We all need to start somewhere. What are some of your earliest, happy gaming memories?
Louise:I started as a PC gamer in the 80s. Instead of Barbies and toys, my parents got me a computer for my room. I think it was an x86. Back before even Windows 3.1 was released, I had my first multiplayer gaming experience. I would boot up BASIC, compile the source code for Nibbles, a snake game, and play for hours.
When my cousin came over, we’d fire up two-player mode: him on one side of the keyboard, me on the other, and we would both play on one screen, eating up numbers and growing our snakes longer and longer. I didn’t have many toys growing up, but I did have a steady supply of PC games with multiplayer mode thanks to my dad.
Jenni: I started a bit earlier.
My parents had an Intellivision when I was born. When I was able to start sitting up, and my dad was supposed to be keeping an eye on me, he’d really be playing Burgertime or Night Stalker. To keep me amused, he’d give me the 2P controller to play with. Except with some single player games, the 2P controller would control the 1P movements. So that didn’t last long. That’s really more of a memory that I was told.
I remember playing Shark Shark, Beauty and the Beast, Burgertime and Night Stalker on the same Intellivision, years later when I was in kindergarten. My parents had their business in front half of the house, so they figured the Intellivision would be a quiet activity for me. I’d sit in back, happily playing after school until they were done with work. I ended up getting so good at Shark Shark and Night Stalker that by the time I was in second grade, neither of them could beat me.
Spencer:I have a pretty cliche story of playing Super Mario Brothers on a toaster Nintendo, but since the NES wasn’t mine I didn’t really get into video games until I got a Game Boy. After that I took a step backwards and got a Famicom as a birthday gift. When I was younger I probably played more games at other people’s houses that’s how I was exposed to the Master System and Phantasy Star and the Turbo Grafx-16 and Bonk. Boring right? I wish I had a more interesting story to tell now!
OK… here’s a funny one! Growing up I lived in the US and overseas. I would come back and visit the US often though. Before the Super Nintendo was announced the Super Famicom just came out in Japan. I played a lot of Super Mario World and Final Fight right before a trip to the states. Being amazed by the technology I told all the kids I knew that Nintendo made a more powerful Nintendo and I played it. Everyone thought I was lying about the system and were especially incredious when I told them the next Mario game had a dinosaur you ride on.
Ishaan:When I was a kid, I used to play at arcades a fair bit. Contra was one of the first games I recall playing, both on an arcade system and on a SNES at a friend’s place. Unfortunately, I never owned a Nintendo or SEGA system myself, so it wasn’t until my family bought a PC in the 90s that I got my first real personal gaming experience.
I believe the game was ATFII (Advanced Tactical Fighter). It looked like crap, and for some reason, Sound Blaster cards were a real pain in the neck back in those days, so the sound almost never worked properly. But it was a very fast-moving, very fun arcadey flight combat game, and I would spend literally entire days trying to beat just the first level. The other game I was obsessed with — and this might have been the first game I ever played on any system — was the original Wolfenstein 3D. I spent a good year of my level creating levels for the game and gunning down nazis every spare minute I had.