Something that I often hear from people who like to play video-games, or read in the comments on this site, is the phrase “that’s the game that made me the gamer I am today”. Whenever I see that written, or hear it said, it makes me think back to the games that have shaped my tastes, and my ‘gaming personality’. The most common game that I see mentioned is World of Warcraft. Many see WoW as more than just a game; for some it’s a transformative experience, about community and friendship. For others, it was about being the best, and having your name and character become synonymous with the WoW community. I missed out on this experience, having never played WoW, and it’s quite often one of my biggest gaming regrets. Still, I’ve had plenty of other transformative experiences in video games, so I thought that I would cover a few of the games that made me the gamer that I am today.
The first game that ever managed to draw me in, the first game that I was ever addicted to and the first game that shaped my love for RPGs, was Pokémon Blue. Through this game, I was able to escape into a fantasy world. It was a world that I already knew, and loved, thanks to the trading cards, TV show and movies associated with the franchise, so it was the perfect game for me to get lost in. I would daydream about playing it, picturing the different Pokémon that I could capture and envisioning those all important Gym Badges. This game really sparked my love for the role-playing genre, because in the hours that I would pick up that GameBoy, I would almost become a Pokémon trainer, and it’s a feeling that is transferable, from games like Fallout to Dragon’s Dogma.
Worms, (with a special mention to Heart of Darkness)
Worms was the first game that I played on the PC… well, that and the original Tomb Raider. It was a game that I would rarely play on my own, and me and my brother would play for hours, fighting each other or working together to beat the computer. In a similar vein, Heart of Darkness was the first game that I ever played co-operatively, in the sense of “one death each”. Me, my brother and my cousin spent hours trying to beat this game together, and it quickly become the first game I had ever completed as a team, despite it being a single player game. These two games were the sparks which would eventually ignite a love for co-operative play, both split-screen and online.
It was my experience playing Pokémon which opened up my eyes to the endless possibilities offered by the RPG genre. But Oblivion stands as pretty much my favourite game of all time, as it combined my love for the role-playing genre, and my fondness of completing a game with the help of other people. Me and my brother would play Oblivion together, watching one and other with our respective characters and helping each other to explore the world and experience as much of the game as possible. In doing so, I unlocked a vast number of achievements on my Xbox 360. It was the first game that I intentionally went out of my way to 100%, and it sparked my love for completing, and gaining, achievements.
Call of Duty 2
In the days of Dial-Up, playing multiplayer games online was a bit of a drag. The connection was slow, and it also meant that your family couldn’t use the phone whilst you were online. However, my 360 ran through our modem, and it was on the console that I first got my experience of online, competitive multiplayer. On Call of Duty 2, I would play endless online matches with my friend, Tom, and through that game I gained a number of XBL friends who I still play online with to this day. From there, I would expand into games series like Battlefield – which are incredibly online-multiplayer focused.
Left 4 Dead, (with a special mention to Time Splitters)
Titles like Worms, Heart of Darkness, and Oblivion developed my love for playing games with other people. But the two titles that cemented my love for co-operative play were Time Splitters and Left 4 Dead. Time Splitters was one of my favourite games to play with friends, when I was a kid. We would play the story together and, when there were more of us available, we would play split-screen matches against bots. Left 4 Dead was the first co-operative game that I sank endless hours into – even more than Oblivion. I’d dread to think of how many hours I’ve spent playing that game over the years, and it was through that game that I built my friendship with Alex (ThinkBad), Con (Romnom) and Steve (Kailios). In fact, Left 4 Dead is partly responsible for creating IM PLAYIN, or at least establishing the foundations that would eventually become a platform for us to share our love for video-games.
So there are a few games that have shaped me as a gamer, and developed my tastes in video-games. Which games would you say have developed you as a gamer? Let me know in the comments below!