Those moments that define us, we all have them. Marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one. Those moments shape us. The same is true with our interests. Whether it’s baseball, knitting, cooking, or whatever else, there are undoubtedly moments when you realized that something really connected with you. For me, gaming was my thing from an early age. Given that, here are my personal top 5 defining moments in gaming.
5. The discovery of the Atari 2600
I was probably about four or five when I was first introduced to the Atari 2600. Though the console’s popularity was a bit before my time, my uncle had left his at my grandparents’ house when he moved out on his own. He left the console, and a massive stack of games including Space Invaders, and Breakout. Those two games absolutely mesmerized my young mind. That was my first taste of gaming, and I haven’t lost the love for it since.
4. Mortal Kombat
We talk a lot about Mortal Kombat on our blog, and for good reason; it truly is a fantastic franchise. For me though, very few games were as affective as MK. The violence and gore was something new, exciting, and a little dangerous. MK helped me to release some of the negative feelings I was having during a particularly hard period of my childhood. Despite its controversy, I’ll always look back fondly at the original Mortal Kombat and what it meant to me.
3. Metal Gear Solid
The original Metal Gear Solid for the PS1 was the first game that made me feel like a grown up. I was sixteen when the game was released, and if I remember correctly, both Chris and I got our copies the day it was released. In many ways, Metal Gear Solid was pretty influential in the development of my political and social views. Given some of the more recent additions to the MGS franchise, that might seem kind of scary, but at the time, Metal Gear Solid was a pretty intellectual and serious game. It was the first time a game really gave me a reason to think about things like nuclear war, geo-politics, and hiding in cardboard boxes. Plus all the bosses were really cool.
2. Final Fantasy VII
When I was pretty young – I’d say no more than 6 or 7 – I found my cousin’s copy of Dragon Warrior. Now, seven year old me remembers that game being really boring, dumb, and difficult. I believe I tried to play it on at least three occasions and turned it off after five minutes every single time. This was my first experience with RPG games, and it was so terrible that it wasn’t until Final Fantasy VII that I decided to give them another try. I was skeptical at first that I would like an RPG, but the game magazines seemed to talk about little else in the run up to it’s release so I decided that I’d have to play it. And so began a sixteen year love affair with virtually anything RPG-like. Turn based, action combat, it doesn’t matter. I love RPGs. I love leveling up, getting new skills, slaying monsters…all of it. Final Fantasy VII single handedly changed my view on an entire genre, and for that I will always be thanking for to Squaresoft and to Cloud Strife.
1. Twisted Metal 2
Of all the games on this list, Twisted Metal 2 is the one that probably means the most to me. There is no single game that I spent more time playing, and no game that I had more fun playing Twisted Metal 2. It’s by far the least of iconic of all the games on this list, but Chris and I spent hours upon hours playing each other in head-to-head multiplayer. We played every single character, and got to the point that some were even outlawed due to their overpowered abilities (I’m looking at you Spectre). Again, it might seem weird that my number one isn’t a more iconic game, but for me no single game meant more to me than that one.