Looking back, I realised that I have been into playing games for a long time now. Strange as it may seem, but I remember playing games when I was in primary school on the good ol’ Apple back at home. I used to play games like Load Runner, Frogger, Hard Hat Mack, chess.
Then in Yr6 for my birthday, my parents bought me my first console – a Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES) and the game "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (ok, I am really showing my age now). I played that for a number of years into high school, swapping games with friends (I played Zelda, Mike Tyson’s Boxing. Super Mario Bros etc). It was then that I also bought video games magazines (like Electronic Gaming Monthly, which was imported and full of the latest goss. Incidentally, I believe that the magazine’s online division is now the Gamespot link I had listed). Back then, video games were scarce - Oz only received a fraction of the games which were pumped out of Japan and America and games used to be released at least nine months after the rest of the world had them.
It was not until mid-high school that the new Super NES came onto the market and I bought the Japanese version (the Super Famicom) and really played a lot (especially since I had the liberty of having a TV in my room). A couple of my friends and I would play role-playing games (RPGs) which involved turn based combat (not as boring as I thought it would be – my first one was “Lufia and the Fortress of Doom”) and I was introduced to the Final Fantasy series (FFIV, FFV and FFVI). We would play the same games and ask each other how far they had gotten – and aim to better it the following day! Also, one of the classic games, Perfect Eleven first came out on this system and later evolved to the current day Winning Eleven (Pro Evolution Soccer).
Due to studies and other commitments, I never owned a Playstation (PS) and therefore missed out on a generation of games (**sniff**). But during my secondment to Hong Kong a couple of years back, I bought a PS2 and have been playing a number of games (favourite games include FFX, Metal Gear Sold 2, ICO, Tenchu, Grand Theft Auto, Winning Eleven and Grand Turismo).
I guess that’s an abridged version of my life with games!
I wouldn’t classify myself as a hard core gamer. But I have to say that when I start playing I do play for a number of hours (ok, sometimes I find games hard to put down). When I got sent to Melbourne for a project, my flatmate would also play games, but would finish work earlier. So he would play from 6pm to 10pm and I would play from 10:30pm to 2am! I am a night person, so that helps! Along with other friends we would also play drinking games with the PS2 or Nintendo Gamecube (Go Mario Kart!) and that would really test the reflexes after a couple of drinks!
From my perspective, playing games is mentally stimulating and improves reflexes as well as hand eye co-ordination. Games can be positive in promoting social behaviour (hey I play games with my friends too and it certainly is a conversation starter!) and I get a certain satisfaction when I finally finish a game (not that my closure rate this year has been high – I plan to work on that over the Christmas break!). There is just so little time and so many games out there! Ah…the ultimate gamer’s