Just assume that most people you encounter are clueless, unless proven otherwise!

gaming through the years

April 25, 2009 1:51 a.m.

I've been an avid gamer for as long as I can remember. Gaming was part of my culture while growing up. Being born in the early 70's allowed me to participate in some of the best games ever. Games that started it all and will never be forgotten, at least by me!

My first recollected game console  experience was Pong. For those that don't know, it was a really basic game that allowed you to move your paddle by turning a knob/dial to hit a ball (square dot) back to another player. Pretty much like tennis, but it was badass for the time.

Then in 1977 the Atari 2600 hit the market and started the widespread use of home gaming consoles... I never had one, but some of my friends did, so I frequented their house as much as possible. This console revolutionized the home gaming console experience. Not to mention, created some of the most famous games of all time. Space Invaders, Pac Man, Centipede, etc...

Over the years, there have been several releases of game consoles. More from Atari, Odyssey, Intellivision, ColecoVision, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, XBox, etc... Somewhere in the midst of all these, home computers started becoming fairly common in most households. This is where I really found the most fun in games. And yes, I'm talking about the Apple II, Commodore 64 and early IBM AT computers.

Computer games started off much more basic than the graphical game consoles. Most of the early ones were text based. I've spent more hours than I can count playing Zork and other similar interactive fiction text based games. Although, my greatest computer game experience in those early years was Wizardry by Sir-Tech. Which to me, was one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Matter of fact, I still have copies of that game on 5 1/4 inch floppies somewhere.

Then came the modems... This is where computer games shined and game consoles fell behind for me. At that time, I could use my modem to call a friend's computer and we could play Doom together.

As the internet evolved, so did gaming... I eventually found myself mostly playing FPS games. I could get on the internet, log into a game server and play against people all over the world. I did this with Quake, Unreal, Half-Life, Rainbow Six, Counter Strike, etc...

Then one day in 2001, I started a new job as sysadmin for a local company. About one month after starting I was asked by a fellow employee (thanks Mike) to consider playing a new game. This game was considered an MMO. Although, I'm usually opposed to paying monthly subsciptions for games, I gave it a shot. Well, it appears that I was born again!

MMOs appear to be the true games for me. Then again, I do tend to focus on MMOs that have a Medieval time frame. I don't care much for the futuristic or space based MMOs. I'm not really sure why I dig them so much. Maybe it's because you can be social or not, friendly or not, useful or not, helpful or not, etc... Similar to real life I guess!

I've enjoyed many MMOs over the years with the same group of folks. Which in my opinion, makes it that much better. My first and all time favorite was DAoC. I've also played Asheron's Call, Shadowbane, WoW and Warhammer Online. All with the same people and all with a lot of great memories. As friends we've joined guilds, formed our own guild, built cities, sold cities, made friends, offended, defended and everything else you can do in an MMO.

At this point, I've decided to give up gaming for a bit... Partially so I can focus on other things at the moment (work, family, friends, etc...). Games, especially MMOs take up a lot of time. Trust me! How many of you have ever woken up at the keyboard at 4AM running into a wall because you fell asleep and the whole group is bitching because you're the healer and people are dying against the big boss?

Anyway, I'm sure I'll play games again some day... Just not right now. And if I get the itch, I'll probably just fire up Counter Strike in WINE and satisfy my craving for the moment!

Games are good for the soul. Makes you feel like a kid again. All of us could use that once in a while!


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