Growing up a Gamer
What was the first gaming console you ever had? I still remember as a child, my dad took us to Kmart to pick up and Atari 2600. The first 2 games we got were Pac-Man and Combat. My brother, sisters, and I played for hours. Mom and Dad even played with us. So many hours of fun, we would even occasionally rent games from a retailer in the nearest city (I grew up in a small town). Demons to Diamonds, Pitfall, Yar’s Revenge, Berserk, so many games from way back when graphics were shit, and all you could hope for was solid gameplay. Sometimes they delivered, sometimes they didn’t. Either way, the sound would suck too.
I’m sure most of the people reading this probably have no idea what Atari even is. Anything before Nintendo must have been the dark ages. Pony Express, rotary phones, no internet, etc. The Atari 2600 was a revolution. Not the first console; but the first with changeable games. Cartridges, instruction manuals, paper (cardboard?) boxes. No CDs, no plastic cases. A much simpler time, and it was glorious. Literally, some games were just blocks and the occasional beep, no “ending” just more of the same, repeating over and over.
I still remember when the Nintendo arrived. I was the only kid in my class without one. They would talk about games, and I would talk about only having an Atari. I felt so left out and uncool, waiting and waiting for the day I would get an NES. Finally, after what seemed like forever Christmas arrived, and we got an NES. I played Mario for hours and hours. I got Godzilla and Ninja Gaiden and played the hell out of them too. So much fun, everything that made gaming fun with the 2600 kicked up several notches. Better graphics, sound, “real” music. I was enamored, and the rabbit hole was long past. There was seriously, no looking back. The console wars were in the early stages by this point; but my family was not rich, so there wasn’t much chance of playing on a Sega Master System. I would get the chance if we were out shopping, but that was it. Another year or so later, and my brother and I got Gameboys. Green and black with all shades in between, portable gaming. Tetris was an addiction, if me or my brother weren’t playing on it, Dad was. Games have a way of bringing families together, although that doesn’t mean the whole family will be good at them. Sometimes the most fun was laughing at each other, even if we couldn’t pull it off, the cheering section was great, so were the laughs.
Moving on to the higher end of the console wars, SNES vs Genesis. I got an SNES first and holee shit, Mario World was awesome! I even played all the way through to 96 stars(No small accomplishment, I’ll have you know). I will happily go on record as saying the SNES was and is, the greatest console ever. Arcade quality graphics (from back when arcades were still a thing, and popular), digitized voices and music. Literally the best parts of the NES kicked up even more notches. I eventually got a Genesis, which was a mixed bag. Not every game was a winner; but it was still a great system. The exclusives were cool, Sonic, any Sega branded games; but the SNES was far superior in almost every way. The Sega CD add on took the Genesis to another level. One of the best games I have EVER played, was a Sega CD game, Snatcher. So great, point and click, shooting, a 30 minute long ending.
Eventually I would move up to the Sega Saturn, a real gem of a system. Arcade perfect ports of Sega`s heavy hitters, all exclusives. The Virtua Line, all of them on the Saturn, and so the disc era was truly born. Sony put out their Playstation line around this time, and Nintendo tried the N64 (of which I was NOT a fan). Sega`s last attempt at a home console was the Dreamcast, and unfortunately, it bombed. Sony went on to win that generation hands down (even if only in my opinion), and would hold the title for years until Microsoft came in to challenge the throne. The N64 has some rabid fans to this day, with Goldeneye, Zelda, Mario (their poster boy), and even I liked some games; but for the most part, it didn’t take off like anyone hoped.
As you all know, (or should) there were more to come. Gamecube, PS2, XBOX, DS, PSP, and on and on until today.
What was your first system? Share your memories.
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