Video Games & Memories
When were you first exposed to video games? Do you remember where you were or what game it was? I feel that everyone who shares a love of gaming has one of those moments; a time when it all just came together for them.
You feel the exhilaration of what a video game is. It’s not just awe or fascination, but instead become completely engrossed. I’m not simply referring to code. A game is so much more than that. Code is just the glue that binds it all together. How is this made? Where did it all start? Who wrote the story? What inspired these characters or scenery? For a game that truly inspires and amazes us, this is but the tip of the iceberg of questions we ask.
This is especially true in the world of gaming today. They have so many things going for them. I don’t just mean voice talent and graphics. Many games have a rich story, unforgettable music and addictive game play. Some open your eyes to vast new worlds to enjoy and share with your friends, whether they are sitting next to you or on the other side of the world. When you take all of this into consideration, it’s actually pretty easy to see why people fall in love with games to begin with.
For me, it was the summer before I started kindergarten. My family and I were in a mall and my cousins took me to an arcade called “Aladdin’s Castle.” I will never forget the atmosphere inside that place. I still remember the sounds that emanated from those arcade cabinets. As I took it all in, my oldest cousin put some tokens in my hand, sat me on a stool, and introduced me to Pac-Man.
For a child of my age and gaming experience, you can imagine that I was pretty horrible at it. Not only did I go through all of my own tokens, but all of my cousin’s as well. He saw the pure elation that filled me up as I played that game that he allowed me to keep playing, even when I had no tokens left of my own. Afterwards, he suggested I ask my parents for the home version.
I imagined how cool it would be to have an arcade game in my home, minus the part of forking over tokens I didn’t have to play it that is. As I pondered this, my cousin enlightened me on the concept of a home console. The rest of the story pretty much writes itself.
It didn’t end, however, with me just getting a console. As I grew older, I began to understand more intricacies and tactics. I convinced my parents into allowing me to subscribe to game magazines so I could learn new approaches to what I had and prepare myself for the games that were soon coming. During that time, they contained so much information on the business and the games created. Strategy guides and the internet were non existent. We had to find what we could and figure out the rest on our own.
Eventually the industry evolved from 8- bit to 16-bit. It’s strange to look back on those times, as now people can hardly fathom playing games that look that way. We’ve gone from using midi files to full blown mp3’s for game audio. Now we have games with actual voice over as opposed to the sometimes endless string of text we had to read back in the day.
Today there exists so many games, new and old, and yet the industry continues to grow and change. With these changes new players will emerge; individuals like you and I who will have that first gaming experience that causes them to dive in and not look back, just as we did.
I’m thankful for that moment I had with my cousins and Pac-Man. Though so much has changed, good and bad, I’m still just as hooked on gaming now as I was back then. What was your moment? What drew you in and made you one of the video game faithful? Sound off and let us know.