Hello, reader! Welcome to my first gaming blog post. For the past few years, games have been my guilty pleasure and biggest past-time. Whilst this is a rather long blog post, I do hope you take the time to review it as a chance to get to know me better! You might even see a sparkle of yourself in there! (For those who really can’t be bothered, there’s a short Too Long, Didn’t Read at the bottom (: ).
How it all began…
It is only recently that I realised that I have been gaming in some form or another for a large part of my life, starting with the Sega Megadrive back in 1995 or so, playing Sonic 1 and 2, Fifa 95, and some bizarre Taz games, as well as the eternally frustrating Page Master and Flashback. Then, in 1998, I received a PlayStation for Christmas with three games: Crash Bandicoot, Croc and Porsche Challenge. This inevitably led to my loyalty to PlayStation as I collected many games throughout the years, enjoying playing them on my own and with my dad and sister. My personal favourites are: Crash Team Racing, Spyro the Dragon, Toy Story 2 and Small Soldiers, which narrowly missed the top spot for most difficult PlayStation One game (I’m looking at you, Rayman).
Of course, that all changed when Pokémon arrived on the Gameboy. Having bought the clunky, grey Gameboy Original to play multi-game cartridges we bought in Lanzarote, I was ready to receive Pokémon into my life. Having begun collecting the cards (over 300, might I add) and obsessing over the programme, I first saw Pokémon Blue in action when my cousin visited and brought his Gameboy Colour (!!) to show me. He couldn’t have been gone five minutes before we were begging our parents to buy us a copy. I received Pokémon Blue soon after, my sister bought Red, and it wasn’t long before we bought a trading cable so we could become the ultimate Pokémon Masters.
While my sister wasn’t becoming quite the gamer I was, my dad and I bonded over the PlayStation games and Gameboy. I remember coming downstairs one Saturday morning to find my dad at a crucial point in Pokémon Blue – trying to catch Articuno. He had saved strategically before entering into battle with Articuno and had already made half a dozen failed attempts to catch it. Seeing my dad determined to help me catch all the special/ legendary Pokémon contributed to my completionism style of playing, i.e. every side mission, achievement, different endings etc. which is getting more and more difficult to achieve in modern games. Though I do remember the absolute frustration in trying to collect all the boxes in Crash Bandicoot 2 onwards, and then the stats telling you at the end you had (somehow?!) missed a box.
I stuck with the PlayStation for many years – it is still in perfect working order – and upgraded to a Gameboy Colour and Pokémon Yellow, Gold and Silver (like I said, completionism). After that, it all gets a bit vague. I become a teenager, obsessed with metal music, lots of eyeliner and Vampire Freaks (the Goth Myspace, basically). This then turned into Myspace, Bebo, Facebook and Twitter, and finally online blogging. All the while I stayed somewhat on the outskirts of gaming. I played friends N64’s and Xbox 360’s and even bought a Nintendo Wii. The Wii was a bit of a gaming revival for me as I found the physical aspect of it very therapeutic. My dad and I played hours upon hours of Wii Sports and Tiger Woods PGA Golf, then progressing to the Wii Fit where I did actually get quite fit, plus it was a fun social game. My dad even purchased the new Crash and Sonic games, though they weren’t as good as the originals (cliché, I know).
The two games that really stuck with me from the Wii was the Wii version of Super Mario (AMAZING) and the Star Wars: Force Unleashed games, which I know weren’t a hit with everyone. However, my dad and I spent way too many (hilarious) hours playing Mario and taking turns with Star Wars. As pretty die hard Star Wars fans, we thoroughly enjoyed both games, despite the controls being less than friendly at times and the graphics leaving a lot to the imagination. But it was one of the first games where the content and the experience mattered more to me than great graphics or frame rates, which I feel is sometimes lost in the next generation world of gaming.
Fast forward a few years and I arrived in the PC Gaming era. By this point I had completely given up getting to grips with an Xbox 360 controller (20 year old me was just like “What?!”) and I had left home, ready to start life anew. My ex had been a keen World of Warcraft player, my first introduction to online and PC gaming. I enjoyed the experience, less so the complete silence from my ex, but it was a new area of gaming that I began to enjoy. At this point, I hadn’t played many Role Playing Games expect Pokémon – they had been mostly platform games. But that all changed in 2011.
The first RPG I played – and completed – was The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Nothing could have prepared me for the world I was about to enter. My two friends were awaiting the arrival of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and I didn’t understand the hype. Elves? Nords? Swords and magic? “That’s a rip-off of ‘Lord of the Rings’!” I once foolishly exclaimed. However, I am a big Tolkien/ fantasy fan, and dragons are pretty cool, so they set me a challenge: complete Oblivion by the time Skyrim hit the shelves and see if I felt any differently, or I wasn’t allowed to play Skyrim. Within three months, I had completed the main game of Oblivion – admittedly, using the game guide here and there – and braced myself for Skyrim.
After that, my gaming life snowballed. RPG’s quickly become my favourite genre, I bought a PS3 and upgraded my PC. I tried playing First Person Shooter’s such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 but my gaming reflexes weren’t quick enough for it; I enjoyed the online multiplayer nonetheless. Bethesda’s Fallout 3 quickly became another favourite, followed by Civilisation V by Sid Meier, Lionhead Studios Fable 3, Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic and of course EA’s The Sims 3. But the biggest moment of my gaming life was when I discovered Bioware’s Mass Effect series. It is joint first my favourite game series of all time, with an expansive, captivating plot, loveable – and hateable – characters, each with their own unique and detailed history, beautiful worlds and challenging enemies. Also, Garrus <3.
Skip forward to 2015 and I’m in the PS4 era, where I met my next gaming love: The Witcher. Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels about the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, CD Projekt Red’s Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt absolutely blew me away with its incredible design, well-developed storyline and hilarious random side quests – not to mention the amazing in-game card game, Gwent. I’m also around 85% of the way through Fallout 4, so that’s another 130-odd hours I’ve spent tackling the wastelands.
So there you have it! And for those who tl;dr: I am a huge RPG fan, grew up with the PS1 and Pokémon, absolutely love TES IV: Oblivion and the Masss Effect series (Again, Garrus ❤) and my current vices are The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4, both of which I shall review shortly.
Thanks for reading!