What is Your Story?
I thought it would be interesting to make a thread about how each of us got pulled into PC Gaming. If you have a fun story to take us all down nostalgia lane, please make a post!
For me it started somewhere in the mid 70s. If you're wondering, yes, life was black and white in those days - but it helped make the dinosaurs that still roamed the Earth seem less scary. My grandmother was a house cleaner for rich people living in Beverly Hills, CA. One day she came over and gave me this box and said I could hook it up to a TV and play games. I had no idea what it was, I was only about 8 years old.
It turns out it was the original Magnavox Odyssey videogame system. You stuck these colored overlays on your TV screen to add color and graphics to games that were otherwise just blips similar to old Mattel handheld games. Well, slightly better than those, but not by much.
But I was hooked. And in 1979 when I opened up the main Christmas present from my parents for that year and revealed an Atari 2600, my "nerdom" was set in stone. Of course, I didn't get an actual Atari 2600, but the private labeled Sears brand, Atari VCS. Aside from a few small cosmetic differences, there were no technical differences and the machine ran identical to the true blue Atari 2600. But I do remember an embarrassing moment having that mean kid explain this to me in front of my friends making me look pretty stupid at the time.
Then the Intellivision was released. And after about a year of badgering, harassing, and stalking my parents, they caved and bought me one. Oh how I loved my Intellivision! Too much in fact.
Panic set in with my parents and they bought me a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer with the hopes that I might do something more with this computer revolution other than play games. It worked and I did! I learned how to program in BASIC. But more importantly, I started down the long and complicated road of getting games to work on a computer. I needed a tape drive! So the badgering, harassing, and stalking commenced toward this effort! Eventually, I managed to save up to buy one for myself because this time my parents saw right through my ruse. And getting games to run on that machine was sometimes as difficult as it was get games to work under MS-DOS.
It was right around the time I had spent about a year delivering newspapers for three paper routes to save up enough money for a ColecoVision when my mom countered with an IBM PC Model B. First came King's Quest 1. But then the discovery of the several years old Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress appeared. It was actually a friend I visited only once in a great while (because he lived far away) who showed me the game on his Apple II computer. Once I discovered Ultima II, my world was changed forever.
Ultima II cemented the notion that computers had the "serious" and "complicated" (complicated was not a derogatory description in those days) games while consoles provided a "lighter" alternative.
And that is the brief history of how I became hooked on PC gaming.
I can give a little bit of history but as far as what got me really hooked into computer gaming were three main games - they kinda fed the fire over time as it were.
But first I suppose a little history. I suppose the first game I recall for home use (not counting video arcade games) were the ones on a TV, the Atari Pong Home System that my parents got for me and my brothers for Xmas (I was about 11 at the time, 1975). Amazing how something so simple and mindless was entertaining and fascinating at the time. Maybe it had something to do with being able to "control" what was on the TV. I think that has a lot to do with my love for gaming - the ability to interact and control something.
However I fell away from that as I was primarily a book reader and instead got heavy into AD&D when I was 12 and played that until I was about 16. I then really didn't get to involved in either AD&D or any type of computer at all for awhile. It wasn't until 1983-84 or so I started to play a few games again, mainly the Kings Quest games - but more as a diversion versus any heavy involvement.
… I should note at this point I have been a serious fantasy buff since I can remember. My mom said I picked out all the fantasy and magic books even as a little kid … hence my games tend to all focus on that area …
Anyhow I would say I got my first real hook into gaming with Pools of Radiance, and a lot of that had to do with missing my AD&D gaming. That was my first big game that I played all the time and did my first meta-gaming playing. I played it on my Apple II which was my first computer.
After that I kept playing games until various life issues dropped me out of it. My next big return was in my mid-20's when I played Darklands for the PC in 1992 - I was 28 then. I got seriously hooked again - to the point that I got a new PC just to be able to play the game. Oh how I loved that game.
However I would say the game that totally cemented my love of gaming (as I have been playing ever since without any real breaks) would be Baldurs Gate in 1998. Been playing fairly hard core ever since.
Course I dabbled and played other games but it wasn't with the same passion and fondness I have now. Something about BG was a turning point - I suspect some of it was the technology, the AD&D, and I suspect the characters - I just adored all the characters in the game. Been hooked on companions ever since.
Good topic. Our first gaming system was a Binatone Colour TV game which provided brief bat-and-ball related amusement in the late 70s (the shooting games never worked well even with the curtains closed).
After that my brother and I persuaded my dad to buy a ZX81 which we used to play space invaders, chess and bomber. We also played lots of type-in programs such as those found in Sinclair Programs. We followed this up by getting a ZX Spectrum 48K which opened up a world of high-resolution graphics and gaming, such as Jetpac, Atic Atac, Manic Miner and then later my first forays into fantasy games, Lords of Midnight (see avatar) and Tir Na Nog. I upgraded to a Spectrum +2 (with 128k) in the late 80s.
Apart from a few games on my brother's Amiga in the early 1990s, I then had a break from gaming until I bought a Nintendo 64 around 1998 (Zelda, Shadowman, Banjo Kazooie, Turok 2, Goldeneye) followed up by a PS1 (mostly for the Tomb Raider series, but I also enjoyed RPG-lite games like Koudelka) and then a PS2. Finally around 2001 I moved into PC gaming, with Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment being some of my earliest purchases.
In short - I've been a gamer for a long time, but a PC gamer for a much shorter period so I missed out on a lot of the classic CRPGs of the 1990s. I still aspire to go back and play them, I have a long list of Ultimas, M&Ms and Arkania games to get through on GoG. It was only last year I managed to play through the classic Fallouts, culminating in a New Vegas run through earlier this year.
Vhoa, now these are fun reads! Especially after I was 'forced' to join a guild in SWTOR recently, and the player who had recruited me asked me about my age. When I typed "This might come as a shock, but I'm 46" (he was 12), he was shocked indeed: "I thought only young people played games!"
When I told him about how I know many old gaming geezers, and that most of them have been playing video- and roleplaying ganes since the mid-to-late 70s, there was reverent silence. Then: "Now I understand. Thank you for explaining." :D
My story started with Pong like Wolfgrimdark's. I think we got it for Christmas, but I don't remmber when. Sometime later, we got a used Atari 2600 with many games, and *then* I was hooked: I couldn't stop playing Moon Patrol. I zeroed the score more than once. When I had trouble with remaining focused while doing homework, I put in a round of Moon Patrol, and afterwards everything went better.
Then my cousin from the States brought pen&paper RPGs … D&D and AD&D. At first I was sceptical (after some horrible gaming experience with TDE and my brother as a GNM), but my cousin was a good GM, and I got hooked to RPGing. During that time, I forgot all about video games: while playing Hillsfar on my friend's Amiga was kinda fun, it was *not* like the P&P experience, so I abandoned video gaming for p&p-ing.
Then something happened: my then boyfriend (now hubby) presented his new computer to his friends - including that new game called Wolfenstein 3D. I wanted to try. I tried and bumped into walls. Bumping into fake 3D walls was pretty much the only thing I did in W3D (which is why my friends called me 'Compass' back then), but the experience was so … enthralling, so captivating, so exciting that I dreamt of it. I returned day after day to play that game on my boyfriend's PC. And then, one day, he told me he had a new game: Doom.
I saw it, played it for a few minutes, left, went to town and bought my first real PC , and Doom.
And this changed everything. I also bought a Game Boy, a SNES, later a PSOne, then an XBox … and I told hubby to upgrade my comp regularly. While we still played P&P games a lot (we had switched to SF settings at an early phase of our gaming spell), we also played video games of all sorts. I was enamored with 3D shooters and pplayed bush league tournaments, hubby loved strategy games, and from time to time he gave me a game he didn't enjoy but thought I might enjoy: the first of those was Lands of Lore, the second one System Shock. LoL was a no-brainer: a fast, fun game that reminded me of our AD&D sessions. System Shock, on the other hand … when I had gotten over the controls, I disovered its depths … and from that moment on, I seached actively for action games with RPGing elements. Another of those 'hubby-games' was Thief, yet another one PS:T. Many more cRPGs of all sub-genres followed, and I still play them whenever they come out.
I still play shooters cfrom time to time, but modern shooters often are too … overdeveloped for my taste. Too much graphics, not enough content. Then I'd rather play Minecraft instead - more thrill.
I like my cRPGs action-y, in 3D and with a dark vibe. My favorite game of all times is not a cRPG, it's Realms of the Haunting.
Well, I never wanted to play MMORPGs. I caved in when SWTOR became F2P: "Just trying", I said. Then I got hooked.
Hello,a bit younger player here.I am still in my 20s.
I started my gaming in my early childhood with sega masters system 2 and games like Sonic series,Alex kid in Miracle world and Wonder boy 3:The dragon's trap,that was only console I ever owned.
My PC gaming started in mid 90's with Discworld game(I was and still am big fan of discworld novels).Than came 2 games that changed my perception of "video games" and made me PC gamer.Firs was Myst,that is first time I saw games as not just fun for children but as viable alternative to movies and books.Second was Tiberian sun,as I said I came to PC from SMS II and it was my first strategy game so at that time to me it looked like uber complex deity at that time,that game pushed to other strategies and eventually RPGs.I sent rest of 90s playing strategies from which I would highlight Myth,X-com,Civilization and C&C series and point and click adventures from which I would highlight Myst and Monkey island series,The longest journey and Grim fandango.
I wasn't really RPG player but than in 2001, 2 years after it came out, I bought Planescape: Torment.At that time I was unfamiliar with RPG genre so I perceived PS:T as adventure/RTS hybrid.It left so strong impression that few days after I finished it I decided to get RPGs I missed so in next year or more I played Baldur's gate,Ultima 7,Fallout 1 and 2 and that is how I became RPG player.
Since than to now I played most of RPGs and strategies that came out from which I would highlight Europa universalis 3 and it's offspring,Galactic civilizations 2,Heroes 3,Gothic series,Divinity,Withcer,Knights of old republic 1 and 2,Titan quest,Neverwinter nights 2 and King's bounty.
I was born in '71 so was a good impressionable age for when everything came out. I had a Pong but don't remember playing it much. I had a 2600 which was decent but had an uncle that got every gaming system that came out so I loved going over to his place and plopping myself in front of his current gaming system. My aunt worked for IBM so in time I got an IBM PC jr and that was when the real games came along. Wizardry 1 (I can still type tiltowait in 0.2 secs but probably cannot navigate the invisible level anymore), Zork (which I didn't like much), Ultima 3 (for some reason this is the first one I got into) and tons of other early stuff. I had all the SSI games which still make me smile. Doom 1 was the first game to ever make me jump. I can still remember that moment thinking "That was awesome!". The Bards Tales, I can go on and on as I was a nerd for sure. Then there was D&D, Gamma World (I loved GW), Boot Hill and lots of M:TG and Rifts in college.
I was lucky to have a very good circle of friends that were just as or even nerdier than me so we had every game that came out available. there was no copy protection in those days and boy did we copy!
I'm one of "those" people that think Planescape: Torment was not a great game (there, I said it). I had a very hard time finishing it and prefered the other Infinity Engine games for sure.
Duke Nuken 3D in college at 3 am after coming back from the bars playing against a friend in town was always good. I think I played that game more a bit drunk than sober. Friends gathered around the computer waiting to take their turn. Good times.
Then there was my favorite game from the 90s: Mechwarrior 3: Mercenaries! OMG, that was an awesome game!
I didn't get into Everquest when it came out (I tried it) but for some reason Asherons Call hooked me good. I didn't get hooked on another mmorpg till WoW which was really good when it first came out. Actually it was WoW that broke me from gaming. After quitting it i didn't play anything at all for a few years as I was totally burnt out.
Now I'm older and have far less time to game and am super picky now also so I don't play much but still have a soft spot for rpgs which were always my favorites.
Currently slowly playing DE:HV on my XBox.
I fit in with the Pong crowd. That was my first experience with video games and after that I became an arcade junkie, which was easy because my mom ran an arcarde :) Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Robotron, etc. In between Pong and the arcades our school had a mainframe computer and we loaded a program called Collossal Caves and later Rogue. I spent all study hall periods in the computer lab. At home I got a Commodore Vic20, but replaced it quickly with the new C64. This rocketed my interest in all things computer. I remember playing Dino Eggs, Miner 2049er, Jumpman. I had also bought the Atari 2600 and later the 5200. The Atari 5200 was the Amiga of the console world. It was lightyears ahead of the competition but wasn't marketed well. The other problem was that the controller was a very strange beast to get used to. The C64 introduced me to several crpgs. Phantasie, Ultima IV, (which made me find and download all the other Ultimas), Might and Magic, and Magic Candle. It was around this time that I stopped playing most other types of games and became a crpg-nut. I'd play the occasional Doom or Wolfenstein, but crpgs became the mainstay. I've also read thousands and thousands of fantasy novels so I guess escapism is a way of life for me.
For me, it started with trying out my older brother's games: titles such as Frogger and Loderunner that he had made disk copies of from his friends. As for cRPGs, that really didn't start until much later with perhaps Stonekeep.
My earliest exposure to videogames was when my father brought home some Pong/"Tennis" variant videogame. Still don't know why he got it, it was very unlike him, and it wasn't even a birthday or christmas… It was a black box with two controllers with red slidable buttons that controlled the "racket" on screen. I played it for a while, sometimes with my brothers, but it was more a novelty and soon forgotten after a while. I remember being facinated by the little LCD handheld games that were popular on the schoolyard, but my parents would never get me one, and I had too little pocket money to afford one in additon to the sweets and comics, and star wars stickers I HAD to buy. Neither could I ever convince them to buy me a console, although I spent hours studying the Atari games in the "Quelle" mail order catalog.
So my real entry into gaming came with P&P. I got a DSA (das schwarze Auge) set when I was 12/13 or so, a friend got D&D around the same time, and soon we and a circle of friends were hooked. We played, DSA and D&D (which I never liked), Rolemaster, MERPG, GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire and many others. We played until we finished school, afterwards I never found a group again. Man I still miss those times, occasionally.
My parents were very resistant to getting me a computer, so the age of the c64 passed me by, except for occaional sessions at friends homes. Occasionally I could drop a quarter in an arcade machine during holidays. Only when I was about 16, I could convince my parents to a deal to get an Amiga 500, I had to pay half of it myself. I had seen it in shop windows, and the graphics just blew me away. I learned progamming in BASIC on it, and there was definitely a time when a carreer as a programmer was in the cards, but eventually other interests prevailed. And of course, a friend got an Amiga too, he gave me some floppys with games, and the inevitable happened, we became Pirates. I never bought a single Amiga game I'm afraid. My first game on the Amiga was Marble Madness. I don't think I played many games intensively on it, but I tried hundreds. Among them was Bard's Tale, my first CRPG. While I had fun with it, I also thought it was really weird to play a whole party as a single player, and of course it was too hard, I never finished it. The fairy tale adventure was another game of that era that left an impression.
As an Amiga owner I used to look down at the PC as boring office machines, with their ridiculous 8 bit graphics and beep - bop sounds… Until, already at University, I sat down at a roommates computer who showed me Ultima Underworld (II). I was blown away. 3D? I can walk around in first person perspective, like I'm IN that world? I can THROW things around? It was incredible. I loved that game, and still love it today. Half a year later I got my first gaming capable PC. Daggerfall was the first game I bought myself and I spent countless hours with it. I wasn't exclusively an RPGgamer though, I became a competitve Counterstike player, liked turn based and real time strategy games, adventures, shooter / RPG hybrids like System Shock and Deus Ex, etc. But over time, RPGs became more and more my central interst. With Morrowind, I became quite active in the modding scene, until finishing university and getting a job and a family killed that hobby.
Now I mostly play CRPGs, trying to play through the classics I missed as well as new releases. Ocassionally adding a RTS in the mix, or a casual game on the iPhone. I have too little time to play, but strangely the interest in games and chatting about them hasn't subsided, which is one reason I enjoy hanging out here ;)
Nothing special. We bought a used PC and a guy who sold it gave me two CDs: Quake and Larry 7. Quests weren't liked that much, and so I've played mostly shooters for a few years, then accidentally bought an RPG thinking that it was a shooter, liked it and switched to RPGs.
It all started in the early 70's during a visit to relatives in the tiny, unassuming town of Strawberry, Arkansas, where my Uncle Doug gave me quarters for a pinball machine at the local diner.
From then on I loved video games and would spend my allowance at a number of arcades. I so wanted a console during the 80's, but my parents refused, opting instead for a home computer. With a $50 rebate they bought me a TI 99/4A shortly before TI went bankrupt. I bought whatever games I could find: Parsec, a number of Scott Adam's adventures, and the crown jewel: Tunnels of Doom— my first CRPG. Loved ToD. The intro music made the wait bearable as the cassette recorder slowly loaded the game.
Eventually I upgraded to the Commodore 64. It was here I really got into CRPGs and the 8 bit era had some of the best: Ultima III was my first on the C64 and I never got far into it. I just couldn't handle the open-endedness I guess. But then there was the Bard's Tale (unfinished), Wasteland, and my absolute favorite for the time: The Magic Candle. SSI also brought many great RPGs to the table: Questron, Phantasie I & II, et al. I remember calling the hint lines for help in those dark days before the internet. And who could forget the excitement of the officially licensed AD&D games? That was a big deal at the time.
I detoured to consoles after that starting with the Sega Genesis then the SNES. My CRPG fix went unsated though I did enjoy Phantasy Star 2 & a couple Final Fantasies on the SNES. But the JRPGs were not the same.
So eventually I fell victim to Best Buy's 6 months same as cash nonsense and got my first PC: a Pentium 75 MHz, which was top of the line at the time. I had missed out on many great CRPGs of the 90s and tried my best to catch up. Getting Ultima 7 to run in DOS mode on a Win 95 machine was annoying but so worth it. And by that time you had to get Moslo to play any of the older games. Sadly, the flagship CRPG for Windows was Stonekeep, which I hate to this day. Since then I have played all the big titles, but I think the best era for this genre was the 90s before the advent of 3D acceleration. I just love the look of the games like U7, Realms of Arkania, etc. Probably for nostalgia I expect. And of course I still loved Fallout 1 & 2 (won't play #3 because FO should be isometric, party-based & turn based damn it!), Infinity Engine games, and Trokia's flawed masterpieces.
So here I am gaming on a PC. Nowadays my gaming time is spent with WoW, to which I returned after the heartbreak of Diablo 3. But I so eagerly await the new kickstarters: Chaos Chronicles, Wasteland 2, & Project Eternity.
Yet another Pong origin. Got a Magnavox Odyssey2 shortly thereafter and got the gaming bug. My parents felt a little better about the whole thing when I latched onto the assembler programming cartridge a couple years into it—then it was educational. ;)
Played some stuff on a friend's Apple][ (I kinda remember Lemonade Stand, Broadsides and one of the Ultimas) for a while and overall shifted focus to p-n-p AD&D. Got my first geek machine in high school (Zenith 8088, IIRC) and mostly messed with Sierra adventures. Did manage to get into some strategy gaming playing some SSI games (Diplomacy and Gettysburg come to mind) supplied by a girlfriend's father. First serious addiction was Empire. Got exposed to lots of different games in college, but generally preferred strategy games.
Got a subscription to Computer Gaming World magazine after college. Used that as a guide to good games for several years. Led to Civilization and endless hours ensued. I still associate the song "In Everything You Do" by the Mighty Lemon Drops with sitting there on a Saturday morning playing Civ1 as the Russians, for reasons that I don't understand. Became a Microprose addict. To this day, that's the only time I've purchased a game based solely on the publisher (X-Com1, yeah that worked out well for me).
Based on a glowing CGW review, I bought MM6 and played the crap out of it. All the AD&D roleplaying came rushing back and I had a major shift in gaming taste. Conveniently, this roughly coincided with a shift from game makers where strategy games waned (RIP Microprose) and RPGs came to the fore. Picked up a few of the older RPGs I'd missed, but there was enough new stuff coming out that I didn't have much time for backtracking.
Became a hardcore Wiz8 junkie. Joined a forum that had a large presence of the Wiz8 team (Vault Network?). When that forum was bought out (IGN?), I had some sort of trouble setting up a new account so I punted and discovered RPGDot.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Good thread, Mad!
Played Pong at the newly open Mall in my town and discovered the arcade there was an awesome place to visit after school. Or, skipping school to play the new Wizard of Wor game, my first Multiplayer experience. Got an Atari sometime after and loved playing that simple title Adventure. Graduated to a Colecovision and then a Commodore 64 and bulletin boards. I joined a Commodore computer club and next had a Sega Genesis. Got divorced and went back to school along with first windows PC(with a whole 1 GHZ of hard drive space) Lots of beach and motorcycle time wrapped up in all this.
I started tracking new games on Gone Gold but started going to RPGDot for reviews. Before that I think I just use to see a game at the store and buy it. My wallet thanks you.
Great topic :)
I do vaguely remember playing the early Pong game and a few others - but I don't remember who had such a system. I can't have been more than 4-5 years old.
I got into gaming because of my big brother. He was around 12 when he got his first computer (ZX-81) and a real sucker for the geeky stuff, and I was actually quite the opposite as a little kid. I was very active and always outside making trouble.
Anyway, I looked up to my brother very much and he was my idol. So, naturally, I was interested in everything he did - even if I had no idea what a computer was.
I clearly remember him coming home one day with a little black boxy thingy - and I was around 6 years old. I had no idea what it was - and since it didn't make loud noises or resemble any kind of toy I knew about, I just shrugged it off.
Then, one day, I remember him getting a couple of games for his birthday. They were basically cassette tapes - and I was shocked at how terribly boring his present was. I used to play with his toys all the time - and his birthday was almost like my own birthday, because before that time, he used to get some really cool stuff like giant robots or whatever.
So, I was very disappointed :(
Hehe, but then he showed me the games - and I guess one of them must have been the horse racing game which is really the first game I can remember playing. It was extremely primitive and had 5-6 letters (A-F) lined up vertically on the left side of the screen - and you would place a bet, and they'd move slowly to the right of the screen at what must have been a random pace. If your horse got to the far right side first, you won - if not, you lost ;)
That's the first game I can remember playing and enjoying.
But it did take quite a while before I really got into it. As I said, I was not a geeky kid - and I preferred the outside and playing with friends.
I did play games, but they didn't quite get a hold of me until later.
The big change came around the age of 10-12. I had some friends who were basically no good and I was stupid enough to go along with their ideas. We kept getting into trouble. We would steal things or wreck things, like throwing rocks through house windows or pulling side-view mirrors off cars and stuff like that.
At one time, I had three incidents within a week or so. I jumped over a brand new car playing some game and scratched it. The owner caught me and demanded my parents paid for the damages. I also skipped school for the better part of a month, and my parents received a letter about it. Finally, I was caught by a neighbor stealing a case of beer…. If you can believe it :)
Ok, not good - and I remember how my mother reacted. She was very upset - and I just made a decision right there and then. I would never get into trouble again.
So, from that day on - I wouldn't play with those friends, and I became much more of an indoor person. Pretty much overnight.
So that naturally meant playing computer games a lot more, and I got my own computer pretty soon. A Spectrum 48K. Then I got a Commodore 64 - and finally the Amiga.
The Amiga was a true revolution and I was old enough to get into all the serious games, and I loved roleplaying games like Bard's Tale, Pool of Radiance and Fairy Tale.
I was a die-hard Amiga fan for 6-7 years and I would badmouth PC games at every opportunity. However, eventually, the system just got way behind because Commodore made too many mistakes. Games like Wolfenstein and Wing Commander with speech were extremely impressive on PC.
I still tried fighting the "good fight" - but the games that finally convinced me that I had to get a PC were Alone in the Dark and Ultima Underworld.
So, in 1993 - I got my first PC. It was a powerhouse… A DX2-66 and I got my hands on games like X-Com and Lands of Lore.
The rest is history ;)
I've read everyone's posts to this point. It's amazing how many of your memories have triggered so many long-forgotten memories that I have in my own gaming past. I'm loving every post. Keep them coming!
Great thread……..though giving away my age by saying I maybe pre-pong, (and I stress MAYBE) is not relevant to when I found gaming.
In the 90's I had to quit working due to illness and was going insane just sitting at home. I started trolling the web and came across a "Krondor" demo or article, who knows, but it got my attention because of the printed dialogue in the game. I figured that would be a good one to get to share with my then young children. Help them improve reading skills and all that.
That was all it took. The RPG aspect was what got me hooked. And playing kept me sane. NWN and Gothic came next with several others mixed in. There are a lot of the classics I missed over the years. But the craving for that "great game" was sparked by one game….the finding of RPGdot and following the greats to the Watch is part of the history.
I note Dart hasn't really changed much from his youth!! :)
Me, I began what people nowadays call "gaming" in the mid 90s.
At first, I kind of downloaded Shareware games & demos from computers of a Shareware-distributing firm, which stood in a lot of book shops in Cologne.
I was studying there at that time.
And the Shareware-distributor was called "Topware". Their computers located in book shops were a bit like network terminals, only that they were completely offline. They had a list with stored Shareware versions of games, programs and some Demos there, one could browse through that list, pay dfor a diskette, and could save what one wanted onto that diskette. The thing was completely free - apart from the diskette, of course.
This way I got my very first game Demos : one of an Blues Brothers jump & run game, one of the Disney "Beauty & The Beast" game and the Demo of the first "Micro Machines" game (which I bought roughly estimated 10 years later). I played oth on the 286 of my uncle. We played the "Micromachines" racing game together, and we hat a lot of fun with it ! :)
At one of the - then still existing - video games fairs, I bought my very first "full version" PC games : The Blues Brothers jump & run game of which I had played the Demo before, and "Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis". Perhaps I should have bought Monkey Island 1 then as well, since that - in this original package - is waaay more difficult to get nowadays.
In other book shops with PC literarture, one could also buy Shareware games. THere I once bought - at an slightly discounted price, if I remember correctzly - Duke Nukum and Commander Keen IV. Full versions, of course ! - Their distributor was named "CDV". I have the Diskettes still here, somewhere.
My very first role-playing games were :
- Lands Of Lore
- Blade Of Destiny [from what you know as the "Realms Of Arcania" series]
- and the two follow-up games of this series.
- Later, Albion was bought, too.
Some of these games were sold by a company called "Pearl" in a magazine-like format, with CDs & handbook + game solving book/hints as the "magazine". The price was considerably lower, so that i could afford them. But that was when my 486 already had an Mitsumi (I think) CD-ROM drive. ATAPI came later !
My first PC was an 486SX, which meant that the maths co-processor was not included. It was to be separately bought. Weitek was a well-respected company for their good maths co-processors, which were said to be much better than those by Intel. I never bought one.
Instead, at one point I got the 486DX mainboard from my uncle who had then bought himself an Pentium PC. I installed the mainboard myself, like so many other components in the course of time (Modems were by far the most difficult things ! Due to their configuration shit !).
Well, that's how I began with "gaming". I saw the Internet rise, and downloading an 100 KB file from the Microsoft FTP server needed *at least half an hour, if not about an hour of time. Mosaic was my very first internet browser. Before that, I was halfway familiar with Gopher. I never used the Usenet.
And because of the NLT I came to Attic, where I soon became notorious for my far-too-late discussion remarks (which granted me the nickname of "Off-Topic") : I used to download whole discussion-strings from that forum as HTML files on my diskette ! At university ! - At home, I read everything carefuilly through, wrote my reply as a text file, went back to university, logged in, and copy & pasted my remark - and the discussion had already gone sooooo much further ! - So I was always trailing behind … After the forums of Attic closed, everyone who could went into the - brand newly established ! - forums of Larian. Where we stayed.
I still play Commander Keen sometimes. It is a game so lighthearted which is totally lost nowadays - Duke Nukum & Dunke Nukem 2 was something I found brutal even them. I did not realize then that I was so much more sensitive than most people. I simply wondered why people could make so brutal games with exploding bodies of aliens ?
Last year I copied quite a lot of diskettes onto my "gaming PC" for the use within DOSBOS or Microsoft's "Virtual PC". There, I found some things again which I had totally forgotten. My biggest problem was that Blues Brothers jump & run game, because that diskette had a copy protection. I tried to make an image of it, but didn't try it out yet. And the game's box contained a pair of dark sunglasses. :cool:
For me, there are several defining moments as a gamer:
- The first game I got really hooked on was Alex the Kidd. I played it non-stop for quite some time. I still hum the main tune from time to time.
- I remember seeing my cousin playing Civilization and was blown away by the gameplay and possibilities. I ended up getting Civilization II a few years later. To this day, it is still one of my most played games.
- The first real RPG that had an impact on me was MM6. I played it with a few friends of mine and was completely captivated by the world. It was awesome. Took us several months to actually get through it. I waited for years for MM7 and it was finally released I was practically shaking with anticipation. Luckily, it not only met my expectations, it surpassed them by a wide margin.
- Baldur's Gate 2. Need I say more? I bought it on a whim, and was repaid by one of the best gaming experiences of my life.
- Gothic, probably the last game to really blow me away. It was the first game where I felt like the developers had actually succeeded in creating an actual world and not just a static one that only reacted to the presence of the player. The atmosphere was, and still is, spectacular.
There's loads more, of course, like playing Commodore 64 with friends, lots and lots of SNES later on and a whole pile of computer games over the years, but the moments above are probably the most important ones.
Edit: I need to mention HoMM1, 2 and 3. I got interested due to MM6 and ended up putting an absurd amount of hours into them.
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