Gaming Memories of Paul: Gaming On The Go
Hello once more fellow gamers! It’s time once more to pull up a chair, grab a drink and let me take you on a trip down memory lane….
Gaming on the go has seen many incarnations and changes throughout the last twenty or so years. From the original monochrome GameBoy to snake on the Nokia 5110, up to the mighty PS Vita. Mobile gaming has gone from strength to strength, and being the old git that I am I’ve been lucky enough to see most of it happen. So join me as I once more reminisce.
I first dabbled with mobile gaming one summer; a friend had come to visit and we decided to head to the city! We were looking around my favourite toy store – the local ToyMaster (remember those?) and out of the corner of my eye I spyed a demo booth. My heart raced, it was the first demo booth I had set eyes upon. Gleaming like a trophy, I walked up to it and set my eyes upon the original GameBoy for the first time! It was running a crazy puzzle game, which would soon become an addiction across the world: Tetris! I pressed the start button and soon began placing the pieces in lines, racking up high scores and getting a buzz from nearly being beat as more pieces fell, quicker and quicker. The soundtrack also managed to become embedded in my brain and I found myself humming it to myself as we walked back to the bus stop. I knew I had to have one so I began to save.
In the meantime I ended up heading back to that toy shop as often as I could during the six week holidays, grabbing as much time on that demo unit as physically possible.
I finally got my mitts on one; it was my first Nintendo console and I loved it. I remember ploughing hours into Super Mario Land 2, becoming addicted to collecting the golden coins. I never managed what I would call a massive game collection, but another title I remember fondly was The Lion King. At the time it offered a decent challenge and captured the spirit of the film really well, especially the level where you had to dodge the stampede.
SEGA were next to enter the handheld market with the mighty Game Gear, a beast of a machine that sucked battery power as if it was going out of fashion – I stuck with my faithful GameBoy. One Christmas though I managed to get some play time on one, sinking my teeth into Shinobi. I remember it being fiendishly difficult yet so compelling to play; I loved the fact that you had to rescue your friends, allowing you to then use the saved ninjas to get through more levels. Each ninja also had special attacks based on one of the four elements. I was blown away by the graphics and the full colour! I always intended on buying one, but never managed to get the money. My gaming on the go waned and I found myself looking at my precious GameBoy collecting dust on the bookshelf.
It was in 1998 when I became addicted to another game on the go. I was selling mobile phones and Nokia released their first models to include the rather addictive, classic Snake! I remember when the shop was quiet spending hours trying to beat my own high scores, cursing as my snake went smashing into itself; a simple yet wonderful game – the original mobile phone game! This became the norm with all the handset manufacturers jumping on board, loading their own games; in fact it became a big selling point with the main question being posed: which games are loaded on the phone? Nokia always seemed to lead the way though; well, their games are the ones that have stuck in my head!
It was with the 7650 that Nokia really grabbed my attention for gaming; it was the first mobile phone that I could install emulators on – my favourite was the C64 emulator. Being able to play all of my childhood games in the palm of my hand seemed just incredible to me. My phone was full of ROMS including Dizzy and Robocop. I never thought something like this could be achieved and I felt that this was just the beginning.
In 2005 I became mesmerized by the new boy on the block – the power in my hands was phenomenal. With graphics to die for this new console promised some awesome games along with a built in MP3 player and the ability to watch films on its rather nice large screen. I’m talking about the PSP baby! On launch day I shot to my local shop to buy one of these bad boys. I loved it, with it’s built in Wi-Fi and top titles including SOCOM, GTA Vice City Stories and Star Wars Battlefront 2… I just couldn’t get enough. Then a realization hit me, one day whilst browsing some pages on the net; how easy it was to run emulators on the PSP.
Wow… I was living my hey days back in the 8 and 16bit eras, playing the original Sonic, Streets Of Rage – was there no end to what entertainment the PSP could give me?
Since then mobile gaming, especially on smartphones, has just grown – creating new ecosystems, new ways to play. Mobile gaming has truly come a long way and I’m sure that if Apple, Google, Microsoft and the rest have anything to do with it this truly is just the beginning. I for once can’t wait to see what’s lurking around the corner.