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Thread: What got you into gaming?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: May 2004

    What got you into gaming?

    The thread about "gaming revolutions" got me thinking that it might be interesting to hear about how people got into gaming and what their gateway games were.

    As for me, I actually had a pretty rocky start... I only started playing games regularly somewhere in the beginning of 90s and I didn't seriously get into it until the end of the 90s when I got a reliable access to the internet. I grew up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain and my family was pretty poor, so there was a lack of both games and information. This also meant that there were lots of pirated copies, lots of borrowing and renting of games and consoles, and the occasional overnight stay in an office or a school's computer class for doing "maintenance".

    If I had to start somewhere, I suppose the first experience I had with video games were Soviet arcades (yes, there was such a thing). They offered a wide variety of games such as the exciting "pull a turnip out of the ground" simulator:




    a thrilling horse racing game where you got to watch vaguely horse shaped figures advance towards the other end of the screen:




    a hunting simulator:




    and a gripping naval combat simulator which you can experience for yourself here: http://morskoy-boy.15kop.ru/en/game/




    My favourite was probably mini-bowling which was about as crappy as it looks:




    As you can imagine, I wasn't exactly a regular customer. The machines were clunky, the games were boring, and, as I later learned, most of them were inferior knockoffs of western arcade cabinets. This also goes for handhelds, btw, which were knockoffs of Nintendo's Game & Watch series and looked and played like this:




    In comparison, my first western handheld game was this:




    Anyway, this didn't exactly make me a big enthusiast of games or gaming and this wasn't really changed by the first computer games that I played either. The earliest computer game that I remember was probably a Blitz clone that played and looked approximately like this. Other games that followed, such as Xonix, were equally unimpressive.

    On the other hand, the first console game I played was Montezuma's Revenge and it managed to leave a much better expression. This led me to eventually getting a Famicom clone and acquiring a sizable bootleg library. I was a console gamer up until the PS3 generation and I still play old NES, SNES and PS1-2 games from time to time.

    But the game that really turned me around was Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I was pretty much instantly sold after the intro video. After that came games like Hero's Quest, Legend of Kyrandia, Doom, Commander Keen and X-COM and the rest is history.

    So, if you managed to get through all this depressing wall of text, congrats, I guess. What's your story?
    Last edited by Starker; 27th Apr 2020 at 01:33.

  2. #2
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I think you win the thread even before it gets started with your "Pulling a turnip out of the ground" simulator. Nothing I can mention in my gaming history is anywhere near as interesting

    Mine was seeing Pong at a mate's house and playing Space Invaders at the local leisure centre, after which I badgered my Dad into getting me a Speccy. My first Speccy game was "Zip Zap" by "Imagine - Play the Game".
    Oh, and The Hobbit. Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    What got me into gaming:

    Bubble Bobble



    Was hooked for life after seeing that in a fish and chip shop. Begged my parents to get me an Atari 2600 + a Commodore 64 a little later. Got the Atari 2600 and played that endlessly. Later got a Commodore VIC 20. Used to sit and try and type out all the damn basic lines from the book given with it. None of them worked. Grr. As soon as I started to learn to code stuff in basic I knew that making games was what I wanted to do when I was older.

    Years later, I was heavily bullied in high school (daily basis) from year 7 - 10. Games were my escape. After that it was fully in my blood for life, if it hadn't been already. Helped me through a fair few bad times since. Nothing else gives me that level of escape.

  4. #4
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I think a version of that Soviet era naval game made it to the US that I played (a church had gotten it somehow), or perhaps it was the Western version that it was modeled after or vice versa, or it's possible it was just convergent evolution because I mean there's only so many games you can make out of simple vector graphics, but I distinctly remember it.

    Re: How I got into gaming. It's hard to say since I was born right at the dawn of home gaming & just grew up with it... It was always there. My family got the Pong Console like the same year I was born and the Atari 2600 when it came out. Then it worked out I had the Atari and C64 and my neighbor had the Nintendo and 386, and we always played at each other's houses. So it was just always there. I was already learning BASIC and making little games on my C64 & TI-85 graphing calculator. Coin/ops at places like grocery stores, orthadonist offices, and the occasional proper arcade we had to drive out to. I wasn't nearby a proper arcade until college in Austin, but for that first year or two I visited quite a bit, and that's also when Windows came out, WWW was born, I got a PC, and the rest of it.

  5. #5
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    What got me into gaming:

    Bubble Bobble
    Hah, I had Bubble Bobble on the Speccy, and my best mate's Dad banned him from coming round my house to play it 'cos he thought he was playing too much of it

  6. #6
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Cheerily enough, I got into video games due to cartoons. Specifically, Popeye. A friend of my brother's had the Nintendo Game & Watch handheld version, which I borrowed for days at a time:



    Essentially, you had to punch Bluto off a pier to save Olive. It was ridiculously limited in terms of movement and input, and you could barely see the screen without the right lighting conditions, but it was a great evening pastime for a kid desperate to escape from the horrors of maths homework. (I failed maths that year.)

    We eventually got an Atari and marvelled at its horrible built-in games, of which Superman was amazingly terrible. Seriously, look at this thing: it's like someone hired Philip K. Dick's lesser known brother to make a game while coming down from a peyote+LSD bender. Space Invaders was awesome, though; so awesome that my dad broke the joystick while playing it. I proceeded to fix it with sellotape, which of course made it fall apart completely, so I just manually pronged the metal triggers inside the pad with my fingers, and was introduced to the prickly tingle of electricity coursing through me for the first time. (I passed physics that year with flying colours. Go figure.)

    Our dad then rented an NES (because lol forget buying the thing, it wasn't even officially on sale - it was called a Nintendo 'Samurai' on our fair shores). I was introduced to Mario, which I proceeded to hate with a passion, because my brother kept forcing me to play Luigi and stole all the powerups, then forced me to go play outside because I kept making him lose.* To this day, this is something I have not gotten over, and just seeing SMB on my screen is something that bubbles up an inexplicable rage inside me. Fuck you, Mario, you powerup-stealing twerp. (Despite my forced jaunts outside, this did not really help my geography scores.)

    Meanwhile, my true gaming inclinations had blossomed on the PC, where I was introduced to shitty CGA/EGA games during a computer course on Wordstar and dBase 3+ (do any of you guys even remember these?). There was one where you had to save babies being flung out of a building by controlling two paramedics running back and forth with a stretcher. Also, there was Alley Cat. Ah, Alley Cat, with your gigantic wedges of cheese wormed through by mice, and stupid bookshelf spiders: I do not miss you at all.

    One day when I was bored with saving babies, my friend, who'd done terribly in dBase and Wordstar (control-K to block the goddamn text, yo!), had a sudden epileptic attack and proceeded to shake most of the keys out of his keyboard by violently slamming his arms against it, then fell to the ground in a froth. He was rushed to a hospital, and I was left feeling a bit shaken, so one of the other kids came over to distract me with something very, very new. He said it was like Mario, but better. He CD'd to a folder I hadn't seen before, and typed a two-word command that will remain forever engrained within my brain: PRINCE MEGAHIT.**

    That was the year when I was introduced to Jordan Mechner's platforming genius, and the year that the gaping abyss of video gaming opened up from under me and swallowed me whole, as after it followed Wolfenstein and Ultima. It was also the year my mom decided I needed supplementary tuitions, and sent me off to her teacher-friends' houses to learn mathematics properly. A wise decision in retrospect, as without it I may not have come across the friends who eventually introduced me to Wing Commander and Syndicate and Mortal Kombat, and without whom to rely on for 'cheat chits' during the exams, I would have tanked the fucking things completely.




    *To be fair, I was dicking him over so he wouldn't notice I'd secretly stolen his entire share of jellybeans yet again.

    **Only later would I learn that pressing 'k' to kill everyone onscreen was not, in fact, a widely accepted way to play the game.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 15th Jul 2016 at 07:33.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    Hah, I had Bubble Bobble on the Speccy, and my best mate's Dad banned him from coming round my house to play it 'cos he thought he was playing too much of it
    Had the main level tune from it as the ringtone for nearly every mobile I've ever had. Gets grins from time to time.

  8. #8
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Half Life 1.
    It was the first time I felt that a computer game wasn't just a game. But it allowed you to be in another world. I had seen and played Wolfenstein and Doom. But those were still too gamey for me. In HL1 the characters around you would actually talk to you. And you could walk through Black Mesa in your own pace. Without having to jump or shoot every 5 seconds (like e.g. in all arcade games).

  9. #9
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    HL1 was certainly watershed moment for me too. The in-game intro really blew me away at the time.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    G-Police, Aliens vs Predator Classic 2000 or whatever it's now called, then System Shock 2. The latter is the main reason I'm still interested. Had an embarrassingly large impact on me.

  11. #11
    My first experience with video gaming was visiting one of my aunts when I was 5 or so. They had an Intellivision, or something very similar, which had me and my brother enthralled. In my early school years I got a few Game & Watch (or knockoffs) which kept me entertained for a couple of years. I didn't get anything to replace them (and my parent's were reluctant to frequently replacing batteries) until my teenage years when I got a C64, I basically buried myself in that as a form of escapism and have been gaming ever since.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I grew up with it, playing Lego Island, Lord of the Rings, etc.

  13. #13
    Right around 77-78, I was 9, and we had one of these:



    and one of these



    and one of these



    And pong too, of course. But the Atari 2600 - that was the shit, it started the addiction. Combat, Space Invaders, Adventure, Pac Man, Stampede, Asteroids, Pitfall, Pole Position, etc. I'm sure we had already started playing arcade games by then too, but there was something awesome about being able to play at home and on an unlimited basis.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    I think a version of that Soviet era naval game made it to the US that I played (a church had gotten it somehow), or perhaps it was the Western version that it was modeled after or vice versa, or it's possible it was just convergent evolution because I mean there's only so many games you can make out of simple vector graphics, but I distinctly remember it.
    There were a handful of Russian games like Tetris that got copied by the West, but when it comes to electronics or machines, it's pretty unlikely. The naval game (Морской бой) was pretty certainly a knockoff of this game:


  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    My cousin had a home computer around 82/83, I can't even remember what model but they were quite well-off so it could well have been a C64. I was only about 5 years old but I was blown away by it. He was making things move around on a screen in his bedroom! So my mum and dad got me an Acorn Electron, and that was that.

    I couldn't tell you what game I played at my uncle's house, though I have a vague recollection that it was space-themed and sideways scrolling, so perhaps Defender? My very first games were a bunch of Acornsoft titles that came bundled with the Electron, most memorably Arcadians and Hopper, which were clones of Galaxian and Frogger respectively.

  16. #16
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Just realised I posted in the wrong thread earlier (thought it was the gaming revolutions one). HL1 wasn't what got me into gaming, that would be my cousin's Atari Game system:



    After that, I had to beg my older brother to let me use his C64, which I later inherited along with a huge box of games on cassette. Then later I had to secretly sneak into his room while he was out to use his Amiga, then later on again, sneaking in and using his password (which I overheard him tell his girlfriend of the time so she could use it) to get in to his PC and play Doom.

    Finally got my own PC at the age of 18 in 1997 and that is about it.
    Last edited by faetal; 15th Jul 2016 at 16:06.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Lockdown... if only
    It was the period around 1980-1983. First my friend got an Atari 2600 which got me interested. Then my parents got us an Atari 400 computer for xmas which started me playing games at home and writing BASIC programs. Other than Star Raiders, which I liked, cartridge games were just ports of arcade classics like Space Invaders, Missile Command, Pac Man, Pole Position. I got bored of them quickly. Then another friend got an 800XL with a tape drive, and I got a tape drive, and his Dad got a bunch of pirated disk/tape games that we played the heck out of: early Microprose sims, Archon, Cypher Bowl, and Shamus. That's what got me firmly hooked.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Texas
    I started with a Magnavox console. It was like 4 different versions of pong. Then it was the Atari 2600 and that's when the addiction started. I played a bunch of games on it including the ones listed above and yes Superman too. It was the best at that time although my favorite game was Adventure which had the worlds first easter egg in it and yes I found it too.

    Then my dad threatened to trade in my Atari as some store was giving credit twards a computer. I kept the Atari and got the computer an IBM PC Jr. It had 256k of ram and was upgradable to 512k..lol I played text adventures and then Sierras Graphic adventures.

    Then a few years later I got a 386xs with 1meg ram upgradable to 4meg. I really took off into games from there. X-Wing forced me to upgrade to 4 meg..lol It pretty much took off from there and only got worse. yes I'm that old and still love games and so does my wife.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    My experience is somewhat stereotypical, actually. When I was 7 or so, I was over at a neighbour's house and they had... an NES. With the Super Mario and Duck Hunt cartridge. My first reaction was, of course, 'why would I want to play something called Duck Hunt?', not realizing that it was actually two games.

    Suffice to say, I was rather blown away by Super Mario Bros and pestered my parents to get me an NES after that .

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    I was born in the late 70's, so inevitably the thing that hooked me onto gaming were the prevalence of arcade games in the early 80's. Didn't matter what it was, if it had an attract screen and took quarters I was begging my folks to let me play it. I was too young to remember a specific game doing it; the local Acme grocery store had Pac-Man and Donkey Kong machines, I can remember going to bars with my dad and playing the original Black Hole pinball machine and Stunt Cycle. One of the local pizza shops had Turbo when it came out, and another had Time Pilot (I can remember still regularly shoving quarters into that Time Pilot until the early 90's). The diner my family regularly went to in the 80's seemed to always have whatever the latest Mr Do game was. The mall had an Outlaw machine and was the first place I can remember seeing/playing Zaxxon. Sears, of all places, had a Pole Position II machine in their layaway area, so while my mom spent what felt like hours window shopping my dad and I would stuff a few dollars into it. Around 82-83 a Showbiz Pizza opened in the area, and this quickly became birthday party nirvana. I'm remembering it from the perspective of a 7 year old, but the place was dark, enormous, and full of every videogame that I knew existed. By 84 I'm pretty sure they had all of the popular laserdisc games (Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Firefox, etc), and it's kind of hilarious thinking about how impressive they seemed at the time. Anyway, the 80's and early 90's were all about the ubiquitousness of arcade games. Everyone who was alive then has fond memories of arcades, but really the games were everywhere.

    I'm not sure it's the first arcade game I ever saw, but the oldest one I can remember seeing regularly (at a Hill's department store!) was this mechanical guy, which my dad would play everytime we were there and which, for some reason, scared the hell out of me with its visuals/sounds:


  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Yeah, this still kinda creeps me out too:


  22. #22
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Another good topic. I haven't had much of a chance to post lately but can't resist this one

    My first memory of playing an electronic game was when I was 4, with a hardware version of Pong that one of my uncle's put together after doing an electronic course funded by the Australian Army. After that it was with arcade games such as Space Invader at my mother's pizza restaurant when we moved up to Brisbane. At some stage 1-2 years after that my father purchased an Atari 400 which I kept in my room attached to a portable B&W television. This would serve as my introduction to PC gaming (and to a lesser extent programming) through the ground-breaking Star Raiders and US "States & Capitals"; the former of which probably made me one of the few youngsters in Australia at that stage (and now as well) who was able to recite all of the US states and capitals.

    <table border=0><tbody><tr><td><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/Atari-400-Comp.jpg" style="width:250px;height:180px;"></img></td><td><img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d1/Star-raiders-game-under-attack.gif" style="width:250px;height:180px;"></img></td><td><img src="http://www.atarimania.com/8bit/screens/states_and_capitals_atari_3.gif" style="width:250px;height:180px;"></img></td></tr><tr><td>Atari 2600</td><td>Star Raiders</td><td>States & Capitals</td></tr></tbody></table>
    From there it was a mixture of various handhelds, the explosion of games at the Arcade that got more amazing year after year, playing Karateka and some other games on an early Apple Mac at school, followed by my first true console machine, the Sega Megadrive, and eventually my first real PC, a 386. The Megadrive was really the key to what gave me an appetite for more serious story driven games.

    <table border=0><tbody><tr><td><img src="http://www.visualnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Donkey-Kong-Jr.png" style="width:250px;height:180px;"></img></td><td><img src="http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/screen_kubrick/0/4705/370416-karateka.png" style="width:250px;height:180px;"></img></td><td><img src="http://www.gadgetdaily.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RS39200_Megadrive.png" style="width:250px;height:180px;"></img></td></tr><tr><td>Donkey Kong Jr</td><td>Karateka</td><td>Sega Megadrive</td></tr></tbody></table>

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I remember the Mega Drive, but not really it having a lot of serious story driven games. I did spend a fair amount of time on games like Desert Strike and Streets of Rage, though.

  24. #24
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Ah no, there weren't any serious ones that I recall but it was around that time that as a result of the increased power of gaming machines that we were starting to see more advanced systems (albeit still fairly simple compared to today) and a greater of variety of genres than was previously possible. What I was getting at before was that the games started to hint at what might be possible, and as such whet my appetite for deeper experiences that would largely come later in my gaming experience.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    amstrad cpc 1628

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