A Personal Gaming History

by Nicholas Tristan, Editor-in-Chief

memmmmmemories light the corners of my mind...

memmmmmemories light the corners of my mind...

Editing a website on video games is something I thought I’d never do, really. My biggest gaming years were in the 1990s, my childhood, and I’ve only nominally stuck my head into the gaming world since then. But hey, retro is in, so let’s go with that! And what else is in? Personal histories, baby. Get ready for the story of Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Tristan’s entry into the world of gaming.

Since I was born in 1989, there was always a computer in our home. My dad had worked in IT before, so there was a tendency for gadgets to pop up through my childhood -- I remember my dad owning multiple palm pliots, for instance.

The first computer in our home in my childhood was an old IBM compatible machine running DOS. Its display was bright orange text that still sends nostalgic shivers down my spine, and I recall playing with the dot matrix printer as much as I did any games on the system. There was one game I remember where two apes threw explosive bananas at each other, you had to pick your angle and level of force to try to hit the other ape -- kind of like Base Defender or even a precedent to something like Angry Birds. I wasn’t very good at it, but I was also three years old, so...there you go.

My sister and me playing with the IBM, circa 1991. She is almost certainly  killing  the ape game right now.

My sister and me playing with the IBM, circa 1991. She is almost certainly killing the ape game right now.

As the 90s wore on, we upgraded to Windows 2.1, probably so my dad could have more powerful word processor or something. Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure why people had home computers in those days. Advanced spreadsheet technology? It didn't interest me much. A few years after this, though, we got a PC that ran Windows 95, the hottest OS to hit the market in years. No more booting into DOS to play games, you could run some straight from the graphical display! What an innovation! Also: the internet wasn't far behind, and that probably shaped me and warped me as a person more than any one single thing in the world. 

It’s here, around 1996, that my love of computer gaming started in earnest. Being a serious, oddball, esoteric kid I instantly gravitated towards strategy and simulation games over any arcade action. Games like Age of Empires, Civilization 2, Sim City 2000, Populous, StarCraft, Balance of Power, and Theme Hospital occupied hours of my time, instilling the love for dense games I have to this day. It wasn’t all games in this genre -- I got quite hooked on arena shooters too, logging countless hours on classics like Unreal Tournament and Quake 2 and even throwing my hat into the ring for online play when we got a "high-speed" DSL hookup around the year 2000. And there were adventure games as well; Grim FandangoRiven, and Another World: games that felt just enough like movies to absolutely wow me. I remember reading gaming magazines, playing demos, searching for Shareware titles...it was a good time. Shareware especially was great -- I could play small chunks of Doom, or be wowed by the graphics of Defender of the Crown without playing too much of the busted and unfinished game, and I still remember being absolutely blown away by the intro cutscene to Psygnosis' Shadow of the Beast II. Shame the game wasn't good, but what an intro, and hey: it was only Shareware. The 90s were, in my eyes, the golden age of PC gaming, and that’s probably very strongly tinted by my own nostalgia.

We didn’t get a console for a long time, it was when I was in middle school that I was able to save up some money to buy a Nintendo 64, by that time quite an old console. But it had a fantastic library of games, stuff like MarioKart 64, Perfect Darkness, Mario Party 3 (shut up it’s super good), the original Super Smash Brothers, and Gauntlet 64 being games that I fondly remember wasting hours on. From here came a GameCube a few years later, and then an old battered up PlayStation 2 so I could, uh, play Dance Dance Revolution. Listen, Dance Dance Revolution is a great series of games. I apologize for nothing.

PC gaming lost its lustre for me sometime during high school. I had other interests, more extracurriculars at school, was writing more seriously, and I was playing console games with my friends too...PC gaming sort of fell by the wayside. I pretty much stopped buying games, and the arms of race of exponentially stronger gaming PCs meant that usually the computer I had couldn’t play much of anything new at all. This continued until only a few years ago, probably 2013, when Steam sales, the indie gaming boom, and some prodding from my much more talented gaming sister lured me back in. I was wowed by games like Braid, FtL: Faster than Light, Hotline Miami, and other such games that were colorful, dramatic, intriguing, and not just like the dull mess of browns that many AAA games had become through the 2000s. From here, I moved onto games like Christine Love's erotic lesbian adventure Ladykiller In A Bind, the serene but challenging farm sim Stardew Valley, the overwhelmingly complex grand strategy world of Crusader Kings 2, the heir to Sim City's throne Cities: Skylines, and assorted other games that would have seemed out of the realm of possibility even ten years previously. And wouldn't you know it, AAA games followed -- I delved back into Bioware's clunky but immersive space action RPG series Mass Effect, the Ayn Rand nightmare dystopia that is BioShock, and then cruise around in the biggest game of all time: Grand Theft Auto 5

So I’m back in gaming! I’ve now turned back to consoles I missed growing up, like the SNES and Genesis, and this site is kind of a way to explore a lot of people’s different gaming histories. Hopefully, GlobaX Gaming shows you that there are a lot of different perspectives, histories, and interpretations of gaming. Enjoy!