My Gamer “Origin Story”

So, I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a long time. I was never sure which of my interests to focus on or what direction I’d like to take. Also, I’m lazy. Sooooooo lazy. Twitter seemed more my speed. No commitment, a character limit, and if you’re too lazy to think of something to write, you can just retweet! Brilliant!

But, I started to realize that Twitter has its limits and maybe I had more to say than 140 characters at a time; so here I am!  Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@knelligan12)–I’ll probably show up more there than on WordPress (again, because I’m lazy).

Anyway, it all started in 1980-something (yes, I stole that from The Goldbergs)… One day, my father brought home BurgerTime for our Commodore 64 and my sister and I were hooked!

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This game still holds up–it’s one of the only video games my sister will still play.

Not long after that, I’d play or watch my dad play Dungeons of Daggorath.  Do you have any idea how frightening that heartbeat sound still is to me? It’s amazing what that game was able to accomplish with just a few simple lines and basic sound effects.

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TERRIFYING! I died a little just from posting this picture.

In the meantime, arcades were popping up everywhere and arcade cabinets were ubiquitous in just about every restaurant and movie lobby.  My parents usually indulged me and let me have a few quarters whenever we saw one, but I was too young in the 80’s to visit a standalone arcade on my own.

Then, in 1988, I had the Christmas every gamer dreams of having: the Christmas when I received my first console.

I have to pause here and emphasize that, for a gamer, there was no better Christmas than the one where you received a new console. Literally nothing compares to that–I’m going to be honest, I received my wedding ring on Christmas in 2006 and even that didn’t compare.

I suppose a few gamers would have rather had a computer. I loved computer games back then (Hugo’s House of Horrors, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Choplifter), but in the late 80’s  almost everyone wanted a Nintendo Entertainment System.  And my parents didn’t just get me the basic Nintendo; they got me the NES with the light gun, the Power Pad, and a few games. I was the first kid on the block with a Nintendo. I was kind of a big deal.

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The only difference between me and Ron Burgundy is his sweet ‘stache.
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I ALWAYS cheated at the the Track and Field event games and I’m not the least bit ashamed.

I played all the major games, either ones my parents bought for me, ones we rented, and then some that my friends played. Back then you’d go to a friend’s house to play games more. That may be the one downside of the achievement/trophy system that Microsoft and Sony worked out; you don’t cooperatively play games anymore. It used to be, you would play until you died or got to the next level, then you’d pass the controller to your friend. Also, there was a lot more couch co-op back then.

I remember, I’d go to my best friend’s house and half the time I’d sneak away and play video games with her brother instead of doing whatever she wanted us to do. Being a female gamer back then kind of sucked because none of my girl friends were really interested in gaming. Hence, I had a lot more guy friends than girl friends in my early days.

By my 12th birthday, I had a few jobs (I painted soccer fields and refereed younger kids’ soccer games) and started saving for my own games and for my next big video game purchase. I also received my first handheld device: a Game Boy and soon after received a Game Gear.  The backlit screen on the Game Gear was literally life-changing.

Finally, at the age of 13, I bought my first system: a Sega Genesis. Does anyone else remember being blown away by the graphics on the Sega?  It’s so funny to think of how impressed we were with 16-bit graphics.

Unfortunately, I had a long hiatus from games after the Sega. I was entering high school and video games just seemed too dorky. I didn’t play much from 1994 until 1999. It’s a sad, black mark on my gaming record that I took that long of a break, and I realize now that I missed out on a lot of great games during that time period.

Luckily, I started dating someone in 1999 that was really into gaming and he rekindled my love affair with games. It started with us playing Leisure Suit Larry 7. I hadn’t played an adventure game like that since Hugo’s House of Horrors and the graphics were so much better! But what really turned me back to gaming is still one of my favorite series in all of gaming: Metal Gear Solid.

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Whoever came up with the cardboard box concept is a genius and they deserve a Nobel Prize for video game concepts (I obviously have no idea what merits Nobel Prizes)

Don’t worry, gamer geeks; I had a complete 180 after Metal Gear and I went on to buy a PS One, a PS2, a Gamecube, an Xbox, a PSP, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, a PS Vita, a Nintendo DS, an Xbox One, a Retron 4 and a Wii U. So I’m all up-to-date now on consoles and handhelds.

Actually, one of my favorite gaming memories is the Valentine’s Day when my boyfriend and I each bought each other a GameCube.  Maybe that’s why I feel it’s appropriate to write a post about gaming on Valentine’s Day–gaming memories.

So, that brings me to present day. I didn’t end up marrying the gamer I exchanged GameCubes with, but my husband and brother-in-law are two of the best, most passionate gamers I know and we’ve spent countless hours playing and discussing games with each other.

Hopefully I will carry on the tradition of gaming in our household and make my own little gamers someday. For now, I try to get my 3 stepkids to play games with varying degrees of success. They insist that it’s weird and embarrassing that their parent/step-parent play more games and have higher gamer scores than them.

Alright, my lazy gene is kicking in, so I’ll end this post here, but I’ll add more background to my gamer history as I continue with this blog. Please feel free to share your own gamer origin story in the comments or tweet to @knelligan12 if you’re lazy like me. Thanks for reading!

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