Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -

I've decided it would be interesting to highlight the different stages of my interest in video games as well as the games that defined each stage. So without further ado, I shall begin.

Stage 1-The Garden of Eden (1996-2003)

This first stage is the largest and most unfocused stages throughout my gaming hobby. It represents a time before I thought of video games as a hobby and instead just played games I thought were fun.

ToeJam & Earl

ToeJam & Earl is the first game I ever played just as my first game system was a Sega Genesis, handed down to me on the outset of my move from Virginia to Ohio. I recall spending much of first and second grade playing this game. At the time, I was only vaguely aware of broader goals and I enjoyed playing it just to play the game. As such, I consider it my purest gaming experience and it still makes me sad to this day to think that it's unlikely I'll ever reach that point again for the rest of my life.

Star Fox 64

My first memories of Star Fox 64 take place in 1997. My mom would visit her friend Monica and I was always left with her son Bo who would inevitably get bored with me (I was younger than he) and leave me to play games and as such, it was the first game I ever completed. Star Fox 64 would reappear throughout this entire stage of my game life. Its most notable presence was from 2002-2003 when I obsessed over the game, earning gold medals on each planet to unlock the on-ground mode in multiplayer. To this day, the level Katina is one of my favorite video game levels of all time.

Pokemon Red/Blue

In 1999, I found myself in the same state as every other school-aged child: Pokemon obsessed. I first became hooked by the trading card game and then the TV show but my obsession did not truly peak until I discovered the video game. My fondest memories of Pokemon Red/Blue include buying a GameShark to find alleged secret Pokemon such as Pikablue, ChronaMew, and MissingNo (the only real glitch) as well as secret locations such as Air City or an island with a secret truck (the only real location glitch). I also notably managed to capture all 151 Pokemon (Mew included) in Pokemon Red/Blue, thus officially completing the game.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

I first encountered this game at Bo's house (see Star Fox 64) but was too young to really appreciate it. I rediscovered the game in fourth grade (around 2000) because my friend Sean was obsessed with it. On that occasion, we rented the game and he stayed at my house so we could play it all night. Later on, when I moved to North Carolina, I bought the game used and became obsessed. The game literally ate away the year 2001 and defines my fifth grade memories. What struck me the most about the game was that it managed to evoke a feeling of mystery and it provided a compelling landscape to explore, as no game since ToeJam & Earl has been able to do.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. Melee is the last game of Stage 1 and proved to be a wonderful sendoff to my childhood. I would play this game obsessively with my friend Joey every weekend. He would spend the night and we would have tournaments all night long. Falco was my character and I remember that as I mastered each of his techniques, my friends and I would discuss our lives. Essentially this game was like a local tavern to us, a forum and medium for communication.

Stage 2-Teenage Confusion (2003-2005)

Stage 2 of my gaming life represents the beginning of my maturing tastes. As such, my appreciation of the games became more significant but at the same time, the defining games were eclectic because I had not yet narrowed my opinions with regards to different genres. From these murky years, my later game tastes would emerge as a more succint character but I must give credit to these less definite years for providing some of my most enjoyable experiences with video games. The entirety of this Stage took place while I lived in Seattle, Washington.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (TES3) is perhaps the most significant game of Stage 2. It was certainly the game I spent the most time with and I believe that as a person, it affected me more than any of the other games. I was most attracted to the freedom afforded by the game and would spend hours and hours exploring the world. As the gameplay sunk in, I began to delve into the game's plot (or rather its world) which of course amplified the experience beyond description. Ultimately, it did what any good role-playing game should do: gave me a space to abstract myself. Essentially what I'm saying is that somewhere within the hundreds of hours I spent playing this game, I found myself.

Halo

I'll never forget the day that my mother rented Halo for me. It was the summer before I turned 14 and I had been asking to buy the game for the past two years. My need for the game had become substantially more drastic with the move to Seattle because as the home of Bungie, everyone in that city played Halo. After one school year of being ostracized, my mother had caved in and rented the game. I was instantly hooked by the ease of the controls (a rare thing for console FPS at the time), the seamless transition between on-ground and vehicular combat, and the amazing enemy AI. The day after playing Halo for the first time, my mother returned it to the rental place and I went to the mall to buy it. Halo is conceivably the defining game of my prime console generation.

Xenogears

I got Xenogears as my primary present for Christmas 2004. I had been anticipating receiving the game for months as I was a recent fan of Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht. This was the last game I played living in Seattle and the first game I played living in Ohio. I was drawn in by the game's narrative but the expansive nature of the world and the variation of traditional JRPG combat were what kept me playing. I had never played such a confident and maximal RPG and I remember that I took that attitude from the game and used them to survive yet another move with confidence.

Stage 3-Art and Arcades (2005-2008)

Stage 3 was initiated by my attendance at National Computer Camp in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the summer before high school began and I was learning how to use Multimedia Fusion to make games. I realized that, from a design standpoint, I wanted to design games that meant something but that also explored gameplay of an experimental nature or restructured more traditional gameplay so it felt fresh. With this in mind, I began to alter my playing habits and sought games that both had interesting gameplay and could be considered "art games."

Jet Grind Radio

I was introduced to Jet Grind Radio by my friend David (my first in Ohio). He loaned me the game after discovering I had a Dreamcast. I was immediately intrigued by the vibrant, urban art style and cel-shading. It felt like playing around in a modern painting. On top of this though, I found the fast-paced graffiti skate gang premise to be immensely playable and the intense challenge only boosted the game's satisfaction. This rebellious form of play clicked well with the game's narrative of overcoming oppression and as a teen about to enter high school, I could identify greatly with this game.

Rez

Rez was the game that made me believe that I could design a game. It still stands today as one of the most ingenious designs of all time, in my opinion. The idea of using a repetitive, stripped-down game mechanic in conjunction with a dynamic system of aesthetics insured that the game fulfilled a primal need to fill a void with simple tasks in its player while at the same time exciting the mind of that player with its trance audio and hallucinogenic visuals. It was extremely simple and yet infinitely complex, and I consider it the first game in which I was aware of the artistic significance of the gameplay.

Killer 7

Killer 7 is a game that I am still consistently impressed with. Structurally, I find its use of repetitive shooting and arbitrary adventure tasks to be the most ironic act of synergy in game design. Two elements are minimized and thrown together to maximum effect. The focus on aiming by Killer 7's shooting mechanics was the initial draw for me and remains, in my opinion, the most significant part of the game. The art style and nonsensical, post-modern narrative kept me intrigued throughout. This game is simply polarizing and I can often divide gamers based on their opinion of this game.

Stage 4-Indie Gaming (2008-Present)

Stage 4 is also the current stage. It began officially over Spring Break last year when I discovered that an amazing scene of indie game makers has built an establishment in cyberspace as well as an audience for their uniqe brand of lo-fi, fringe gameplay. It is in this stage that I find my drive for the future. I too hope to be an indie game developer and these are the games that have instilled that hope.

Seven Minutes

Seven Minutes was my first experience with an indie game and to this day, it is my favorite indie game. It inspired me to pursue the indie game scene and indie game design sensibilities. I was impressed because the game did everything wrong and yet had such an effect on me. It was a platformer that indulged in breaking the rules of non-frustrating challenge with its disappearing platforms, random spikes, and it requried rapidly repeatedly trial and error gameplay to beat it. Not only did the game break design rules however, it also only lasts seven minutes, has low production values, and requires post-modern thought to truly win the game. I began to realize that maybe everything I had been taught was "bad game design" might in fact be the best game design.

Psychosomnium

The appeal of Psychosomnium lies in its use of fuzzy logic as a gameplay strategy. One is placed within a dream narrative and as such must play as if they are dreaming. Only with a lo-fi indie game is this kind of design allowed.

Calamity Annie

Calamity Annie is significant because it represents the most minimal of all the indie games I've played. It throws a fairly standard game mechanic at the player and then bombards them with it for fifteen minutes or so until the player wins or dies. This game helped me learn that sometimes, that simplicity is all that it takes to make an effective, artistic video game.

The Path

I enjoy The Path because it is a truly polarizing indie title. It's essentially a game in which the player does nothing but walk. Only a player who can disconnect themselves from traditional game structure and who appreciates simply "doing" will understand this game. It is a sublime experience to wander through the terrifiying and beautiful landscape of this game and it represents a new movement of indie games that developer Tale of Tales has dubbed, "slow games." I suppose I also enjoy that it's a game I can sit back and enjoy with my girlfriend because it has broad appeal in some senses.

#1 Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -

I've decided it would be interesting to highlight the different stages of my interest in video games as well as the games that defined each stage. So without further ado, I shall begin.

Stage 1-The Garden of Eden (1996-2003)

This first stage is the largest and most unfocused stages throughout my gaming hobby. It represents a time before I thought of video games as a hobby and instead just played games I thought were fun.

ToeJam & Earl

ToeJam & Earl is the first game I ever played just as my first game system was a Sega Genesis, handed down to me on the outset of my move from Virginia to Ohio. I recall spending much of first and second grade playing this game. At the time, I was only vaguely aware of broader goals and I enjoyed playing it just to play the game. As such, I consider it my purest gaming experience and it still makes me sad to this day to think that it's unlikely I'll ever reach that point again for the rest of my life.

Star Fox 64

My first memories of Star Fox 64 take place in 1997. My mom would visit her friend Monica and I was always left with her son Bo who would inevitably get bored with me (I was younger than he) and leave me to play games and as such, it was the first game I ever completed. Star Fox 64 would reappear throughout this entire stage of my game life. Its most notable presence was from 2002-2003 when I obsessed over the game, earning gold medals on each planet to unlock the on-ground mode in multiplayer. To this day, the level Katina is one of my favorite video game levels of all time.

Pokemon Red/Blue

In 1999, I found myself in the same state as every other school-aged child: Pokemon obsessed. I first became hooked by the trading card game and then the TV show but my obsession did not truly peak until I discovered the video game. My fondest memories of Pokemon Red/Blue include buying a GameShark to find alleged secret Pokemon such as Pikablue, ChronaMew, and MissingNo (the only real glitch) as well as secret locations such as Air City or an island with a secret truck (the only real location glitch). I also notably managed to capture all 151 Pokemon (Mew included) in Pokemon Red/Blue, thus officially completing the game.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

I first encountered this game at Bo's house (see Star Fox 64) but was too young to really appreciate it. I rediscovered the game in fourth grade (around 2000) because my friend Sean was obsessed with it. On that occasion, we rented the game and he stayed at my house so we could play it all night. Later on, when I moved to North Carolina, I bought the game used and became obsessed. The game literally ate away the year 2001 and defines my fifth grade memories. What struck me the most about the game was that it managed to evoke a feeling of mystery and it provided a compelling landscape to explore, as no game since ToeJam & Earl has been able to do.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. Melee is the last game of Stage 1 and proved to be a wonderful sendoff to my childhood. I would play this game obsessively with my friend Joey every weekend. He would spend the night and we would have tournaments all night long. Falco was my character and I remember that as I mastered each of his techniques, my friends and I would discuss our lives. Essentially this game was like a local tavern to us, a forum and medium for communication.

Stage 2-Teenage Confusion (2003-2005)

Stage 2 of my gaming life represents the beginning of my maturing tastes. As such, my appreciation of the games became more significant but at the same time, the defining games were eclectic because I had not yet narrowed my opinions with regards to different genres. From these murky years, my later game tastes would emerge as a more succint character but I must give credit to these less definite years for providing some of my most enjoyable experiences with video games. The entirety of this Stage took place while I lived in Seattle, Washington.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (TES3) is perhaps the most significant game of Stage 2. It was certainly the game I spent the most time with and I believe that as a person, it affected me more than any of the other games. I was most attracted to the freedom afforded by the game and would spend hours and hours exploring the world. As the gameplay sunk in, I began to delve into the game's plot (or rather its world) which of course amplified the experience beyond description. Ultimately, it did what any good role-playing game should do: gave me a space to abstract myself. Essentially what I'm saying is that somewhere within the hundreds of hours I spent playing this game, I found myself.

Halo

I'll never forget the day that my mother rented Halo for me. It was the summer before I turned 14 and I had been asking to buy the game for the past two years. My need for the game had become substantially more drastic with the move to Seattle because as the home of Bungie, everyone in that city played Halo. After one school year of being ostracized, my mother had caved in and rented the game. I was instantly hooked by the ease of the controls (a rare thing for console FPS at the time), the seamless transition between on-ground and vehicular combat, and the amazing enemy AI. The day after playing Halo for the first time, my mother returned it to the rental place and I went to the mall to buy it. Halo is conceivably the defining game of my prime console generation.

Xenogears

I got Xenogears as my primary present for Christmas 2004. I had been anticipating receiving the game for months as I was a recent fan of Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht. This was the last game I played living in Seattle and the first game I played living in Ohio. I was drawn in by the game's narrative but the expansive nature of the world and the variation of traditional JRPG combat were what kept me playing. I had never played such a confident and maximal RPG and I remember that I took that attitude from the game and used them to survive yet another move with confidence.

Stage 3-Art and Arcades (2005-2008)

Stage 3 was initiated by my attendance at National Computer Camp in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the summer before high school began and I was learning how to use Multimedia Fusion to make games. I realized that, from a design standpoint, I wanted to design games that meant something but that also explored gameplay of an experimental nature or restructured more traditional gameplay so it felt fresh. With this in mind, I began to alter my playing habits and sought games that both had interesting gameplay and could be considered "art games."

Jet Grind Radio

I was introduced to Jet Grind Radio by my friend David (my first in Ohio). He loaned me the game after discovering I had a Dreamcast. I was immediately intrigued by the vibrant, urban art style and cel-shading. It felt like playing around in a modern painting. On top of this though, I found the fast-paced graffiti skate gang premise to be immensely playable and the intense challenge only boosted the game's satisfaction. This rebellious form of play clicked well with the game's narrative of overcoming oppression and as a teen about to enter high school, I could identify greatly with this game.

Rez

Rez was the game that made me believe that I could design a game. It still stands today as one of the most ingenious designs of all time, in my opinion. The idea of using a repetitive, stripped-down game mechanic in conjunction with a dynamic system of aesthetics insured that the game fulfilled a primal need to fill a void with simple tasks in its player while at the same time exciting the mind of that player with its trance audio and hallucinogenic visuals. It was extremely simple and yet infinitely complex, and I consider it the first game in which I was aware of the artistic significance of the gameplay.

Killer 7

Killer 7 is a game that I am still consistently impressed with. Structurally, I find its use of repetitive shooting and arbitrary adventure tasks to be the most ironic act of synergy in game design. Two elements are minimized and thrown together to maximum effect. The focus on aiming by Killer 7's shooting mechanics was the initial draw for me and remains, in my opinion, the most significant part of the game. The art style and nonsensical, post-modern narrative kept me intrigued throughout. This game is simply polarizing and I can often divide gamers based on their opinion of this game.

Stage 4-Indie Gaming (2008-Present)

Stage 4 is also the current stage. It began officially over Spring Break last year when I discovered that an amazing scene of indie game makers has built an establishment in cyberspace as well as an audience for their uniqe brand of lo-fi, fringe gameplay. It is in this stage that I find my drive for the future. I too hope to be an indie game developer and these are the games that have instilled that hope.

Seven Minutes

Seven Minutes was my first experience with an indie game and to this day, it is my favorite indie game. It inspired me to pursue the indie game scene and indie game design sensibilities. I was impressed because the game did everything wrong and yet had such an effect on me. It was a platformer that indulged in breaking the rules of non-frustrating challenge with its disappearing platforms, random spikes, and it requried rapidly repeatedly trial and error gameplay to beat it. Not only did the game break design rules however, it also only lasts seven minutes, has low production values, and requires post-modern thought to truly win the game. I began to realize that maybe everything I had been taught was "bad game design" might in fact be the best game design.

Psychosomnium

The appeal of Psychosomnium lies in its use of fuzzy logic as a gameplay strategy. One is placed within a dream narrative and as such must play as if they are dreaming. Only with a lo-fi indie game is this kind of design allowed.

Calamity Annie

Calamity Annie is significant because it represents the most minimal of all the indie games I've played. It throws a fairly standard game mechanic at the player and then bombards them with it for fifteen minutes or so until the player wins or dies. This game helped me learn that sometimes, that simplicity is all that it takes to make an effective, artistic video game.

The Path

I enjoy The Path because it is a truly polarizing indie title. It's essentially a game in which the player does nothing but walk. Only a player who can disconnect themselves from traditional game structure and who appreciates simply "doing" will understand this game. It is a sublime experience to wander through the terrifiying and beautiful landscape of this game and it represents a new movement of indie games that developer Tale of Tales has dubbed, "slow games." I suppose I also enjoy that it's a game I can sit back and enjoy with my girlfriend because it has broad appeal in some senses.

#2 Posted by prinny_god (327 posts) -

no experimental phase in collage?

#3 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -

Interesting, makes me feel like doing something like this for my own history.

#4 Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -

Haven't been to college yet. I'm a senior in high school.

#5 Posted by prinny_god (327 posts) -

well get really for the ride of you life...................I have no idea what that means

#6 Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -

I'm quite excited for college!

#7 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

That's so funny. I play more mainstream games now than I did in my past. I still dabble in some indie games. By the way, I downloaded the Dear Esther mod... a little slow of foot. I wish I could speed it up a little bit.

#8 Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -

My computer runs it really slow, it's glitchy I think. It's the one flaw of indie games, technical deficiency.

#9 Posted by Alex_V (615 posts) -

Very nice post - enjoyed reading it. Good luck with game development :)

#10 Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -
Alex_V said:
"Very nice post - enjoyed reading it. Good luck with game development :)"
Thank you!
#11 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

Some links to the games not covered on this site would have been cool, but interesting mix. 

You make me feel old...

#12 Posted by LuckyWanderDude (929 posts) -

The only game I couldn't find the link for (but is still on the site strangely enough) is The Path.

#13 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

I see what you mean, I more meant direct, off-site links.

#14 Posted by Sin4profit (2992 posts) -

I remember playing Morrowind for 3 hours just organizing the loot i had in the place i was illegitimately squatting in when the dude i helped out left town...all the while my own real apartment could have benefited from 3 hours of actual cleaning and organizing.

My experimental stage consisted mostly of gaming mods which was the only way, at the time, to play anything doing something extremely different gameplay wise.

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Hmm, lemme try:

A taste of things to come (2003-2006)
Genesis (06-08)
Evolution into the third dimension (08-present)

I could divide it up further, but that's good enough.

#16 Posted by Eelcire (367 posts) -

Interesting take on a personal history through video games. Having  been gaming since the early 80s I think I'm on the jaded gamer phase right now.

#17 Edited by artofwar420 (6299 posts) -
Where's the part where you bone dudes?

Mine would be:
  1. Childhood: There's reviews for games? I'll get this one with the cool cover.
  2. Teenager: I discover RTS games, I start enjoying the story of some videogames. I start regretting bad purchases.
  3. Now: I am pretty selective about what I buy, specially with time being so limited. I become more of a PC enthusiast.
#18 Posted by Elemmire (56 posts) -

Hey, there are lots of games out there that are neither mainstream, nor indie but fall between having both the artistic voyerism it takes to engage, and the budget to follow up. ICO or Shadow of the Colossus are obvious choises, but Indigo Prophecy, Mirror's Edge (artistic direction, not gamelpay), and perhaps Heavenly Sword for it's high quality MOCAP

#19 Posted by HistoryInRust (6374 posts) -

This is a very neat post, indeed.

Glad someone else is willing to give the original Halo the credit it deserves. I don't think I'd still be playing video games were it not for that title.

#20 Posted by Enhasa (13 posts) -

I liked the format as well.  I'm not familiar with any of the indie games you mentioned, but I intend to give at least one of them a try.


#21 Posted by sdiezal (11 posts) -

 "I got Xenogears as my primary present for Christmas 2004."
 
This was my fav. part.
Can you say BEST. GIFT. EVER.?