For a brief period of time, I had a GameBoy (long story) with Kirby’s Dreamland, Tetris and Super Mario Land, which I played for some time. I’ve never owned another handheld gaming device since and used other subsequent Gamemboy iterations, PSP and GameGear for only a short period of time.
Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, PSM and Nintendo Power magazines and occasional newspaper articles were how you learnt about games back then. You had to wait per month for game news updates.
I remember the cover of one PSM issue had a commissioned illustration of Yoshimitsu being knocked down by Jin Kazama, featuring Tekken 3 and on the inside a quick breakdown of how the artist created it. That stuck with me after all these years.
The game music during the 90s (and early 2000s) is timeless! Whenever I hear anything iconic from that era, it instantly hits home for me and sometimes takes me back to my early gaming days; I sometimes listen to game music while I work.
I would go to the nearby parlour with 2 units, or the several Arcades available if I were walking home after school. There were guys in the Arcades who were alphas or considered sort of Gods in certain games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat and eventually, Tekken 3 when it came out. People would place their coins on the machines in a line to challenge them and one after one they’d fail miserably. That’s something you can’t really re-create with online gaming I think.
Metal Slug was a favourite of mine with friends and my first introduction to one of my favourite game franchises, Tekken, was Tekken 2 in the Arcade.
The Early 2000s
PS2 & GAMECUBE
When the PlayStation 2 (PS2) came out I also lived on games like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, Gran Turismo 4, Medal of Honor, Tekken 4 & 5, and Grand Theft Auto 3. By then “cracking” your PlayStation 2 was risky, so we had only a limited number of original games. Due to the disc format of games, being easily scratched, renting Playstation 2 games was rare as well.
We also had a Gamecube and I played a few games on it such as Luigi’s Mansion, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II and my favourites, Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
To this day, the Gamecube controller is one of the best controllers I’ve ever used. Mario Sunshine was probably the last 1-player Mario game I ever got deep into, though I never completed it.
When I started working in the early 2000s I saved up and a good friend helped me make a then-powerful PC for graphics to start my freelancing ventures.
I had numerous games such as Lemmings, Worms Armageddon, Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, The Sims 2, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and my favourites Grand Theft Auto 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Unreal Tournament.
Those were the days of dialup internet and I “acquired” games from an IRC channel I co-ran. Games took literally days, sometimes a week or more to download depending. I got a few from friends who did the same.
Dialup online gaming was so bad in those days, the host of a WAN battle in Unreal Tournament would always win because the lag was so bad for other connected opponents.
I loved playing Return To Castle Wolfenstein late into the night after work and was actually how I learnt about Hitler’s “supernatural ventures”.
The last video game console I owned was a PlayStation 3 (PS3) which I really bought for my son. I only played a few games, not in their entirety, such as Tekken 6, Gran Turismo 5, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Need for Speed: Underground and the last game I attempted was The Last of Us, which came highly recommended by my younger cousin, Sunjay, the younger brother of Sandeep.
Since I realised I’ve mostly used it as a Netflix box I never bothered with another Gaming System though my friends and family have some of the latest.
We never owned an XBOX, which is sacrilegious for us PlayStation gamers. I did play Gears of Wars briefly over at a friend’s house once and Halo one night at my cousin-in-law’s place.
I soon realised I had little to no interest in gaming by myself anymore. Accomplishments in games didn’t transfer over to the real world and I started feeling like I was wasting time.