The Gaming Memories of Paul: The Early Years
Another milestone for me is fast approaching. Another year older and for the past few weeks, I’ve found myself reminiscing – looking back, at some of my gaming memories, amongst other things. For me gaming has been part of my life since I was 5, bringing me inspiration and joy. I’ve seen a lot of changes, especially in the way I play games, looking for different things. Still reading? Then fellow readers I invite you on a journey, a journey through some of my gaming highlights….
Let’s start from the beginning; my first gaming memory was with my Granddad – I was only 5 years old at the time. Granddad was always into his gadgets, always one of the first people to own the latest tech, bought mainly whilst he was abroad with work. I remember visiting him one weekend, when I was asked to come and have a look at his new toy – an Atari console.
I remember l was mesmerised, whilst little sprites walked across the screen. It was Snoopy and the Red Baron, and I remember feeling so special as Snoopy magically appeared on the telly – it seemed like magic to me at the time. Being able to control a little character on the telly, making him move from one side of the screen to the other, flying Snoopy’s kennel! It’s a memory that has remained with me since that day, yet, I never really realised what impact this new magic would have on me until much, much later in life!
Roll onto my seventh year; my mum and dad had decided to buy a computer for the business. I remember them telling me about a brilliant new system, which we could buy games for, its name was the…..BBC Micro. It had been out for a while but was my first taste of real computers. Along with the tape drive, my folks had opted for the five and three quarter floppy drive, giving us more choice on software. I remember being a little scared at first, especially when the tape drive kicked in, sounding like a jet about to take off! Yet with this came my first taste of Asteroids! A game that sucked hours and hours of my youth away, especially when the rain was coming down heavy outside and I was stuck, inside, bored.
Although the graphics, by today’s standards, were extremely simple the games helped fuel my over-active imagination – with me and friends devising new ways to challenge each other, new ways of using the computer for other games we would play. I remember one game; it was a fairly simple spaceship simulator. We were on the bridge of our spaceship, exploring the final frontier! Away missions would have us pretending to beam down from the ship, using the rest of the house as the planets! Letting our imaginations loose, turning this simple game into so much more.
The BBC Micro kept me entertained for another 18 months, but the support for it from developers was waning and new faster systems were being released. The Spectrum and C64 were all the rage, along with the Amstrad CPC 464. I became a proud owner of the latter on my 9th year. I fell in love with the system and its fancy graphics as soon as I loaded my first game. Harrier Attack turned into one of my favourites, allowing me to delve into being a jet pilot for the first time; it was simple but provided hours of fun.
But soon my attention was grabbed by a new genre of game – platformers, thanks to Dizzy, were becoming the rage. At this point games were fairly cheap, ranging from £5 to £15 depending on the publisher. Dizzy became a firm favourite for me, providing me with a new world to travel. It was fiendishly difficult with some very clever puzzles to keep my brain working overtime.
My collection soon grew over time, including the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Friday the 13th (absolute crap but I got addicted to its simple premise), and Ocean’s Robocop to name but a few. Yet for me it wasn’t a hobby, once more it was just something to occupy my time when I couldn’t ride my bike anywhere. It wasn’t anything more but a time waster, my real love for games wouldn’t transpire until my teens along with the emergence of the PC and my first games console…