Thursday, 9 August 2012

Personal Gaming History

I’ve been playing computer games for as long as I can remember. Most of the games I’ve played tended to be a rather random mix of whatever was at hand, and it’s only recently I’ve started seeking out games relevant to my interests. I don’t know what the first game I ever played was, but if I had to guess I’d say it was a demo for either Age of Empires of roller coaster Tycoon. They’re certainly both games I’ve been playing for a very long time; I still play age of empires II occasionally

I know there were also some start Star Wars themed FPS lying around, but I doubt I played them much. I am not - and never have been - a big fan of first person shooters, so they were really more of a spectator sport for me.

After that there was a Frogger game I remembered playing excessively. It was a 3D platforming game, and it had an arcade mode where all the levels were listed with the number of coins collected and the best time. Obviously, that was taken as a challenge, and thanks to a bit of friendly competition between my brother and I we collected every single coin, and shaved down the playtime for each level to what was probably the shortest time physically possible.

The Prince of Persia series kept me occupied for quite some time. I might not have played them them as much as Age of Empires or Frogger, but then they don’t have as much replay value. The Prince of Persia were, however, what got me onto the Ubisoft forums, and from there I became interested in the first assassin’s Creed game, which was in production at the time. I started following the development blogs for the game, although it was a while after release that I actually got to play it.

Around the same time I got Oblivion as a birthday gift, and that quickly ate up all my free time. It was Oblivion, more that assassin’s creed that really got me interested in what went on behind the scenes. Unlike Assassin’s creed, I hadn’t followed it as it was being produced, since I didn’t even know about the Elder Scrolls series until I started playing Oblivion, but there was a lot of content on the web about the production, and I went and read or watched every scrap about it that I could find.

There are some other games I played during this time, including The Sims, SimCity, a couple of other Starwars games such as Jedi Academy and Knights of the old republic. There was also a stealth/platforming/puzzle game called Sheep, dog and Wolf, which sadly I never finished because I got stuck on a level and, what with the internet being a lot less comprehensive back at the time, I couldn’t find any way to complete it.

I played a small number of online games, and came to the conclusion that online gaming, specifically in the form of MMOs, is just not for me. I like the idea of huge communities playing together, but in practice I’ve found all the things that separate a multiplayer game from a singleplayer experience are things I’ve disliked. The only fun part of the game was exploring a new world, and that’s certainly not exclusive to multiplayer.

That’s probably why Minecraft is an exception to that: head onto any established multiplayer server, and there’s a whole new world to explore. Minecraft appeals to me for similar reasons as Age of empires and roller coaster tycoon; it’s a sandbox survival game with a focus on building and managing resources. However my stint of playing minecraft didn’t really last that long, maybe because it quickly stops being challenging. There’s still things to do, sure, but they’re all self-imposed challenges, whereas games like roller coaster tycoon and Age of empires are easy enough that you feel like you’re gaining some ground, but they keep you on your toes.

The main game I’m playing at the moment is Skyrim. I’ve also started playing Deus Ex, because it was on sale on Steam, and I’m playing Bioshock because it seems to be one of those games everyone has played. Morrowind is another game I’ve recently started because, as with Bioshock, everyone says great things about it. So far, I’m just finding the outdated graphics rather pleasantly nostalgic and getting frustrated with the lack of fast-travel, but it is interesting to see Oblivion and Skyrim in perspective.

There aren’t any games I’m looking forward to at the moment, but I’m rather glad of that, since I have plenty to play and to catch up with at the moment. I am trying to broaden the variety of the games I’ve played, and trying to replay older games from the perspective of a game artist.

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