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First Video Game Experiences

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    Today we launched our 200th episode and the entire Network along with most of our guests from the past two years shared their first video game experiences.
    If you haven’t hear it yet, listen here:

    Special thanks to @bsbstomp for kicking off this project with his Microsode topic.

    So – anyone else have exciting and formative early gaming experiences?


    My story in the episode was one of my most formative experiences with games.

    Before that, though, in the first few years of my life, games just always seemed to be around me; my dad got me and my brothers all our own Macs to play games on; my eldest brother had the best computer, and we were both really jealous that he had a whole 256 colours instead of the 16 that we had. Games like Wolfenstein 3D, Lemmings, and Prince of Persia 2, were all games I really liked watching, but I was never allowed to play them because I was too young, or didn’t have a good enough computer. I do remember a big case of floppy disks, with Mac OS games from System 6 and onwards; each floppy had maybe three or four games on it, so there were about 50-60 games that I came to know and love so much that I still remember a good handful of them today, despite not having played them in over ten years.

    My most memorable experience with games, though, would be Ocarina of Time specifically. As kids, we were idiots, and couldn’t figure out how to progress that easily. Our cousin had played through the start of the game, up until you’ve met Zelda and learned Saria’s Song. So, without knowing exactly what to do next, we’d explore every inch of the map. We got lost in the Lost Woods, tried going to certain parts of Hyrule Field only to be chased away by weird flying things that I never figured out how to kill because they murdered me when I tried fighting them, looked around the lake, couldn’t go up Zora’s River because there were rocks, and eventually ruled out everywhere but Kakariko Village and Death Mountain. Figuring out things like showing the gate guard Zelda’s letter to convince him to let me through was basically the first thing I actually accomplished in the game; but before I was able to play through the second child dungeon, our N64 broke. And it took I-don’t-even-know-how-many months for it to get fixed. Eventually moving on to beat the rest of the Child Link dungeons, which were fucking terrifying to a five or six year-old, built me more and more up to what I thought was the big conclusion. We knew that there was a way to become Adult Link, and there was a place in the Temple of Time we had to put the sacred stones, but we didn’t know the details, and we figured things would get way easier and start wrapping up once we became an adult. We got the Zora’s Sapphire, and raced back to Hyrule Castle for the big payoff.

    The resulting cutscenes were scary, but as we became and adult and got the Master Sword, we were so convinced that nothing would be a challenge for us anymore. And then we stepped out of the temple and saw the entire world went to shit, there’s fire over Death Mountain, zombies in the marketplace, Hyrule Castle is replaced with a death fortress floating over a lava pit, Kokiri Forest full of monsters, Zora’s Domain is frozen, everything is terrible, and I was completely and utterly floored in the way that some people have talked about playing a Final Fantasy for the first time and seeing just how much content was in the game.

    There are several other N64 experiences I had; basically all of them were the strongest contributing factors to my desire to want to create videogames.




    first game experience was the Atari 2600, was a Christmas gift and I played the hell out of missle command, when I found out it was an arcade game and I found it I tried playing it then but ended up sucking. stupid rolling ball.
    the first game I ever finished was in a free arcade that you rent out for parties, I finished up the awesome X-men and Aliens games years later. since then I haven’t been able to finish any of those old games, mostly cause I didn’t have a system to play them.

    the only exciting game experience I had was playing terminator 2 in an arcade at a Nathans on Long Island and like 12 people were tag teaming that game to finish it. they were like 4 years older than me so I had to force my way into placing my quarters in the row which nearly got me beat up if not for my dad being near me. I only did the police stage halfway before being killed off.

    special game memories was at my middle school in Kissimmee they had the game Dino-park tycoon that everyone played in the library computer.


    This was an awesome episode, I particularly liked @MarcWithAC’s reminiscences. That game Brandon was trying to recall with the shooting forward/up at the same time thing was Moon Patrol, one of the cabinets I got the marquee from in my Gibsonton Picking thread.

    I’m definitely from the NES generation. I remember getting the Light Gun pack-in version with SMB/Duck Hunt pretty early on; so early in fact I have the Grey on Grey zapper that pre-dated the Safety Orange movement that hit every gun-shaped toy for decades after the police shot that kid up north that pointed a Lazer Tag gun at them. I’d had the Chuck-E-Cheese/Showbiz experience with arcades by then, and like others I would play arcade machines wherever I could find them (I have fond memories of playing a Bump-n-jump cocktail table at a sit-down Pizza Hut, and once made a flip book of it out of one of those little spiral notepads for writing down homework assignements). There was a Castlevania arcade cabinet that was a unique game, I think it was called Haunted Castle, but Jarrod was probably playing Castlevania on a Play Choice 10 which basically contained an NES with selectable games that would give you 2 minutes of play time for a quarter. But my formative experiences were definitely playing Super Mario Bros. with my mom.

    She was the computer teacher at my grade school, and would always try to learn the new warp zones or hidden blocks from the older kids, then run home and figure them out before my sister and I got out of school. Whenever we’d get to a new zone, it was always a huge deal. Of course, by the time she knew how to do whatever she had heard about, we’d already been doing it for a week, but that didn’t stop her from trying to stay ahead of us.

    Another crazy story from those days: at that same grade school one of the parents was doing some (I assume) volunteer landscaping on property. He was driving a forklift carrying sod, and his son was riding on the forks. The son fell off and went under the wheels, and ended up losing one of his legs. I was friends with his younger brother, and went over to their house after that. I remember his room looking like the kid’s bed from Flight of the Navigator with a pile of toys on it, and that was where I first played Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (and learned about phantom pains as he tried to itch his missing leg). When you’re 7 or 8, you don’t really understand the implications of that horrific incident, but looking back now as a father I can’t imagine being that parent.

    My cousins were PC gamers, so we’d always go over to visit them and I’d end up playing whatever part of whichever Sierra title they were stuck on. So I have vivid memories of certain screens from King’s Quest and Space Quest, and later games like Myst, though let me tell you how lame it is only playing a game like that from the point somebody who has been there all along got stuck. Without that context, it is terrible. One funny story I do recall there was when we were playing Police Quest and there is a sequence that requires you to win a hand of poker. None of us knew how to play, because we were kids, and so we had to have their babysitter call her boyfriend who knew the rules so he could beat that part for us.


    One interesting thing about the early console wars was that at least where I was from, the Sega Master System was so scarce I didn’t even realize it was a thing. By the time I started hearing about Sega, it was the Genesis, and I just couldn’t understand how that was getting outsold by the NES. I have a Master System now, but I only got it a few years ago when I happened to be at a used game place and a dude traded it in while I was standing there. I think I got the whole thing with the 3d glasses peripheral for $50.

    I actually have a super nerdy story about getting a Genesis too:
    At the time, 91 or 92, I decided I was going to get a Genesis specifically so I could get a SegaCD. I was ABOUT Marvel comics at that time (as was everyone), and so for whatever reason my parents decided to give me the money to buy a genesis myself for my birthday instead of just getting me the system. Well, there was an older kid at school who was going to I guess in retrospect MegaCon, and I was like “yo, buy me some things and I’ll pay you back!” And so he bought a ton of stuff, without really establishing a cap with me, and then came back to school talking about “yo dawg, you owe me all this money.” And I was like “Sure, sure, here’s all this birthday loot, let me get them comics!” So my mom was NOT happy about that, and took it to the principal, ultimately getting some school-wide legislation on bringing comics to school put in place. She banned me from buying them, and that was pretty much the story of how I stopped collecting comics because I spent my video game budget on them.


    When you grew up you should have bought a bunch of comics and told her you spent your college money to get caught up on your comics

    After listening to all the stories, it seems like i am part of a minority of people who didn’t have parents that enjoyed games with them. My whole family, besides my uncle, thought these systems were pointless. My grandmother forced me out of the house after 11 and i would go to my cooler friends that had cool systems.

    My consoles were atari 2600, nes, genesis and sega cd, lastly n64


    I got a play station for x mas from my dad when it first game out, I got ff7, a spawn I think and couple games other I dont remember. I played the hell out of ff7 but I was pretty young so I didn’t fully get what was going.


    @pseery80 Jonna just happens to have a very cool dad (he’s even been known to cruise these very forums!) My dad had one WWI plan game he was really into (Wings 2: Aces High on the SNES) but he was lured in by his love of aeronautics, not the game aspect. Otherwise I don’t think Brandon or I had parents that had much tolerance for games.


    Well that’s good to hear @cap


    Thank you for this episode. To @bsbstomp and the Nerdy Show crew. You did an amazing job and put a lot of work into it. It is one of my all time favorites and I enjoyed every wonderful minute of reminiscing.

    I didn’t have any of the old consoles. My first console was the Playstation but I grew up with gaming computers. We started out with a Commodore 64 and I remember playing Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics on it as well as it crashing every time I tried printing out my art from the Sesame Street game.

    When we finally upgraded I remember playing games like Lemmings and Commander Keen through DOS and accidently wiping the hard drive when we tried getting the internet through windows 3.X. I grew up with the computer watching my dad play Doom and Civilization and sharing games with my friend.

    The things that I remember best though is Robo Pit on the playstation. I think thats where games first really started to catch my imagination. Before then games where just something I did. If I found a new game I was happy but they weren’t something I looked for. I first played it on a cousins console at a family get together of some kind. I just remember them playing that game as well as Twisted Metal. It was Robo Pit I became obsessed with though. I played it every chance I got during that time. When I went back home I determined that I wanted a playstation and my own copy.

    Robo Pit was a fighting game where you built your own robot from a selection of parts and then fought ranked enemies earning weapons from those you beat and losing weapons to those you lost to. I think it really caught my imagination because it was the first game I had seen where you could actually custom build something. You weren’t just given a character you could build your own and the gameplay was influenced with how you built your character. Not only that but you could earn new weapons and risked losing yours as you fought. Combine that with a multiplayer option and I was hooked.

    I started saving my allowance and got my little brother to go in half. I saved any birthday money I got as well. I was determined to get a playstation. I remember a christmas, I’m not sure if it was that one or a later one but with the Christmas money I had saved enough to buy a playstation. That was the year my parents got me one and I can’t really think of a better christmas. I had saved up a really long time for a kid and then there it was in front of me and I could use the money I had saved up to get a bunch of games and stuff. I think that is one of the most vivid gaming memories for me. I got Robo Pit and loved it. Spyro sparked my imagination. FF8 was my first final fantasy and I still have a soft spot for it. I know it isn’t exactly popular on here but for me it was wonderful. The graphics, music, gameplay, and story was something I had never seen before. It was my introduction to RPGs.

    Steam: Garayur


    I jumped to ps2 via my roommate. Now he cracked out on armored core for similar reasons, as well as Matt Hoffman BMX which got him into the Xgames.
    favorite ps2 games were front mission 4 and ring of red.
    Xbox was Xbox gave me bards tale and I think a game called crash, an over head racing game that you picked up weapons and shot at the other cars but was the beat was if you died you use helicopter to shoot at other players
    Xbox 360 boarderlands. X-men legends and ultimate alliance games were my drug of choice.


    I have experienced video games practically since birth. I watched my older brother play Super Mario in the crib. Apparently he beat the game at 4 years old and at 2 years old I loved to watch him play or so I’m told, I was too young. Our NES broke or something at some point so I only played NES a little bit. I played Super Nintendo Most of all. I love that ugly brick. We also always had computers so I remember playing a ton of old DOS games like Descent or pc classics like minesweeper and that one pipe laying game. The first system that I ever personally owned was the N64. Loved that thing too. Those terrible 3d models were so amazing at the time.

    Oh and of course the original Gameboy. Another brick I loved. I played my brothers original one for a while but I got a Gameboy Pocket when they came out. When Pokemon came out my brothers always had to use my GB Pocket to trade because the link cable we had to connect with had one big end and one small end, and couldn’t connect two original GB’s. The gameboy screen had such a strange color. That sort of greenish black and white. I was so impressed to see the difference when I got my Gameboy Color.

    Anyway, great episode guys. High five to whoever requested this microsode!

    Sage Zer0

    My early formative experiences with video games I’d say come in three stages. My first experiences to memory began in the mid 80s (Age wise I am between Cap and Hex if I remember right) my dad was fairly tech savvy so we had both an Intellivision (basically like a cheaper Atari and had most of the same games) and our Commodore64 and the first games I remember playing for those systems were the classics M.U.L.E., Pipe Dream (you build pipe systems to get water from a reservoir to a house(s)) a game called Lazy Jones, in which you ran around this massive arcade (which made it the oldest game I knew of which had mini games within it), and the classic Spy Hunter. To this day I still remember how to boot up the games from the 5.5″ floppies.

    Christmas 1988 my [family’s] first NES. It had been out for a few years and I had played it at a friend’s house before, but this was the one that was ours. We got the full zapper package that came with Mario/Duck Hunt, as well as Major League Baseball, Play Action Football, and Legend of Zelda (yes, in the gold cart). I remember myself, my brothers and a couple life long friends of ours coming over and taking turns on Super Mario Bros. while our dads watched the NFL playoff game downstairs.

    A couple years later I made some (looking back, pretty inexplicably great) cartridge trades with a guy I knew, and made off with the Ultra produced NES version of the original Metal Gear (friggin loved it but my brother was so much better than me at it), and one game that would have a profound effect on the rest of my life, Mega Man 3. I had played the first two some (I think 2 in fact was one of the first games I beat), but to me at least, this one blew them completely out of the water. The characters, the designs, and OHMYGOD the music (I still say one of the top 3 soundtracks in the entire history of MM), they were all so amazing. Hell, one of my oldest friends still recants the tale of me showing up one day saying “Dude, have you played this game, Mega Man 3? That game is bad to the bone!” (and yes, some of us did use phrases like that, I regret nothing). Right then and there I was adamantized (can I use that here?) myself as a lifelong gamer and MEGA MANiac. Throughout the 90s I’d become a big RPG nerd, but that’s a tale for another day.


    Hey gang! @musical_jinn put this episode up on Reddit. Could use some upvotes if you’reable!

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