The Games That Made Me Who I Am
The earliest game I still have a clear memory of - I was probably about five years old. I almost certainly never beat it, but it certainly left an impression on me as a kid. It was one of the first games I owned for the first console I ever owned.
My family reckons that this was the first Sonic I played as a kid. Regardless, I was a huge Sonic fan as a kid, and although, much like Aladdin, I'm certain I never beat the game or any other Sonic game, I definitely had fun playing them, and they left a significant impression on me.
This was probably the first game I ever beat. Admittedly, it wasn't at all a hard game to beat, because the story mode only took like an hour to play through, but I adored this game as a kid. It was one of the first games I played when we got the Nintendo 64, and it was the game that introduced rumble controls to me. It was also a hella fun arcade style shooter, with good characters and awesome graphics.
The first game I ever truly fell in love with, and the first handheld game I was passionate about. I was introduced to Pokemon when I saw the anime in a hotel room. Soon, it was everywhere, and I had to get to get the game. But what made Pokemon amazing was that aside from the fads, the anime and the revolution it caused, at the core of the series was a fantastic role-playing game, full of awesome fighting characters and a deep lavish world to explore. You just had to catch 'em all.
Over the course of my life, I've played many forms of Tetris, and I feel like any great or most important games list would be incomplete without Tetris. It may not have been the first puzzle game I played a bunch, but with hindsight, it was the best, and one of the few ones that I can still play today.
I was introduced to the Sim series through this game, and it's hard to describe the effect this game had on me. I adored it. I played it for hours on the computer. It really helped me develop a love of sim-style management games, which quietly evolved into a love of RTS games and The Sims series, among others. Perhaps the first PC game that I played with any regularity.
My first experience of the world of first person shooting. This game is an absolute legend, and perhaps for good reason, as it marked a new dawn for the genre. Halo may have popularised FPS games on consoles, but in the beginning there was GoldenEye 007, with its deathmatch and capture-the-flag multiplayer and a kickass campaign. Incidentally, GoldenEye is also my favourite Bond movie, and by a wide margin.
I played Ocarina of Time when it came out, and it was very much a love-hate experience for me. I loved the art design, the characters and the world, but my young mind was too frustrated and impatient for the puzzles. And then along came Majora's Mask. This was the first Zelda game I played for many hours, even though I only beat it a couple of years ago. It was the game world, the numerous quests and sidequests, the bosses and the depth of the game that made it special. It also had an absolutely kickass premise.
Oh, Age of Empires II. If you want to play the hour counting game, this is probably the game that has absorbed the most amount of my time. The original was my first real-time strategy game, and the sequel, and especially with its expansion, was a total revolution for me. The gameplay was so much fun, and I loved being able to create my own maps and campaigns. I also came to me at a time when I was massively interested in history, particularly military history, and this game helped fuel the fire massively. Perhaps the most important game of them all.
The Madden franchise is an interesting case for me, because I has affected me in so many different ways. Madden NFL 2001 for the PC was the first game I played in the series, which was long before I was the massive NFL fan I am today (I'm actually writing this while wearing my Colts hoody). I don't remember much about actually playing it, but in terms of personal significance, this game is right up there. The Madden games I played the most were 2003 and 2005, with the latter especially being one of my most played games of all-time. Today, Madden 2005 is still an amazing football game.
This game is much less significant to me as a video game, but it did change my life in another very profound way; I was introduced to my all-time favourite band through this game, because they were on the soundtrack. There are few things more important to me than video games, and music is one of them, but so of my music passion can be traced back to this one band. Therefore, there is no way this game can be absent from this list.
This game blew my mind as a kid. It was such a different experience; at it's heart an RTS game, it's open world gameplay, creatures, cinematic presentation and jaw dropping graphics left a huge impression on me. I never beat it, but I loved it to pieces because it was just so different.
My first ever actual experience of playing fighting games that I can remember is at my local swimming pool where they had a Killer Instinct machine, which I loved playing, despite frequently getting my ass handed to me. My first experience of having a fighting game at home was the amazing SoulCalibur II, which did so much of what I like about fighting games; it had a deep and meaningful story, plenty of customisation, great characters and simply amazing graphics. I seem to remember Mitsurugi, Talim, Kilik and Raphael being the fighters I used the most.
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