Tuesday, January 8, 2008

On the Topic of Video Games

Let's just lay it out on the table. I love to play video games. I've played them since I was about 5, starting with the mighty Atari 2600 system and graduating to a Nintendo Entertainment System when I was about 6 or 7 (courtesy of my grandparents who had bought if for themselves and felt that it sat unused too much of the time). I was hooked on Mario, Zelda, and a slew of other fun games with not so recognizable heroes. I considered myself a Nintendo person. When the Super NES came out, I saved my allowance until I could buy it. On this system I was introduced to the Final Fantasy Series, and RPG type games, with Final Fantasy II. Along with the Super Nintendo Zelda, it quickly became one of my favorite games. I played a lot growing up. Probably more than my parents should have allowed. I would rent games on the weekends and play them for hours, usually only stopping for meals and when I went to bed. When I would usually be sleeping in on a weekend, I would find I had the uncanny ability to wake up really early without an alarm because I anticipated being able to play a game in the morning. I proudly returned many rented games which I had completed within the 3 day rental period.

Final Fantasy III came out on the Super Nintendo and blew me away. It's still one of my all time favorite games and probably my favorite of the series. I played it to death, even after I beat it, just to find all of the little secrets and max out my character stats. Soon came the N64 and once again I saved my earnings and bought it myself. Top priorities were Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda, and Starfox 64. Sadly, it was announced that the Final Fantasy games were moving to the PlayStation. So what did I do? That's right. I saved and bought myself a PlayStation, almost solely so I could continue playing Final Fantasy. When I got Final Fantasy 7, I played it for about 30 hours in the first week, which was a regular school week. My mom was sort of taken aback and said to me that's nearly a full time job. When I went to college, I didn't have a TV, so I left my game systems at home. But I did take a brand new laptop which I had bought for school.

A friend of mine had introduced me to StarCraft in the last year or so of High School. I played it on our home computer quite a bit, but didn't do too much of the online gaming with it. In college, I was among a lot of fellow gamers my freshman year. I played Half-Life and we often played Counter-Strike on the dorm LAN. My RA also introduced me to Everquest which had come out earlier that year. RPG games really appealed to me, and this one seemed like the ultimate RPG, but I didn't have the time or money for it then. Half way through the year, I bought a small TV and brought my systems down to college with me. We played a lot of Final Fantasy VIII, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Party 2.

Next year, I switched schools, took my systems with me and a little game called Goldeneye 64, arguably one of the best N64 games, and the only first person shooter I've ever had any proficiency at. I got into a competition with a guy across the hall. He was really good. So good, he had mapped out where you re-spawn after a death and he could just continuously kill you. By the end of the year, I had managed to catch up to him though and was able to match him pretty evenly. I was pretty proud of that. After that year, I was going through some tough times, and while home for the Summer I finally picked up Everquest. It pretty much took over my life. I was working as a stock boy for a retail store, so I worked 12 AM to 8:30 AM. My schedule, for pretty much 3 months straight, was go to work, come home and go to bed, get up around 4 PM and play Everquest until it was time to go to work. Insane. When I got back to school, I sort of saw what a waste my summer had been and gave up the game completely, destroying the CD and game box so as not to tempt myself.

But I wasn't giving up gaming completely. Final Fantasy X and the Playstation 2 were on the horizon, and I spent hard earned money on both. Oddly enough, while long identifying myself with Nintendo, I had no inclination to get a Gamecube. As college came to a close, I actually sold off a lot of my gaming stuff to purchase an XBOX and play the Star Wars RPG, Knights of the Old Republic and a few other games. But a year or so down the road I got married, and video games took a back seat for awhile. The XBOX pretty much became a DVD player, and all the other systems got put in the closet. I had sold my PS2 and all my games to get the XBOX, so I didn't even have that when Final Fantasy XII was released. My desire to play the game was so great that I re-purchased a PS2 on eBay and got back into it. I bought a couple other games, Okami is worth mentioning, and every now and then I got a chance to play. Around December, 2006 I picked up the Sims 2 and even got my wife to play, and she didn't really play a lot of games at the time. She's still hooked. I got her the expansions this Christmas.

Around April of 2007 I decided to try out World of Warcraft. I had put off trying another online Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) ever since the Everquest fiasco that had sucked away that one Summer, but I had heard good things about WoW, one of which was that you didn't have to devote nearly as much time to it in order to enjoy it like some other MMORPGs. I was instantly hooked and am still playing it today. I could easily play it all day (and that's pretty much what I did one week when my wife was visiting family) but responsibilities and other hobbies keep me from losing myself to it like I did with Everquest. And similar to my elementary school days, I wake up early to play before I have to leave for work, though admittedly I have to use an alarm and I don't always get up. I plan to use this blog for a bit of writing on Warcraft, so look for that in the future if you're interested.

It doesn't end there though. Just recently we got a Nintendo Wii, we've already had a lot of fun with it. We played Wii Sports Bowling with practically everyone on my wife's side of the family during Christmas and had a blast. Then I got The Legend of Zelda for the Wii which I'm excited about because I haven't played a new Zelda game in so long.

So there you have it. I play video games. As far as I can remember, I always have. I like to think I keep it in moderation, but I do tend to obsess about them. When I'm not playing them, I might be thinking about them, looking stuff up about them on the Internet, or planning for when I get to play again. I have to watch out for that because then I don't get anything else done. It's my favorite form of entertainment, so be prepared to read posts about games if you read this blog.


Bude said...

While I appreciate your honesty, I do believe that your gaming was even more out of hand as a teen than you remember.....cause I remember.

Theodore Luckman said...

Hmm, I wasn't trying to downplay that it was out of hand, because I know it was, but I did sort of gloss over the last years of high school because the post was getting long. Other than that, why would you say it was more out of hand than I remember?

Kanikazi said...

I obviously failed as a parent.