I’ve decided to create a page with the story of how I started retro gaming, and in fact, my entire history with video games, briefly anyway, I’ll start from the very beginning.
Most people my age, started gaming when they were 7, when they got a PS2. I actually started way before that, I remember very vaguely when I was about 2-3, I used to play a bit of the Sega Master System, my cousins had it, I don’t remember much, I remember the controller, and a tiny bit of a game, but I have no idea what that game is.
In 1997, when I was 3, I got a mega drive, the first game I remembering for certain I’ve played was the original Sonic the hedgehog, other games I recall having are Sonic the hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage 2, Alien 3, Toy Story, Zoop, and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.
Those games were alot of fun and all, I’ve had so many memories with them, but for some reason, I wasn’t too into them, I wasn’t too fond of the graphics, and I thought the games were weird as well, how most of the games I had, had no menus, they just brought you straight to the game, for some reason, I found that weird, Zoop in particular, I don’t hate it, it was a pretty fun game, but that game was so weird, it single-handedly put me off games, at least for a while.
However, looking back, when I hear people older than me talk about how great the 16-bit era was, I would know what they were talking about, I can feel their passion for it, I have the same kind of memories, I was there, albeit at the very end, but I was there, I experienced Sonic at his prime, Sega at their prime, when 2D platformer/sidescrollers were what gaming was all about, the days where you can’t save your game, you had to play a game from beginning to end in one sitting, where completing a game felt like a real achievement!
On Friday, 10th August 2001, my 7th birthday, I got what became my favourite console, even to this day, the original Playstation, I got it along with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone and Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase, both were great games, despite both being Movie Tie-ins. Since then I got roughly 40 games for it, my favourites being Driver and Driver 2, Firebugs and Digimon World.
Around the same time, I got the Game Boy Color, my first handheld, my favourite games for that were Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Pinball and Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem.
Only a year later, on my 8th birthday, I got a Playstation 2, with Eye-Toy Play, and Rayman 3, the latter being the one I really played, Eye-Toy, while impressive, the game was kind of rubbish, it was just a load of mini-games. Since then, I got about 70 games for it! My favourites being the Tony Hawk games, Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction and Ratchet and Clank.
In April 2007, I got a Playstation 3 along with Motorstorm, which I guess was fun, but it wasn’t worth the money, I only got around 5 games for it before I gave up on it, the games were awful, at least the ones that appealed to me, everything else were just First Person Shooters like Call of Duty, or sports games, like FIFA. Not to mention, it annoyed me that it was all about the features, the games meant nothing, it was all about the web browser, the voice chat, photo gallery, what video formats does it support, it was going to get free-view TV, all this annoyed the flip out of me, I didn’t and still don’t care about the features, I wanted games, and they didn’t give us them.
Nothing really blew me away like every other console I had did, I wanted to be blown away, I wanted games that had amazing graphics, to run fast, big levels, and lots to do. I didn’t want a DVD/Blu-Ray player, a web browser, or freview TV, if I did, I have a laptop for those, and standalone Blu-Ray player.
Even with my friends and cousins, it was all about who had the more and better features, like games didn’t matter anymore.
Around the same time, I started thinking about the good-old days with the PSone, all of the amazing games on it, and how it was actually a gaming system. I started looking up PSone games on Amazon and Youtube, the first game I got in my Retro gaming “adventure”, if you like, was Mortal Kombat Trilogy, even when I was with the PS3, I always wanted that, and wanted it remade for PSN, but since that was probably never going to happen, and I’ll probably get jinxed by saying that, I got my parents to order it from Amazon.
When it arrived, I opened up the packaging, I thought the cases looked and felt weird because it’d been years since I saw and held one.
Then I got Re-Volt, from the videos I saw on Youtube, it looked like a cool game, and it was, although it was too easy, and had no replay value.
Then I went to a car boot sale, or a “flea market” if you’re American, for the first time, and I got Tony Hawks Skateboarding and Pro Skater 3 for £3.
Then I started looking on EBay to see if I can get a PSone cheap, then I asked my parents if I can get one, I was expecting them to flip-out, telling me that I’m mad and stuff like that, and that’s what happened, a line, for some reason, I remember them saying, word for word, was “Grow Up! I don’t mean grow up as in, well, grow up. I mean you can’t get a PSone again in your life!”.
Eventually, I convinced them to get me one, and so we got one off Ebay, with 2 controllers and a memory card, for only £5!
While this was going on, I became a laughing stock of my school, because I played old games, even my brothers and cousins were complaining at me for this, saying it was a stupid idea.
I guess I wasn’t surprised, I knew no one else who was retro gamer, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only one in Scotland, if there’s another one in Glasgow, or anywhere in Scotland, he/she’ll be my new best friend! Speaking of, even my best friends, heck, even my parents had that you’re-an-idiot kind of attitude towards me for a while!
Luckily, it all settled in, everyone started accepting the fact I was a retro gamer, they were still against it, but they accepted my opinion, and that was enough for me
Since I got a PS1, I’ve gotten, including the PS1, 19 consoles in total, which are, in the order I got them:
- Sony Playstation
- Sega Dreamcast
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- Sega Saturn
- Nintendo Gamecube
- Sega Mega Drive
- Microsoft Xbox
- Sony Playstation 2
- Nokia N-Gage
- Atari Jaguar
- Nintendo Game Boy Color
- Atari Jaguar CD
- Commodore Amiga CD32
- Sega Master System
- Atari Flashback 3
- Bandai Wonderswan Crystal
- Nintendo Wii U
- Nintendo 3DS
- Sega Mega CD
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System
That wasn’t the end, though, a few years later, I then started to play games on the PC, because I figured that the PC had always been that multimedia system that happened to play games, games where the fremerate wasn’t locked (most of the time), and you could mod your games, so I thought that was the perfect platform for me, but I first needed a decent rig, so I saved up £1000 to get a good PC, I got one for PC World, the first game I played on it was Driver San Francisco, I was amazed at the framerate, full settings, highest resolution, and it still ran 60fps, I was amazed, so I stuck with PC.
During my time as a PC gamer, I often came across the Steam, Origin, Games for Windows and Uplay DRMs with my games, but paid no mind to it at the time, but I thought it was cool that you could add friends from Xbox Live to your friends list, and you can even chat with them in chat parties! I thought that was awesome, so GWFL quickly became my favourite of the 4 clients. Steam was that client everyone loved, I guess because of the company behind it, so I just played along, jumped on the bandwagon.
I was a PC gamer for about a year and a half, which was until the Xbox One (or “Xbone” as many people call(ed) it) was announced, as you may know, it was rumoured, and then confirmed, that the Xbox One users would’ve needed to connect online to check in, and it would block used sales, of course, many PC gamers, including myself, were complaining and making fun of the Xbone because of their DRM policies.
Then I thought “Hold on, doesn’t Steam do the exact same things!?”, so I looked it up, and right enough, Steam completely blocks used sales, keys are permanently tied to an account and it requires and online check-in every week or so, but it was worse than that, I read the Steam subscriber agreement, like many, I breezed pass it and clicked “I agree”, but the agreement, basically stated that you own nothing, you are merely given a temporary license to play the games, the user had to rights, no say in anything, the publishers basically lend you their games, and they have the right to take your games away from you, you have no say, if the publishers don’t want you to play one of their games that you bought, you’re not playing it, end of conversation!
Steam is basically a platform that allows the publisher to control, and dominate the consumer, they have full power! Sure, Origin and Uplay did the same thing, but without Steam, neither would exist, they are just copies, wannabes. Games for Windows, however, was far more lenient, the keys are tied to the games, not on any account, so you can still register a game you bought used, and even better than that, you didn’t even need to register the games, you can play it entirely offline, which I thought was fantastic! However, GWFL was the one DRM every hated, why? well… I’m still trying to figure out why, the only complaints I’ve heard were “It’s not as good as Steam”, which is very constructive(!)
I mentioned this to my friends, who had also been complaining about the Xbone, and it’s as if they had a personality change, they suddenly seem to side with the publishers, saying “they need money to survive”, a complaint that can easily be made about the Xbox One, but they never did. They keep making arguments about the publishers needing the DRM in place (All of them were as rubbish as the next, by the way.), they were feeling sentimental about the publishers and just plain sucking Valves d*ck! I must give credit to Valve, their clever marketing has brainwashed most of their users into thinking their DRM is good.
It turned out Microsoft reversed their policies, so no, you can’t make such arguments about it anymore, because they don’t use the ar*e-screwing DRM, even EA decided to make a refunds system to give unsatisfied customers refunds, and Uplay had started to accept used sales, and both DRMs now only need to connect once to activate their games (an improvement over their previous models, but not quite there yet). So the only company who had yet to do anything about their selfish DRM policies, are, funnily enough, Valve, the “good guys”…
So I decided, since Steam is dominating PC gaming, to, for the most part, quit PC gaming, I still get the sports games and the occasional Telltale game, as they don’t use any DRM of that sort, and maybe the occasional Indie game off of GOG.com. I got a Wii U and 3DS, and decided to get most of my new games on those, and I’ve started getting retro PC games, and we are now where we are today, and I’m happy, I got more games off of CEX, Amazon and eBay than I have… well, all my years as a gamer before that combined, so I’m happy!
I could perhaps be mistaken for being just a collector, but I assure youse that I don’t get games for the sake of collecting them, I only get the game and consoles that appeal to me, and look fun, and yes, that included the CD32 and Atari Jaguar CD!
I’ve never looked back since I started retro gaming, I’ve discovered rare gems, play the games that many call classic, and play games I wanted, but couldn’t/didn’t get as a kid, and best of all, an average game costs £5, very cheap, especially considering PS3 games cost £40 each.
On 1st January 2011, literally, right after the New Year, my cousins and I had a go at Goldeneye multi-player, and we all loved it, so we decided that occasionally, I could bring the N64, and my cousin, would bring extra controllers and games, kind of like an “N64 party”. Now, we’ve made a chart showing the (chronological) order of consoles to bring, from the Mega Drive, all the way to the Wii, plus a VHS/DVD week.
Nowadays, we bring console every Sunday at our grans in chronological order, from the Mega Drive, to the Wii U.
I still play modern games on the Wii U, and whenever it gets a new game, the PS2, but most of my time, goes towards those poor, abandoned consoles, that need a home, owned by someone, who’ll love them, and play them…