I have just finished recording a podcast about esports and gaming, and whilst going wildly off-topic, my guest and I (Andy Payne, Chair of British esports) started chatting about games that I used to play as a kid. Games that shaped certain parts of my life and ones that bring memories flooding back. It felt so good to talk about these seminal moments with Andy, and it got me thinking about getting some of it out of my head.
I will pick just three, and in chronological order, to reminisce about today, and try not to get that emotional thinking back to such simpler and happier days.
Tetris on the Gameboy
Let's be honest, if you can remember the original Gameboy, you know what a gamechanger it was for the entire world. It was a wildly successful device but it was Tetris that made it so successful.
I believe the Gameboy was a Christmas present, and my mother will tell you it’s the best one I ever got. Not only did it keep me entertained in the car and whilst visiting dull older family members, but it helped me actually learn also.
Now, what I learned may not be considered that useful but for example, there was a basketball game called NBA All-Star challenge which I loved. I remember playing it on holiday in France, and I also remember all of the players that were featured in it. I published a piece on my sports blog just recently on Larry Bird, and I remember playing with him in that game and learning all the names of the NBA teams. It was something that really has stayed with me and weirdly has helped me in my later life working in sport.
Just having that random knowledge of early 90s NBA makes me look more learned than I really am in conversation.
As for Tetris itself, it was maddeningly simple and very addictive! Also, I believe it really helped adults get into video games in a way they never had before. I remember my parents sneaking a game here and there when I wasn’t looking as well.
The soundtrack was also iconic. Once you hear it, it will take you right back!
Streetfighter 2 on the Super Nintendo
This was probably the game I remember the most, and at the time it was an absolute blockbuster. I remember entire magazines like CVG being dedicated to it on release. The thing with Streetfighter 2 was that it was the first real game that came from the Arcade properly to your bedroom or living room.
I used to play the game on the pier when I went to the seaside, and it was such a treat to get a pound coin and control Ryu, Guile or Blanca, then one day, it was available AT HOME.
I can recall the music, learning the combinations, and having my friends over to play for hours against each other before taking it in turns to try and complete the game in single-player mode.
Who could forget the unbelievable excitement of getting to the ‘Boss levels’ and facing off against Sagat and M Bison… and the crushing disappointment of the movie version of the game!
It really was a something else, and a game that totally dominated my early teens and made the Super Nintendo the success it was.
Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64
Arise the King of the multiplayer game, the first of its name and the first of its kind. It was a brilliant one player first-person shooter and an even better multiplayer experience. 4 friends huddled around a screen, in our formative drinking years, likely not revising when we should have been!
In fact, I remember driving to McDonald's, picking up something unhealthy and then heading back to friends to play Golden Eye when we were supposed to be in the school library! The split-screen game really was amazing though.
The graphics at the time were also very good, and the little details made it an immersive experience.
I loved it when we all knew the maps and there was a race to the ammo, the body armour or the fabled Golden Gun! I carried on playing this at University and according to people in the know, it still stands up as a game to this very day.
I will be buying an N64 and putting that to the test, assuming I can get one which will fit into an HDMI port, not sure our TVs have scart connections anymore?
Whilst writing this I have had the games on YouTube in the background. The music, the graphics and the sound effects transport me right back to the 90s and early 2000s. Its good to reminisce sometimes and remember things as they were when we were young.