as a gamer. I had it from 4th(?) grade all the way through high school until I finally purchased my own console, the Xbox 360. Why the switch, you ask? Well, let me tell you about that time I told you about that time I told you why I game. It’s for my friends, and at the time, my best friend Justin had a 360, so naturally, I did too. It ended up being a good switch in the long run however as literally all of my current gamer friends do so on the Xbox One or PC, not the Playstation. Although I do miss some of those console exclusives, none of them can replace my friends.
I didn’t really play many of the cherished Playstation exclusives anyway. No Final Fantasy, no Kingdom Hearts, no Shadow of the Colossus. My most cherished game of all time is Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland. This was before playtime trackers, but I can guarantee I put in hundreds upon hundreds of hours in this one. I beat it using 7 out of the 9 possible endings and even did playthroughs where I didn’t beat it at all! I did literally everything you can do on your farm and it just never got old. It’s still not. And I still hesitate to play other Harvest Moon games because I don’t want to diminish my memories of the series in general. It holds a special place in my heart, and it’s because of this that I have high hopes for Stardew Valley.
I have several other favorites on the console including God of War, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, and arguably the best sports game ever made, NFL 2K5.
The 360 ushered in a new era for me: online play. I soon got Xbox Live and began playing Halo 3 and then Reach with my friends. Of course I poured time into Oblivion as well, but the 360 was really the beginning of online multiplayer for me with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 quickly becoming my favorite shooter and still holding that place today. The 360 came with me to college where Jake and I had more than one epic night of custom games in Halo 4.
I built my own PC in the summer between my sophomore and junior year, and it once again ushered in a new era of gaming, although admittedly not as meaningful as the others. Or at least, not as exciting. It showed me the way into gaming as an adult, a transition I’m still not sure I wanted to make. It was far from my first PC though as my dad works with computers, ensuring I had access to one growing up. Runescape on the family computer was followed by World of Warcraft on my iMac, which I had throughout high school, both games once again played with Connor. We did this almost entirely during summers which left me with great memories swimming in his pool by day and gaming in my basement by night.
My gaming history is all over the place in regards to both where and what I’ve played. Connor’s moved on to competitive games like Rocket League and Overwatch, which I enjoy, but I just can’t keep up in terms of skill. We still lookout for good co-op games to play together, but with two busy adult schedules to work around, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Jake loves his single-player games, Ian his open-worlds with collectables, and Chase is a filthy casual. Where does that leave me? I still jump in and out of games of all different genres on both my PC and my Xbox One. And I want a Switch! I don’t know what kind of gamer I am or what my gaming future holds. Maybe the spoons will help me figure it out. For now though, I’m just happy to reminisce.