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Gaming Background's!
Okay guys, thought I'd take up the baton for trying to post a (bigish) discussion weekly to keep things moving on the forums. So, nowhere better to start than how we all got into gaming. Excuse the 'Mighty' post but its what comes naturally to me, sit back, have a read and don't worry about blabbing as much as I have in your replies.   Heart


Growing up gaming was a huge part of my daily life. At five I was diagnosed with Stills Disease and hyper-mobility. From this point my life changed. No more rough play, no more ‘unsupervised play’ but I needed a high level of exercise to strengthen muscles and protect my joints with the hope dislocation and joint damage would be avoided; it was and I haven't—touch wood—suffered in over a decade. However the first year was painful and because of that my mum used gaming (my trusty AMIGA600) as my reward or my distraction while I was working through the pain. Then in the summer some years later I was given a MegaDrive Mega CDII and that console carried me through until I was around twelve years old when my grandparents bought me my first desktop computer. I dabbled on my brothers PlayStation, his Game Boy and on friends consoles. I think I remember playing on one of my friend’s dad’s Snes a few times when I was around seven or eight and I vaguely remember asking for one for Christmas but wasn't lucky enough to get one. I didn't own another console until Christmas 2014 when HidYn bought me a PS4!

Back in 1997 I was bought my first Windows PC and the Amiga was reluctantly retired; and I really mean reluctantly. My mum ‘sold’ it to me, telling me things about ‘The Internet’ (insert pre-pubescent eye-roll here) and the actual monitor, not a 21” should have been binned, three times heavier than me TV (or the portable 12” when the footy was on and dad was using it). This computer had a mouse with three buttons instead of a joystick that suckered to the dinning table…

Being an old headed type of girl part of me just wanted to be left to the stuff I already knew, I loved to play the games I had over and over again trying to do them quicker or more ‘complete’. Ultimately the bundle of thirty new games aided my transition quite a bit. I don’t remember many of the games that were included in my first bundle but I know that Worms (joy! I have never been that awesome at that game) and MDK were part of it. I will be doing a play through of MDK at some point soon.

It was on this first PC that I discovered my love of strategy, simulation, and world building games and still, to this day my first ‘real’ PC game that I bought from… Electronics Boutique!! (Bloody LOVED that shop!!) Is still my all time favourite and I can say that despite the almost 20,000 hours I must have put into The Sims franchise since its release it is Lords of Magic, by Sierra Entertainment that still holds me captive. It has to be hands down one of the most enjoyable games I’ve ever owned. Never heard of it? No, I’m not surprised but if you love a dash of fantasy with turn-based strategy locate a copy AND IS NOW AVAILABLE ON STEAM!!! *SQUEALS* After that came my love of Theme Hospital (which I still remember the cheat code you needed to enter into the fax…) and several other games you’ve most likely never heard of either, Dracula (I cant even find that when I Google its that obscure), Populous: The Beginning. I’ve always loved the more obscure, not so main stream games and now theres Steam Greenlight Projects!!

I had numerous PC’s and a really crappy laptop but nothing amazing. I even had a 24” iMac for a while; which I loved to bits but found it incredibly daunting to use for various reasons. The huge screen for writing and Photoshop was brilliant (or even doing both at the same time) but I didn't use it for gaming. After our fourth Xbox360 died—they’d literally been lasting around sixteen months since release—and being a single mom of four I just couldn't afford to replace it and I looked longingly at upgrading to a PS4 but at the price they where it was never going to happen.
Shortly after starting to date HidYn, who was baffled by the fact I didn't have a PC or console at all in the house yet loved gaming sorted me out with a cute little thing as I’d completely given up with the laptop I’d bought it just wasn't capable of running anything but Windows and it struggled to do that. HidYn loaded a version of Linux onto it and I was able to play Prison Architect on it so long as I didn't go over 250 prisoners, or have a large map. It was supposed to be for me to get me back into writing, which two years on is still not really happening (baby steps people). It didn’t have anything ‘amazing’ inside but it managed Banished and Prison Architect and of course LaunchBox so I had all my MegaDrive games back! GET IN! I went through a stage where I played a lot of Altered Beast, Golden Axe, and Street Fighter and it has really made me really realise, not only how hard games  were back then but also how sometimes now, though its beautiful to see a game like Dying Light, or The Last Of Us it can also take away a little from the game play too. Gaming has always and will continue to expand, enhance and become more refined, becoming more realistic and we have the introduction of VR. Which the more and more I experience, the more I know, no matter how reluctant I try to be ultimately I’m going to end up investing a considerable amount of money and time into it. Being able to play something that looks completely unreal and become more immersed than you ever could be in any other kind of game played in any other format is a mind blowing experience and my kids love it too.

Presently ‘modern gaming’ in my home revolves a lot around Mine Craft—CREATIVE MODE! ARGH! Though we have managed to wean the kids off that and onto the Trine Games and Lego Dimensions though my older boy does try to go towards the more gruesome games which are quickly confiscated. Watching them play MineCraft in creative mode is so frustrating because my kids generally just don't ‘get’ what a huge, massive, enormous, gigantic world of immersion they have at their fingertips… They sit for hours playing it with no risk, no real aspiration and no, seemingly real achievement and I personally find that from just the bog standard edition, doesn't even need to be modded for me to have a lot of fun (we actually own MineCraft three times). My kids, like many their age it seems, load a map up and go look for an Ender Dragon… I’m not down with the cool kids so I don't have a clue what they're screaming about sometimes and even though I’ve played quite a few hours on MineCraft I’m not interested, I see an enemy and I’m running my ass off in the other direction or taking that $@*# down. I have spent the last eighteen months going through stages where I confiscating the brain-numbing disk and then giving it them back for a short time, I think we’re coming up to a period of time where they're going to have to go without it. I just find myself wondering to myself ‘what are they gaining from this,’ or they argue a lot because of it. Two years down the road we now have an Xbox One, both myself and Ali my older daughter have Nintendo DS (I have the XL version), two PS4’s and I have a (for me) monster of a PC and two monitors and!!! I’m utterly in love, I don't think I have ever owned a machine like it, HidYn did a very good job with building it. This moment as I sit here writing this Ali (9) is playing on the Sims 3, I/we are still trying to teach her to remember to change settings to get the prettiest experience she can get. She doesn't seem to care until I show her the difference. My middle two Andi (8) and Ana (6) are playing co-op on Trine 2 and Alex (4) is playing on Kirby Triple Deluxe and ‘killing all the things’! I—like someone else we know—own too many games to play and know whats going on in all of them without a quick recap but hes killing all the things and very excited about it. I figure that if I ever fancy playing on something it’s there, right? Anyway, they're all sitting playing nicely, quietly, talking about this and that game related and helping one another and… It’s something I never really thought I’d see.

To an outsider it may seem an obscure, unimportant subject to be questioning the relativity of life skill that can be obtained from gaming at its generally thought of as a form of escapism or even just a downright waste of time but it’s impossible for me not to see the positive possibilities when I know how gaming has molded me. Maybe I was always destined to be a little bit of a perfectionist who was thankfully also blessed with a high resilience to disappointment weighed in with a heavy dose of enduring perseverance, you know which you kind of need when you're like me and die on tutorials… But its also a brilliant skill for playing RUST, my new obsession which I am sure I will write about my experiences in the coming weeks…

For now I’m going to leave this here, please add your own experiences and reminisce about games in days gone by or open up discussions on the forums, which I and the others will of course jump on board and chat about.

~ Ren ~
Not ignoring this post and I will reply with a much more meaningful reply when I have time ha!

Enjoyed the read though!

"If It Ain't Broke, Fix It Anyway!"

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