Remember your first time?
I remember being at primary school, about aged 8, clueless to the workings of the world and more bothered about picking up the latest issue of Beano than talking to a ‘girl’.
I remember coming in on a Monday morning to school when suddenly my friend, Tristan, (who also shared my enthusiasm for crap that wasn’t school, or anything remotely useful), was propelled to ‘trendy twat’ status. I could not understand why all these people who’d rather beat our head in suddenly had the need to converse with him.
I wasn’t long before I discovered why…
After finishing school, and going round to his house, I was pointed in the direction of this grey box with a wire that led to another grey box. “What the fuck is this?” I proclaimed, and yes, swearing was needed. I was genuinely dumbfounded, which is and always has been a rare thing for me. Tristan positioned and pushed me towards the chair by his computer desk. Like an extra from Dawn of the Dead, I had my hands placed upon the keyboard, and looked at the screen with disbelief. “Hold the joystick and move it to the right” said Tristan.
“I’m controlling the screen!” I shouted, whilst staying completely fixated on the screen. I was playing a game called Goldenaxe. This completely overwhelmed me and fed into my imagination like smack to a heroin virgin. The realms of possibility had truly been smashed. From this point on I became a fan. I was bought a Commodore 64 for Christmas, and like N64 Kid I didn’t think things could get any better.
The overall point is that this represented a great change in my childhood. Out of literally no where I had migrated from pieces of coloured paper to a screen, a keyboard and a contraption known as a joystiq.
Games like Altered Beast, Grand Prix, Goldenaxe made the impossible possible.
Game companies like Ocean existed and rather than worrying about commercial success, content took a front seat. Alright it might have taken an eternity for Miami Vice to load, but that didn’t matter for the fact the game was epic – at least to me.
I don’t know what your first experience of computer games was like, but I have yet to a find a person who actually said it was shit. This was mine, and I hope people like Jack Tramiel are acknowledged for their contribution as opposed to being forgotten about, because the monolithic companies that make computer games today could learn a lot from his example.