Reminiscences of a Gamer

29th October 2008

A little while ago I asked readers to submit articles and features for me to publish on the site. A regular reader, Mel, decided to write a short piece about his first memories of gaming. It was such a great piece that I decided to request other readers do the same.

We all have stories to tell regarding out gaming lives. I would love to hear yours. Please read the reminiscences and then add your own.


  1. Mel

    I have never considered myself a ” hardcore gamer” although I don’t know what a ” softcore gamer” is, not for me the frantic pace of online gaming what ever the format. I did try online gaming a few times, but they talked a different language and having got killed by some unknown, in some unknown way, with some unknown weapon I quickly went back to Tournament Golf.

    In many ways I guess I was lucky to have had the opportunity to play computer games from a early beginning and while I did not purchase my first computer until the mid 1990’s, I had since the 1960’s been involved with the use of computers in my work place which was one of design engineering, first in the aircraft and then in the motor vehicle industry. Here again I was fortunate in having employers that did not mind me utilizing computer time at lunch break or after work hours for studying, college work or enjoyment.

    A few of us would club together to buy the games, that way you finished up playing a wide variety of games across the gaming spectrum. You name them, we played them and it was interesting to see how different people slowly slotted into their preferred gaming mode be it action, puzzles, sports or as in my case single player shooters. You could say I had the classic FPS up-bringing consisting of Doom, Quake, Unreal and Half-Life and when you add in all the sequels it amounts to a fair amount of gaming time.

    I would often look forward to going to work just for the lunch time session with 3 or 4 of us playing the same game at our desktops. These lunch time sessions always generated a bit of a competition as to who would reach the next level first, it was also handy if you got stuck knowing someone in the office had progressed further, plus you could trade different hidden secrets normally for the price of a cup of tea. We really got our monies worth from these games and by the time we had played them at all the different hardness levels, we knew games like Quake 1 & 2 backwards.

    Now I sit at home and play my HL maps/mods alone, but I do have PlanetPhillip and in many ways the site and the interaction with members and games reminds me of those sessions at work many years ago.

  2. Clunkfish

    I was very late into gaming. My kids had a Nintendo with Mario etc back in the 1980s and I tried that a couple of times, but didn’t get hooked at all. It wasn’t until 2000 when I visited my son at university and watched him and a mate playing Grand Theft Auto III on a PlayStation that I realised that a) games had come a long way and b) they could be terrific fun! I upgraded my PC so that it could manage GTAIII, and for a while sought out only 3rd person shooters – Max Payne, Jedi Knight II (using the 3rd person option). JKII made me realise that it was much easier to aim in first person, and the transition to FPS fan was complete.

    I played everything I could get my hands on, then started to explore the back catalogue – Deus Ex, Doom, Quake, and then Half-Life. Although Deus Ex is still top of the pile for me, Half-Life was a real revelation. In those early days I was really useless and it would take me weeks to finish a game, so I would get fully immersed (to the extent of dreaming about games in fact). I got better at it, bought everything I could find and then about 18 months ago found myself bereft – I’d played every FPS there was to play on the PC and new releases were too far apart to feed my habit.

    So I tried online gaming and had pretty much the same experience as Mel. I would spawn, get zapped in less than 10 seconds, maybe just catch some 12 year old derisively calling me a “noob” before I was a statistic. No fun.

    That was when mods came to the rescue. I discovered Planet Phillip and modDB and realised that there was whole underworld of fantastically good stuff made available by gifted mappers for free. I have been voraciously trying all the SP mods I can find. I still buy new FPS games when they come out, but they have been gathering dust while I play the mods. I have just about exhausted all I can find now and in fact last night gave Call of Duty 4 a whirl. It’s OK, but after an hour or so I found myself quitting it and starting up HL2Ep2 again instead…..!

    So now I’m a grey gamer I guess whose played pretty much the whole lot from the earliest days of 3D shooters. Deus Ex remains for me unmatched, but the Half-Life universe is only just shaded into second place and the wealth of mods available make it a delight to revisit as often as possible.

  3. SPY_maps

    it was fun to read the first 2 comments above, from Mel and Cluncfish, both guys that are a bit older, like myself with my 44 years of age. I too have played nearly everything that has been released over the last 10+ years or so, and was worth it to be played (!!!) from the 2th and 3th p shooters. there still some new titles on my game shelf that needs to be played (Far Cry2, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Men of Valor, Sof3, Assasins Creed, Total Overdose, Rainbow6 vegas2), there simply so many good shootergames these days that its hard to find time to play them all. just have played the last months Mercenaries2, Serious Sam 2+1+addon (great fun!!!)Rainbow6 Vegas1, Painkiller1+2 (also great fun!!) Brothers in Arms Hells Highway, el Matador, Colt Fear, Scarface, I could only play this game half, it crashed a lot on my pc, and I just have started with Fallout3 this morning.
    as you can see do I really play them all, lol.

    like the guys above I also am a real SP player, when I have played 1 hour in my whole life MP shooters, then its much. I did had my very small moments with Counterstrike source, but those where very small, so, make it 2 hours in my whole life.
    my main problem with mp gaming is how it looks, (i’m a real grafic sucker, I can totaly loose myself in a beautifull looking game qua layout and everything). and when I see 20 men bunnyhup like total idiots through mp games, then I loose my interest in one single second, it looks so STUPID, (sorry mp players, this is just a personal observation). beside that I also have the other issue with it, that you get killed most of the times by someone you don’t see or hear, suddenly you are just death, to know by text message that someone prefebly nicknamed like X_**%DeathChair1000%$##_XX or whatever did kill you). ok, I know, ones you play it more often you will be able to stay longer alive. my second problem with mp gaming is that most of the players are 14 or younger (joking, but you know what I mean). and those guys have still to learn a lot in life. for instance that it is no fun at all to stand beside a spawnpoint and kill everyone who gets spawned in to the game. or simular childish behavior that spoil the fun for others bigtime, (in your podcast17 of this week it was sais so nicely by your main gues, forgot his name. but he namend that kind of yought”those who hate live in generel” , hahaha.
    but serieusly, all this, and the fact that I like to play alone in a map (hate therefore also those games where you have to lead a group of soldiers through a sp man, specialy Cod4 I hated for this, because you had to run to be able to kill anyone, otherwise your peleton was in front of you and they did all the killing. I play SP, when I want that kind of experience then I will play mp, so why they did do this in there sp-missions in Cod4, I wouldn’t know, they allready have a great mp mode in the same game, I have heart.

    but, I am taking this subject over I just realise now, but I simply wanted to add my 2 cents to what was said above. now about my first gaming experiences, I have spent in those early years loads of money in those computer games machines that you could play outdoors. we had the atari I believe it was with Pong on it in the 80’s, but only when I bought Duke Nukem 3d I went totaly berzerk!! how I loved this game!!!!! that was also the time that I started mapping, I have made about 140 sp-maps or so with duke 3d in 2+ years. I was so adicted to this game that I mapped with it for 10 hours a day I guess. from there I sticked to that engine/editor by mapping with Napalm and Shadow warrior. and then came Mohaa (medal of honor aliied assault)/ I was simply blown away. this inseatd to duke 3d was REAL 3D!!! believe it or not, but the first time that I was able to make my first sp-map with mohaa, (what was nothing more as a small room(box) with one german officer figure in it and a light) I started to cry!!!! it was such a overwelming experience that I am now not to proud to tell this, (although I am not proud of it either, lol.


  4. Hoyy

    Well folks since I got involved with gaming I always had a passive interest into such a hobby, thanks to emergent gaming, which I don’t mean being the console ones, but what was surging in the computers during the 90’s in computer gaming, those that were known as the IBM compatible PC. My first experience, altough older now, was with Wolfeinsten, which many know around here, was one of the precurssors of the popularity of FPS games. Having getting along it in my office nights, playing alot of time, the next one was them the first Doom. Doom was a real good game, evolving from it’s predecessor Wolfeinsten, with the traditionality of a fps game that we know since today, but with many graphical evolutions that surged in a matter of 1 to 2 years back then. Having a lot to discover and, also playing alot in the office, I generally used to get along with Doom because there was too many to find around other than just killing the enemies, and was kind of hard to actually find an exit in those complex levels. Not only that, my interest had surged into another part of the gaming industry that was racing games. Many here know that those surge around a lot and doesn’t only involve simple commands as pressing a forward key, but too the part that requires coordination and logic to maintain the thing flowing. First time was those old Nascar games, as far as I can remember, and also the first Need For Speed EA released, being by far the one that is ultimate, thanks to all the exotic cars and the historical factor presented there, with slideshows, spec cheets, and everything else imaginable that one can imply into a game, varying from brands like the not-so-popular back then Mazda to the most exotic cars such as the Lamborghini Diablo (1990). Other that I can remember well, along with good races in this one, was Destruction Derby 1, 1996 game, very good too because it was innovative, and it was somehow a predecessor to the posterior 3D graphics games that we have such as nowadays. This one regarded cars all alike, but it counted with a very good built damaging system for the vehicles, and also included races such as Destruction derby arenas that was really fun to past time. With all of those I can surely say that I play game since I was a little piece of cr4p, because today I am with 18 but started early enough to have interest in games and can’t stop until now, also being infatued by all releases that occurs, technologically charmed by all that it has to offer, from the simple FPS that started in 1993 which was Doom1, and I do reclaim not, unhappily, to play Doom2, but there is so much going on that sometimes I can’t afford getting all the releases around, even tough I primarily use Steam and, to cite, the passage of mine from one kind of engine to another was Half-Life 1, thanks to the popularization of CS back in 2002 that needed HL1 to play, and thanks to that I got used to CS and HL, and since then I can’t stop playing FPS games.

  5. Senator33

    Probably being older than most of you…..was a gamer from my teenage years and beyond. Show me a place with a pinball machine and gimmie a roll of quarters, and you can leave me unattended for the rest of the day…..

    Onward to arcade games like Galaga and Centipede, along with my son’s Atari (anyone remember Yar’s Revenge?)

    In about 1986 a PCjr. with accessories galore, playing games as quickly as they were written. After thousands of $ in computer equipment, here I am today happily blowing SP enemies away in HL2, FC2 and Crysis. My PC FPS SP gaming virginity was surrendered to Duke Nukem, … the big boy is probably gone forever.

    MP is not for me. Like a previous poster, the bunny-hopping drove me crazy. Also wall hacks in Call of Duty.

  6. T'krau

    First off, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only middle-aged one here…

    I’ve been gaming on a computer in one form or another since the stone age – my dad’s 1st-gen Mac (a text-only game based on “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’). I bought a 1st-gen GameBoy way back in the day and played every RPG title I could get, along with a few pinball titles (like senator33, I too am a pinball addict – in college, I was an assistant mgr. for an arcade chain back when those were around and successful). Skipping ahead a bit in time – living and working near Silicon Valley brough me in contact with people who taught me how computers actually work and how to build computers, which was a revelation of sorts – I’ve since built about 30-odd gaming-oriented systems for side money, and continue to do so.

    Gaming-wise, I’ve sort of shifted my focus away from primarily RPG titles to shooters (although I still play a lot of Morrowind, thanks in part to that mod community – my Morrowind install currently contains aprox. 185 mods) – games in my collection include Half life 1 and 2 (plus Ep 1 and 2, plus mods for all), Serious Sam, the F.E.A.R. series, the Painkiller series (the title that really brough me to shooters), Far Cry 1, Bioshock and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. CoS (neither of which is a pure shooter, but I enjoyed them!), and Doom3 (obtained primarily for the mods available – the game itself was actually a big “…so?…” to me). Non-shooter favorites over the years have included Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Diablo 1 and 2, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exodus, the Thief series, the already-mentioned Morrowind, and a bunch I can’t think of right now. And, like others have mentioned, I’m Single-Player almost exclusively, mostly due to having only dial-up “net access (our neighborhood is only just now being punched out for DSL), although I have played Q4 MP a bit (a client of mine works for Oracle in Redwood City, and we used to play Q4 across their in-house LAN).

    Gaming has brought me new friends, both real-world and on-line; expanded my knowledge of computers and their functions; and even a litle extra pocket money now and then. I’m also lucky in that my wife has also been around computers a long time and, while not a gamer herself, understands the “need” for hot-rod video cards, massive power supplies, and way too much RAM (her getting my hand-me-downs could have something to do with it, I suppose).

    In general, some form of electronic gaming has been a part of me for a long time, and continues to this day. Lucky me!

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