This week there were a lot of first game memories flying around social media. I don’t know what sparked it all, but it got me feeling all nostalgic. Over the last few days, I’ve been reminiscing on some of my favorite games. I also started to think about what my first game purchases were across the various gaming platforms as they released. So today, let’s walk down memory lane.
My video game addiction began with Pitfall on the Atari 2600. My brother and I were visiting our aunt, uncle, and cousins in Wisconsin. I remember we walked in the door and found my uncle and cousins playing Pitfall. I was in awe of what I saw. I wanted to play. I sucked, but damn if I didn’t have a ball. My brother and I would later inherit their Atari 2600 as our own due to my cousins upgrading to the Nintendo Entertainment System.
We played the Atari so much, but the allure of the NES was strong. We finally convinced our parents to splurge and get us this new-fangled system. We brought it home from Meijer (grocery store in Michigan) and hooked it up. Our first game was Duck Hunt. I remember this fondly because it was the one, and only, time the whole family sat on the couch and played video games together. It’s still one of those memories I hold onto dearly.
Time crept on and I would amass a decent collection of NES games. However, like all things technology, a new console would emerge. The Super Nintendo was that new console. The first game I played on that sucker was Super Mario World, and man would I play this game to death. It was just so colorful, and that music, damn man. This was the future. I still go back on a rare occasion and play this game. I can say, it has stood the test of time rather well.
The SNES would hold my heart for many years. Yet, Nintendo would up the game again with the Nintendo 64. This also ushered in the stupidly expensive cartridge games. I pinched my pennies and brought home a shiny new N64 with Turok. Not only did the game look badass, but I also had this controller with a bulging peripheral that rumbled. It was so crazy and new. MIND BLOWN!
Right around the same time the N64 released, a new comer would enter the video game world. That new kid on the block was the PlayStation by Sony. It was so foreign. It used cds instead of cartridges. It wasn’t until I played it at a friend’s house that I caught the need for this stupidly expensive ($300 at the time was ridiculous) console. I would once again save up my money and buy the PS1 and Crash Bandicoot. My love for Sony consoles had begun!
Forward time a few years and I’m now in college. It looked as though the console wars would now be between Sony and Nintendo, but Sega had one last gift to give gamers. They brought us the Dreamcast. My first game with this system was Crazy Taxi. I’ve never had so much fun being a taxi driver as I did with that game. My friends and I played the bejesus out of Crazi Taxi, Soul Calibur, and Power Stone. Man I miss that system.
We now arrive at the greatness that is the PlayStation 2. The fun thing about this system is that you could actually buy a few of the launch games two weeks before the system even released. I know this because I had Street Fighter EX3 sitting on my desk and I could do nothing with it for two weeks. It taunted me. It mocked me. I WANTED TO PLAY IT SO BADLY! That was the longest two weeks of my life, but they passed and I would partake in the glory that was the PS2!
The PS2 would become one of my longest held consoles. However, it would now sit beside the brand new Nintendo GameCube. This would also mark the start of consoles being so hyped up that they would become a pain in the ass to find at launch. I christened my GameCube with a strange game knows as Super Monkey Ball. I have no idea what it was about that game, but man did I play it a lot. I’d challenge friends to see who could beat hard levels the fastest. This entertainment was only amplified by adult beverages.
Around the same time the GameCube released, we had another new entrant into the world of video games. This time, Microsoft would dip their toes into the pool with the Xbox. I actually won my first Xbox thanks to a Taco Bell giveaway. I received an Xbox and Halo…FOR FREE! I was hesitant to give Microsoft credit, but once I heard that title screen for Halo, I was a lost cause. I was once again blown away by just how far we have come in the video game world. The Xbox had won me over!
I would move to Georgia before investing in a new game console. I had come to love my PS2, GameCube, Xbox setup. Yet, Microsoft would again destroy my reality with the Xbox 360 and Gears of War. I remember just saying “Eff it,” grabbing my roommate and going to the store to buy this setup. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We would then spend the next four days playing Gears and eating leftovers. It was one of the best holidays ever!
Next stop is Missouri. This is where I’d convince my wife, then fiancé, that we needed a PlayStation 3. She would deny me this new console until one day we were walking around Circuit City (right before they became nothing more than a memory) and I showed her Little Big Planet. I told her of the stupid fun we could have in that game as we could play together. Well, she would cave and we brought home a PS3 and LBP. It’ proved to be a great investment as we spent plenty of hours playing various PS3 games together!
And now we have today. I would once again have to convince my wife that we “needed” a new console. It took some doing, but I would eventually snag a PlayStation 4 with Destiny. I have also snagged a Wii U as well, and my first game on that would be Pikmin 3. I have both of these consoles hooked up to my computer monitor and enjoy them both immensely.
You know, as I look back through this article and remember all the fun times I’ve had, one thing stands out clear as day. We as video gamers have a lot to be thankful for. In my 28 years of playing video games, I have explored countless virtual worlds, slaughtered who knows how many bad guys, saved the world dozens of times, raced thousands of virtual miles, broken more controllers than I care to admit, sold and then re-bought various consoles far too many times, and racked up an ungodly amount of time with a controller in my hands. You know what? I’d totally do it all over again and not change a damn thing!