Monday, October 31, 2011

Day Zero

Time to finally start doing something I like: Playing games (and then blog about it). I've been playing games since I was 9 years old. It all started when my dad brought some weird looking machine into our home. To play a game you had to turn on a cassetteplayer and type in some code. At first I was a bit sceptic but when it actually worked I was quite intrigued. 

At some point I got the hang of it and my dad brought some books with more weird code in it. So I started to type them in and see what they would do. All kinds of funny graphical generated images were displayed. But when my dad brought some (actual) games with him I was hooked. I played Thexder, Boulderdash and some game with a yellow creature that could stick to ceilings. Had to grab some stuff before the other monsters popped and escape (if anyone knows the name of the game please let me know). And all that gaming was done on an awesome joystick. That joystick was my first introduction to controlling a game with a button or movement. Oh the memories...

The Arcade Joystick (2-Button Masher)
Nowadays I know it's called a MSX computer and that the code I actually typed was a piece of programming to start reading a certain hardware. But at that time I didn't much care about the technical stuff I just wanted to play more games.

At some point a new gaming console was released: the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). And guess what? A friend in my class already had it! Oh yes, you guessed it. Whenever I had to chance to play at my friend I just had to play that console. But I also had to play it right so he didn't notice I was there only for the console. Don't get me wrong, he was still a friend even without the console, but with the NES he was a bit "more" then the rest of my friends. What a good time that was.

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Suddenly all hell broke loose. We had to move!?! My parents wanted to live somewhere else and we (my 2 brothers and sister) had to move with them. As a 11 year old you don't have much say in this so you just accept it and move on. But saying goodbye to some of my dearest friends still left me scarred. I still went to visit a friend in my old town in the summer holidays but when you live apart you eventually grow apart. So we moved and I still had to go to basic school for 1 more year. A year I wasn't really looking forward to as I knew I would probably not see many of my classmates the following year. I was soooo wrong...

The day I stepped into my new class I had zero friends, but when I left school for that day I think everyone was my friend. I surely didn't see that coming but it was a relieve and made me forget about my old friends fast (out of sight, but never out of heart!). The class wasn't a really big class but we had a lot of fun that year. But eventually my inner spirit started to long for games again. And not long after I found my "favorite" friends... and they all had NES systems. A the golden age of gaming had started.

A whole year flew past and then there was a big announcement. There was a new Nintendo console out! The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It looked awesome! So I made a deal with my eldest brother. We would trade in all our christmas presents for 1 SNES with a game. At first my brother wasn't really sure but he did say yes eventually. So we put only one request for a present in our shoes at the chimney (and yes we knew at that time that Santa Claus could never fit through that damn small chimney and that our parents were the ones putting it there). So we had big hopes to get our single present because we didn't request anything else. It's hard to pick a different present if you know your children didn't ask for it.

The original Streetfighter 2 SNES Bundle.

To cut a long story short, we got it! The SNES with Streetfighter 2. That console got so "abused" by us and our friends. I even got a sore thumb by making all the sliding d-pad movements. At one time a button wouldn't work anymore because I had been playing so much it probably got overheated (or overused). That was the time I actually took breaks from playing. After some time I knew all the characters and their moves. Maybe I would have been a high ranker at that time but you can only dream of that now. What a golden age of gaming that was. I still enjoy thinking about those early moments with the Nintendo consoles.