Thursday, 14 January 2010

A Personal History of Gaming

Hmm my personal history of gaming, now that's a question and a half! I've played so many games it makes me head spin thinking about it, guess we'd best start at the beginning and I'm afraid its a long one, so make sure your comfortable.

My foray into gaming started when i was about 5-6 my dad had given me a NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) along with a bunch of games. These games are which I think started me off on a lifetime of gaming and were the first games I would have ever played and I will always have fond memories of the NES in my heart, I can still remember the time I spent with friends, or on my own, happily letting the hours go past and loving every second of it. But games hadnt fully gotten their claws into me yet, I was still a normal, average kid that preferred to play outside in the sun with his friends, rather than stay cooped up inside with a bleeping machine.

No it was only till the N64 came out did the claws of gaming sunk deep within. It was the first console I bought with my own money, I bought it about a year after its release and took with me Lylat Wars (Star Fox 64 again for those outside of Europe), I spent the rest of the day playing it and being awed by what I was seeing, it looked beautiful (at the time, plus I only had graphics from the NES as comparison) and the game played so well, but this was only the start. At that point games had their spell over me and I was hooked, I started to play games like never before, plus I sought out other consoles and other games, since if they were fun, why not give them a go!

This has continued to the present day, I guess the reason I have continued playing games is due to the effort that people spend making these games, all that hard effort spent making the games great shows through, it is a labour of love and it shines through when you play the game, very few games truly encapsulate that feeling, but the ones that succeed are usually at the top of their peers. But not all games are good, many have become “cookie cutter” games, basic clones of games that have achieved great popularity in the market and so are looking to get a slice of the action.

Thanks to this I have actually spent time playing old games, while these may not be as pretty as modern games, they have a freshness of originality not found in new games, with both story and game play usually being better than what’s being released.

I find it sad that the gaming market has become what it is, originality in games is far and few between, which creates such blandness in what I felt 5 years ago to be a thriving, energetic industry. But like all industries, they must cater to its market, which is as shallow as a puddle in the middle of Africa in the summer. But while the industry may be wallowing in a wake of Grand Theft Auto clones and vanilla flavoured FPS games, I would like to see it look back on the games that made the industry what it is, to see what made it so great and to maybe try to capture the spirit that games had. But while I may wish for games to go back to its roots, I certainly acknowledge that it is unlikely, which may be a good thing, if the likes of Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins live up to their expectations then I can see hope on the horizon for this industry.

And while I can certainly see the nearby future of gaming, I do not dream of what it could become, as a young art form, created in a time when the world is no longer truly divided by boundaries and held back by societies misconceptions. Millions of people of all ages, religion and racial heritage experience what video games have to offer everyday, it is not a closed off hobby to those that people consider to be social outcasts and as such it will benefit greatly by the influx of different experiences, views and creativity.

It has already become what I have dreamed, a shared experience for the entire world of which where no boundaries exist, the only thing left is for me to either be of the ones that stay on the side lines, watching what comes by, or to take an active hand in what comes before me, to shape and mould it, to work with like minded people to create something that can be enjoyed and appreciated by others.

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