Aug 19

For Love of the Game Episode 1 – Press Start

Have you ever stopped to think about how amazing the whole “gamer” thing has gone from being shunned 10 years ago to being such an everyday hobby? I remember being called a nerd, dork, or a freak just because I enjoy playing video games when I was in high school. Now, if you bring up that you are a gamer at a BBQ or a birthday get together and everyone seems to want to compare achievements and accolades like they’re badges of honour.

It used to be such a rare thing to find another gamer and you instantly became friends, regardless of creed or game style preference. I was exclusively a nintendo player when I was a kid but one of my closest mates was a Sega fan. We became friends because we were gamers. Nowadays, we seem to fight amongst ourselves. “What?! You don’t like Modern Warfare 2 ???? What the hell is wrong with you?? It’s the BEST GAME EVER!!!!” Or even if you do like Modern Warfare 2, “oh, you play it on PS3?? You’re a wanker!”. Have we really become that segregated?

Gaming has become like religion. There are many different factions but ultimately based on the same thing. Also, people’s passions towards their particular faction tends to be frowned upon by others. For example, a point and click adventure fan will rarely cross over to a first person shooter. But a first person shooter fan will consider the adventure game enthusiast a nerd, dork or freak. Funny how the cycle continues, isn’t it?

I tend to carry my “gamer-ness” much the same way I hold my religious beliefs. I respect that everyone has their own opinion but I also believe they have the right to keep their opinion to themselves and that I have the right to not have to hear their opinion if I do so choose. I don’t have a particular preference but I do see the appeal in all types I have seen thus far. This means that there are games I enjoy that I know no one else could. In other words, I like some really crap games. One such is Spy vs Spy on PS2. I love it but god it’s cheap and nasty.

So we come to the meaning of this little venture : for the love of the game. This is kind of my ramblings in the digital entertainment world and why would it appeal to anyone? Because I have seen the industry, the technology and popularity of gaming change over the years, but I was watching from the start. My dad bought an Atari 2600 and a Commodore 64 just before I was born and I have heard my mum speak tales of finding me setting up and playing these consoles before knowing how to talk properly. Playing Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Pitfall, Beach Head and so many others fascinated me and as time passed, I started something of a collection.

Today my collection is quite vast, ranging from that old Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 right through to the Wii, PS3 and 360 of the current generation and almost everything in between. I’ve made levels for DOOM and made a crappy little RPG game on PC for laughs (don’t worry about looking, I have the only copy). I work for a video game retailer and lately, I’ve been doing various reviews of titles for friends’ websites, including the one your are reading this from as we speak. But this series is not intended for reviews, though you may find some. It’s more about experiences in our love affair with this digital medium and reflections on past 1-ups lost.

So, over the course of this series, however long it may go for, I’m aiming to entertain and educate, in that order. There are many awesome industry stories and a rich history to go through. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll play. Game on, brothers and sisters, game on!

– Grant