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Posted by BlazeHedgehog

There was a post on NeoGAF recently about "that game" from your childhood. We all had "that game", the one that basically turned gaming from a casual hobby in to something we dedicated a significant portion of our free time to. The response I wrote on there was actually fairly long and involved, so I figured I'd transfer it over to here because it'd probably make a good blog. If you've known me long enough, I've probably told this story before, but every couple years I find myself retelling it for one reason or another...

Blue with attitude

For me, "that game" was the original Sonic the Hedgehog, to a certain extent. It was Christmas 1991, and my brother got a Model 1 Sega Genesis. I wasn't really well educated on gaming at that point in time - I grew up in my toddler years with the family having an Atari 2600, then in '89 we upgraded to a NES with Super Mario Bros. I enjoyed games, but they were an ancillary part of my life. Though at this point I've most likely played a Sega Genesis in store demo kiosks, I never put 2 and 2 together - I thought what my brother got was just a piece of stereo equipment that I wasn't allowed to touch. New Years Eve rolls around and we have some relatives in from out of town. They're watching Citizen Kane, and since I'm 8 years old at this point, I'm told that I probably won't like the movie. Since I'll only be a distraction I'm sent to my room to play. For a kid with a short attention span at 7 in the evening, that of course doesn't last long. To keep me out of their hair, I'm sent to the forbidden zone: my brother's room. My brother is a distant 14 years older than I am. In some regards, he's almost old enough to be my dad. At this point in time, he is a working adult of 22 years old. Being an adult, he largely kept to himself, and his tiny bedroom was a collection of very kid-unfriendly stuff: No toys, only a bed, a dresser, his own TV and a shelf full of pets he kept - snakes, tarantulas and other critters of that nature. You can imagine why was never allowed in there (or perhaps simply never had the guts to go in there). This, however, is a special exception, and I was sat down in front of his TV and handed a black game controller with three buttons. Sonic the Hedgehog begins to play.

To an 8 year old in 1991 who still doesn't even own Super Mario Bros. 3, Sonic the Hedgehog is just about the most amazing thing ever. Fast, unique, and absolutely gorgeous. Even though I struggle to make it past Marble Zone, I am absolutely enamored with the game, and after the movie is over and the night winds down, I can't stop talking about it to my family. I never play my brother's copy of Sonic ever again. Not only because I never go in to his room, but because within the next few months or so, my brother moves out, and with him goes the Sega Genesis. Despite this, I'm hooked. I need to play more Sonic the Hedgehog. Every opportunity I get, I sit on store demo kiosks playing Sonic. I ask for a Sega Genesis for my birthday in '92 and am rebuffed. I ask again for Christmas, and come December 25th I tear the wrapping paper off a large box to reveal... a Super Nintendo. Not even a month prior, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has landed on store shelves, and "hedgehog madness" has been rekindled in my heart... yet here I am, holding the competition. I try to do that thing where I don't want to seem ungrateful for the $200 gift I've been given, but all I can think of is that I'm missing out on the new Sonic.

This became something of a trend. I've recently come to understand that the entire reason I became such a fierce Sonic fanboy in those early days is because of this repeated cycle of need and denial. Ahab hunted his white whale, and I sought a blue hedgehog. My obsession was growing. It certainly didn't help that when I did finally get a chance to play a little bit of a Sonic game, it was never more than a few minutes - I never really had an opportunity to sit down and actually immerse myself in it. I made the best of my SNES. My Mom had bought it for me under the pretense of how much I liked Mario on the NES, and that was most definitely true of the SNES, as well. Super Mario World was a hell of a game, and sending away for Super Mario All-Stars finally provided me with the opportunity to experience both SMB2 and SMB3. The SNES was a great console - one of the best ever made. Even so, I was constantly trying to find Nintendo equivalents to Sonic. Aero the Acrobat, Bubsy, Rocky Rodent, Konami's Tiny Toons game, even tangential stuff like Alfred Chicken were under my purview. But, as I embraced the "Mascots With Attitude" fad, none of them even came close to replicating the Sonic experience.

Status of NBA Jam Poster: Unknown

I enjoyed my SNES for nearly two years. It was 1994 now, and a certain blue hedgehog catches my eye on the cover of Gamepro magazine. They proudly proclaim they have a full color "ProStrategy" guide for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. A third Sonic game?! That issue of Gamepro ended up being the first magazine I ever bought. I poured over the strategy guide, memorizing every inch of the game. By the time I go play Sonic 3 on store demo kiosks, I know every stage inside and out, backwards and forwards. In retrospect, it's actually kind of sad. My mother must've thought so too, because she finally took notice that this Sonic "thing" wasn't going away, and that year I was finally graced with a Sega Genesis to call my own, complete with my very own copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Of course, by now, Sonic & Knuckles is already on store shelves, and the mighty, Voltron-like power of Sonic 3 & Knuckles was within my grasp. Spring break 1995 was a glorious time for me and my best friend. Given that we both owned our own copies of Sonic 3, we'd take turns renting S&K from the local video store. When one of us took it back, the other would head out and rent it. We'd even coordinate over the phone so we knew the moment it would be in. That lasted for what felt like weeks. Not because we had difficulty in beating the game, mind you, but because we quite literally wanted to see everything. We'd beat the game in every configuration possible; Sonic with all Super Emeralds. Sonic with just Chaos Emeralds. Sonic with no emeralds at all. Would there be another secret level like "Doomsday Zone" for us to discover? What changed about the ending? What happened when you did this with other characters? We played it so much we practically made ourselves sick of it. It may have been the original Sonic the Hedgehog that began "hedgehog madness", but it was Sonic 3 & Knuckles where it really blossomed and came in to its own. There was no escaping it at that point.

Which is ironic, given that Sonic 3 & Knuckles marked the end of an era. Occasional spinoffs aside, it would be nearly five years before the next major Sonic game. The cycle of need and denial was beginning all over again. Despite purchasing a Sega Saturn (with my own money, too - the first game console I ever did that with), Sonic X-Treme got the can in 1996. Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Jam, and Sonic R were decent diversions, but nothing substantial (or terribly qualitative). By the time Sonic Adventure rolled around, I'd like to think I had matured to the point where I could start evaluating the quality of these games beyond simply "Yay It's Another Sonic" (and by 2006, I was seriously considering throwing in the towel for obvious reasons). Nowadays, though, Sonic finally seems to be struggling back to his feet - starting with Sonic Unleashed, this franchise has pulled itself up by its boot straps, giving us the legitimately wonderful Sonic Colors last year. Sonic Generations, set to release in a little over a week, looks to be the best, most polished implementation of the "cinematic"-style Sonic games originally envisioned back on the Dreamcast. Only time will tell - but rest assured, I'll be there.

Posted by jetsetwillie

coming from the UK, Spectrums and Commodores were more popular than the NES and Mega drive when i was growing up.

i had a spectrum 48k and the first game that truly 'got' me was a game called Underwurlde.

spectrum games came on cassettes and took around 10 - 15 to load and made a noise like a fax machine having a stroke. but they were very cheap budget range was £1.99 and full price games were £15-20 ish.

looking back though... what a load of crap it was,

Posted by Video_Game_King

@BlazeHedgehog said:

Ahab hunted his white whale, and I sought a blue hedgehog.

Why isn't this a movie?

Anyway, I'd say the game that most influenced me in this way was Super Smash Bros. Melee. I think we all remember how awesome it was. It was the game that made people buy a GameCube and then completely forget that they had a GameCube. After playing it for a while, I began to wonder who the hell Marth and Roy were. This eventually led me to Fire Emblem, and that led me to the greatest goddamn game ever ever ever. EVER. (Oh, and a general love for strategy RPGs.) After that, the rest is history.

Edited by BulletproofMonk

For me it was probably GTA III.

That was when I realized that video games are the real deal.

Posted by imsh_pl

I'm a fairly young gamer so you could say that for me "that game" was Airfix Dogfighter or Star Wars Battlefront.

Posted by MetalMoog

My fondest gaming memories are with the NES and games like The Legend of Zelda, Wrestlemania & Contra. My Dad and I played them tons together and finished all of them. I was only 7 years old at the time and think I like Zelda the most for how awesome of a game it was and how cool it was to be bonding with my Dad and discovering Hyrule together. I remember we phoned Nintendo Power one night secretly without my Mum knowing to ask where the raft was on the second quest. She got the phone bill at the end of the month and was asking what the hell the Nintendo Power phone call was. lol

Posted by fini_fly

It has to be a close tie between The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or Chrono Trigger.

Posted by Commisar123

Battlefield 1942, but not even online just bot matches. Man I have no idea how I did that

Posted by Soapy86
Posted by ShaggE

Wolfenstein 3D. The shareware version, at that. I couldn't even begin to imagine the hours I must have sunk into that game.

Posted by BlinkyTM

I played Super Mario Bros. on the NES and Super Mario World. I wasn't around when either one was released but I still had fun playing them. The game I played the most when I was little was definitely Sonic the Hedgehog or Toe Jam and Earl. Toe Jam and Earl was an awesome game :P

I also played Mario Kart when I got an N64 when I was 7.

Posted by TobbRobb

I played a freaking lot of the first three Spyro games, completionist style. My first game was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 though. Throw in some Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy in there and BOOM gamer kid.

Its weird how many platformers I played once upon a time... Now it's just all hack'n'slash or RPGs.

Edited by PenguinDust

Well, I was hooked from the get-go with arcade games from the late 70's, but when it comes to a significant amount of my time, then it was either Adventure or Megamania. I beat Adventure I don't know how many times and even found the Easter egg. Megamania was a Space Invaders clone from Activision that I was actually pretty good at. It was one of the few I could beat my cousins at and so I'd turn it on and just play for wave after wave after wave. Both games were for the Atari 2600 but I think Adventure came out first, so would be the more likely of the two for me. I wasn't in the habit of getting new games on release back then so which one I bought first is a mystery.

Posted by awe_stuck

Zelda Gold for NES was THAT game (for me)

For friends Super Mario 3.

Posted by AckbarTheGreat

Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World were my childhood.

Posted by amir90

well the game that got me started off was super mario on the NES, but I think zelda and mario 64 on N64 was the big games :)

Posted by NowSayPillow

@Soapy86 said:

Yeah for me it was Zelda: A Link to the Past. Before that I'd received an Atari 2600 from my parents for one of my birthdays and I loved gaming on it but it was nothing compared to the feeling I got from playing through Zelda. Despite being "grown up" and married my brothers and I still make time to sit down together to destroy Gannon at least once a year.

From the very first day I played Zelda: ALttP I knew I wanted to make games for a living. I'd hope that my 9 year old self would be proud of me so far...

Posted by benitobb

This. Along with this.

Posted by SMTDante89

Donkey Kong Country got me started, Super Mario World chained me up and wouldn't let me leave.

Posted by SpencerTucksen

Crash Bandicoot 2 was my addiction. I was addicted to everything in it, and it was inevitably the first game I've ever finished.

Edited by AhmadMetallic
@BulletproofMonk said:

For me it was probably GTA III.

GTA 2 for me 
That game taught me the meaning of addiction
Posted by ultimatepunchrod

sonic the hedgehog 2 was the first game i ever played and i will stand by every pile of shit that sega cranks out and hold my nose until its good again.

Posted by Turambar

Final Fantasy VI, easily.

Posted by jorbear

For me, it would probably be NBA Live 2002 or Final Fantasy X. I was too young to understand FFX, but I still played the shit out of it.

Posted by Dingofighter

Probably Pokemon. 
Maybe Spyro or Crash Bandicoot, but I played a whole lot of Pokemon...

Edited by Chop

That's one hell of an obsession.

I'm not afraid to admit I was a spoiled child, so I was never starved for any games like that. And honestly, until I bought my N64, there never were any games like that. I mostly just played whatever...I liked everything and didn't particularly love anything either. The first game I was obsessed with to a stupid degree was Harvest Moon 64. I don't know if I can really explain why or how that game grabbed me, but for a solid two fucking years, that was it I wanted to play. It was the first game that had me looking up stuff online, the first game that had me studying the mechanics, and the first game I put more than 100 hours into.

Until the moment I popped that cart in, games were just a passing thing to me. Something I enjoyed sure, but I would never pick them over my other, more..uhh outdoorsy hobbies. So I guess fucking Harvest fucking Moon managed to shape my life in a pretty significant way. Is that sad? It sounds sad in my head as I'm typing it out...

Edited by Lazyaza

Although I suppose technically I wasn't "way in to" games until my later childhood with the likes of Starcraft and Resident Evil, Mech Warrior, Carmageddon. God the 90s were awesome.

Posted by N7

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. It was like my coming of age or something. That game changed me.

Posted by supermonkey122


Posted by Saethir

For me it was either Sonic the Hedgehog (1+2), Pokemon yellow, or Jurassic Park for the Genesis. That game let you play as a GODDAMN Velociraptor! from that day forward, I have loved games that let you play from the "bad" guys perspective. Pokemon makes me want to collect everything in every RPG ever, damn you alternate paths, and fillable Inventory/Encumbrance! And to this day, I still love me a good platformer, side scrolling or otherwise.

Posted by Dagbiker

My what ever game it was it would have been my first, ether Tetris on dos or Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo. i dont remember what it was but i was 5.

Posted by BoG

This is a very tough question. The game I played most as a little, little kid was probably The Legend of Zelda. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My first video game love was the Mega Man series. We never actually owned any Mega Man games, though. Every weekend, we would rent a movie, and I would pick out a different Mega Man title. There were 6, so it didn't get old. I think the earliest memories I have are of playing Mega Man and Metroid with my dad.

The biggest mistake of my life came when my dad was going to let me buy a game. I spent a week intending to buy Mega Man, but that Thursday, I played Turtles in Time with my friend on his SNES. loved it, and wanted it, so I picked out Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles on the NES when my dad let me get a game. How was I supposed to know it was a completely different game?

Gaming became a hobby when my parents bought me a Game Boy Pocket. I think I played Donkey Kong Land 2 religiously at that point. Then, Pokemon came along. I didn't want Pokemon, as my peers did. I needed Pokemon. I got it for Christmas. Not much time past, and I reserved my copy of Yellow version at K-Mart. The game shipped late, and when the clerk at K-Mart told me I needed to wait another day, I bawled.

When 3D came along, I begged for a Nintendo 64. We got a Playstation. I played all of the Crash Bandicoot games, but my first 3D love was Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage. It still amazes me to this day that I actually got 100% in the game. I think it's one of three games I actually finished under the age of 12. I was also really into Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear Solid, Breath of Fire 3, and Mega Man X4.

Oh man, I miss those days...

Posted by Simplexity

Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time, I actually learnt to read English and type it because of this game.

Posted by AndrewBeardsley

gauntlet legends for n64.

Edited by GunstarRed

From the moment I played the first Mario I knew I had found my thing, but the game that changed everything was also Sonic The Hedgehog. No other game made me strive for better completion times or perfect runs of the story. I would write down my times, leave notes for my next playthrough and hum the music all the time.

I loved that game so much that before a school day trip to France I left the game on pause because it might be that perfect run I was looking for. The last thing I did before leaving my house to drive hundreds of miles on a bus and get on a ferry was pause the game and turn off the TV. The first thing I did when I returned was finish the game.

Posted by TheGreatGuero

I guess it was probably Mortal Kombat for me.

Posted by Bloodgraiv3

Metroid or Battletoads.

Posted by BeachThunder
Posted by Deeveeus

I had this kind of obsession...only it was for the Master System.

Same deal, older brothers, although I was allowed to touch! haha I used to be allowed to play, I would play on my brothers TV, sat on his bed while he slept, he was none to concerned. But one day (I was actually getting old enough to begin figuring out Wonder Boy 3: The Dragons Trap, I had gotten the piranha at this point and was loving every minute), I realized my brother had the NES hooked up. So I begin hoking up the Master System to try for taking on the Pirate Dragon yet again...but I plugged in the NES adapter and fried the damn thing...I spent YEARS trying to find one with WB3...finally came the emulators though, and damn I still love that game!

Posted by Deeveeus

@BeachThunder: hahah, I remember that game...for being STUPID hard at the time lol. My brother had his computer for university, I was about 7 and I could not figure that out past the first handful, but even then I remember that game as being so clever!

Posted by Still_I_Cry

I have no idea. Something on the NES though.

Posted by Swoxx

My most vivid memories are probably from Half Life 1

Posted by Redbullet685

Halo and Call of Duty 1.

Posted by Largo6661

For me it was panzer dragoon saga for the sega saturn, that game was hard man.

Posted by Fajita_Jim

Super Mario Bros. The Arcade game. Sooo many quarters. When the NES came out I nagged my parents to buy it just for this one game. SMB was the only game I had for a long time, and Metroid and Zelda were the next purchases in line. It was a trifecta of gaming goodness.

Posted by sanchopanza

I can't really boil it down to one game, it was all the games I had for my Mega Drive: Sonic, Dune, Beyond Oasis, Sunset Riders what awesome memories.

Also, is it wrong for me to instinctively mentally blacklist anyone who mentions a game made after like 2000 to ignore their opinions in the future? Anyone below the age of like 18 can't know 'bout no games!

Posted by TehFlan

Probably Super Mario 64. Maybe Pokemon Blue. Hard to say.

Posted by InsidiousTuna

Commander Keen 4: Secrets of the Oracle.

Posted by TheHumanDove

Perfect Dark 64. I had been playing games for longer than that (am 23), but that was the first game that made me pretty excited about the future of my hobby

Edited by Nocall

I lost "THE GAME" so many times reading the first post of this thread.

Edit: and my game was "Purple Saturn Day"