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GameCentral readers rise above the current tide of negativity and relive their most treasured video game-related experiences.
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was an attempt to change the subject from GamerGate and 2014’s poor crop of new releases. Instead we wanted to hear about your most enjoyable video game memories, whether recent or long ago.
Thankfully the subject seemed to touch a chord with people, and we plenty of letters in describing everything from the first time you ever played a game to gaming sessions that led to lifelong friendships. Because video games are great like that.
Finally, a nice topic.
My happiest gaming memory from all time is sitting on my dad’s knee and helping him play Oh Mummy on our Amstrad CPC464. It was my first real game I’d seen and I think I was about four or so when I was allowed to stay up a little later than my brother and play. Following on from that, my happiest recent moment was sitting with my five-year-old daughter and teaching her to play Mario Kart 8 and Minecraft. She’s not too good at Mario Kart, we’re working on that, but she’s dab hand at Minecraft and will happily knock up a rudimentary house without much prompting.
What I love is being able to pass on the enjoyment I get from my hobby to my kids, and what was more amusing was hearing her try to explain the concept of zombie pig men to her friend’s mum earlier this week.
The Disco Bison (gamertag)/Cakeboy79 (PSN ID)
My happiest gaming memory is burning across the beaches of Vice City on a Sanchez motorbike listening to Crockett’s Theme by Jan Hammer.
Back in 2002 console gaming was still relatively new to me, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was a big splash of joy, from its faux 8-bit loading screen onwards.
The game’s missions could be punishing, so often I’d take a break from them and muck around, taking in the sights and loving the eighties music.
Video games can steal you away from the tiresome realities of life like no other form of entertainment. Books and films offer immersion but with a good game you almost feel like you’ve gone away on holiday.
After a hard week at work joyriding around Vice City at the weekend on my PlayStation 2, often with a drink in my hand, was the definition of escapism.
Thanks Sir Alan
My happiest video game memory is easy and it isn’t even quality related. My first ever gaming experience was an Atari 2600 at a friend’s house at about the age of five or six. Moon Buggy was the game, I went home and told my parents how much I loved this new experience. I then began to pester them for ‘a computer’. Spectrums were all the rage (all my friends had one) at the time and I was determined to get my hands on one for Christmas.
My parents, bless ‘em, went out there and got one for me. It was the best Christmas I ever had, Eventually.
That year, around six months later, I came downstairs to open my Christmas Day bonanza and found a brand spanking new… Amstrad CPC 464, complete with green screen. I was devastated but said nothing, it must of cost them a fortune at the time, far more than they could comfortably afford. I was distraught at not having what all of my friends had.
In the end it simply didn’t matter, I’ve got such great memories of playing Roland Ahoy and Bridge-It (in green) with my dad at Christmas as a boy, that these are memories I will take to the grave with me. I look back at that Christmas Day with enormous gratitude to both my parents and Alan Sugar for those memories. It was this early experience that led on to the hobby I have today.
GC: Do you mean Moon Patrol? Moon Buggy was an Amstrad and C64 clone.
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I am struggling to pinpoint the single greatest gaming moment. Here are a few of my gaming highlights:
The most bitter sweet moment however is easy to identify and was winning a GoldenEye multiplayer match 10:0:0:-1. At the time this was pure elation but it meant I never got to play my all-time favourite multiplayer game with my friends ever again. It has also meant that every future competitive multiplayer game would lead to them teaming up against me; even on games I had never played before.
Thank you to Nintendo for introducing asymmetrical multiplayer in Nintendo Land as this has let me enjoy competitive games with those friends again.
I remember playing a demo of WipEout 2097 in my local game. They had it set up on a massive rear projection TV. I stood there with the controller in my hand staring wide-eyed as the camera panned around the crafts. Then, to my absolute delight, the Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ kicked in as the race started. The sense of euphoria was amazing and my spine tingled.
I’ve never had another experience like that with games but I’ll always have the memory…
That Christmas feeling
Trying to single out just one video game-related memory is tough, there’s so many! Being quite the Nintendo fanboy (as the Underboxers know all too well) I have a fair decent amount of happy memories just playing their games for the first time. Whether it was exploring a vast, wonderful galaxy using the Italian plumber; riding around a huge field on Epona; sucking up some ghouls as Luigi; or simply slamming a triple red shell into the one of the many regular GC players on Mario Kart 8; they’re all highlights I’ll never forget.
There’s something quite magical about a Nintendo game that’s hard to describe, that the other two companies just don’t seem to come close to matching. Even watching a trailer for their newly announced games can contain enough wonder and excitement to create a huge smile across my face.
The memories of kept coming last year by getting to play with my family at Christmas time with some hilarious four-player games of Super Mario 3D World and of course hanging out with my adorable neighbours on Animal Crossing. This year I’ve had many fun nights playing with the GC crew on Mario Kart 8 not to mention admiring the perfect precision-platforming of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. Bouncing around in some jelly on a pogo stick using Cranky Kong is a particular highlight. Keep em coming Ninty! You’re always going to have a fanboy in me, and you’re always going to give me that ‘Christmas feeling’ upon your release dates.
I just want to finish off this email with one particular memory I have of playing Viva Piñata 2 with my friend online. We shared a garden together. We were determined to get the Achievement where you had to make every animal type in the game a resident. It took us many hours and late nights but we finally did it, and what a feeling! I’ll never forget it, and I’ll never forget sticking a pair of starry sunglasses on a hedgehog and naming him Elton John. These are the simple amazing things you can only do in a video game and I love it.
My happiest gaming moment is probably when I completed my first ever computer game after a solid month of playing. The game was the excellent Sonic The Hedgehog on the Sega Master System; which still retains the simple, addictive and very accessible gameplay to this very day.
My happiest gaming memory is a bit of a strange one. Many moons ago when I had bought an import Dreamcast I came across a rather unusual Japanese game: Tokyo Bus Guide.
It was basically a bus driving simulator which was strangely relaxing to play. However, every time my grandson visited, he was four at the time, he would insist on watching me play ‘bus game’.
Every time your bus made it to a bus stop passengers would board or leave the bus accompanied by a cut scene with lots of Japanese speech. I haven’t got a clue what they were saying but this was the cue for him to collapse into uncontrollable fits of laughter. This set me off laughing which then started my wife off too and we spent many happy hours with tears of joy streaming down our faces as the bus continued it’s journey.
OK, some aspects of my favourite video game memory are going to seem a little strange (and make me seem like a massive overeater), but bear with my while I explain and assure you that it was a perfect moment.
Summer 2009. I was working at an American summer camp as a camp counsellor. It was only for two months, but boy was the work tough. You were working from the moment you woke up to the moment you fell asleep, with only 30 minutes break in the afternoon. Looking after ten screaming, spoiled kids, with only one other bewildered and tired counsellor to help you. Sigh.
Well, I should actually call it ‘tough but rewarding’ because I had the time of my life. And my favourite gaming-related memory came at the end.
The kids left. We punched the air and high-fived and celebrated. Then I found myself on my own for a few hours, so I decided to walk to the local Subway. I bought myself two footlongs. One for now, one for later. Then I walked back and pulled out my DS.
I hadn’t had much of a chance to play it. I had brought along Phoenix Wright, but I hadn’t really been able to get along with the fifth case (in case you don’t know, the original game had four parts, and then they added a fifth for the DS version). I had played to halfway through before camp started, but then I had given up. So I picked it back up, opened one of the sandwiches and started to play.
I don’t know what it was, but the story grabbed me and didn’t let go. The writing, the twists, the turns, was superb. I had no distractions, no work to do for the first time in what felt like forever. It was just me, the video game, and the Subway. And yes, I ended up eating both of them, and no, I don’t regret it.
Maybe it was the time of life, maybe it was the chemicals in the food, maybe it was the girl I had met and fallen in love with (we just got married this year) but everything that day was perfect. Absolutely perfect. And the game was a huge part of that.
I will always remember finishing that fantastic game as one of the best experiences of my life, full stop. And I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world. You can’t chase perfect moments like that, and I’m very glad that one of them came (partially) through gaming,
Discovering the classics
Favourite gaming moments? Discovering Final Fantasy. Playing Shenmue for first time, and getting Street Fighter II on my Mega Drive.
Dark Anima X
Dedication, that’s the thing
To me, nothing exemplifies gaming based happiness like a big reward after a long, drawn out effort. Case in point for me… my year of looking for a single monster.
I have alluded to this before in a different Hot Topic, but in World Of Warcraft, high in the ‘sky’ of Deepholm (or the closest there is to sky in a massive, sealed cave), flies a huge, stone dragon: Aeonaxx. This dragon is rare, and very sought after – he drops one of his brood as a free flying mount if brought down. And it is a damn pretty dragon.
This, unfortunately, was a very well known fact, which means many people would keep their eyes on the sky or camp his spawn location for hours. With a spawn time of about 16 hours, this got very annoying. I eventually decided I wanted this mount and would let nothing stop me getting it, so I made a habit of checking his flight path twice a day. Didn’t have any luck, so I would tell myself I’d find him the next day. Then the next. And the next. And the next.
This went on for nine months.
By that point, the next expansion was fast approaching. This would bring merged worlds with it, causing there to be far more competition, making my chances of getting him even more unlikely. I remember when it was a month to go, I almost totally lost hope, but decided to keep on trying.
And that’s when it happened. Aeonaxx pinged up on my Rare Spawn detector add-on. At first I didn’t get too excited, because it had detected his corpse a few times, but as soon as I saw he had full HP I flew full speed at him and engaged. What made this amazing was that my YouTube player had just reached the final boss remix of the Sonic Colours theme. This resulted in me being on Aeonaxx, blitzing him down with magic, singing along in sheer, delirious joy.
That moment always replays in my head and makes me smile whenever I fly about on my long, long, long sought after dragon. Any time I lose hope in games, I just think to myself – ‘You’ve lost hope before, but if you just persevere or hold out faith just a little longer, something good will happen.’
Honestly, this is a lesson I don’t apply to my life outside of games enough. I need to change that.
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