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  1. #1
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    Gaming Made Me: Your games

    This could be fun - pick a significant game from your past and tell us why it's important to you. Doesn't have to be a good game, doesn't even have to be a game you like, just one that influenced you or shaped your taste in games in some way.

    Me? I'm going to go for The Chaos Engine.



    Growing up in a house with two brothers meant that games that were two-player were at a premium, and co-op games even more so. The Chaos Engine's co-op was frantic and brutal, and one mis-communication could leave one (or both of you) dead sharpish.

    But mostly for me it was the vast, sprawling worlds - when everything else I'd played was straightforward and linear, CE's levels often had an obvious linear route (albeit with backtracking for keys and doors) alongside a multitude of alternate routes - ignore the first golden key and pick up the one behind it and you might be rewarded with an extra exit, or collecting keys in different orders could make teleporters send you to different destinations. Worlds 2 and 3 even had alternate routes that spanned several levels, meaning you could only access the special areas in later levels if you'd taken a certain route two levels previously. To this day I still don't know how to get to certain areas - tantalisingly close behind an unbreakable wall, yet utterly unfathomable. I love that kind of complexity that rewards repeat playthroughs, especially going through and experimenting with routes, or ways of approaching the landscape.

    As a game I'm not sure how well it holds up these days - the archaic single-stick controls mean that a lot of artificial difficulty revolves around the in-ability to sidestep. Redoing it as a twin stick shooter would remove that, but whether it'd still feel like CE is another matter. Everything else around that would hold up I think - the inscrutable alternate paths and item usage is reflected in games like Dark Souls, and although it's been called visually dated I still love the art. Dan Malone is still around and being awesome while occasionally dabbling in games from what I hear.

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    Ok that's me done - what about you?

  2. #2
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    Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.

    It was one of the first RPG's I'd ever played and was wonderfully dark and gothic. Even though the gameplay was awful, it taught me how great music, voice acting and plot can really define a game and make it stand out in memory. No other game to my mind has ever produced such an evil, flawed yet oddly loveable anti-hero as Kain, and was one of the first RPG's to actually feature one.
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    Last edited by TheXand; 03-12-2012 at 03:08 AM.

  3. #3
    Network Hub Gwilym's Avatar
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    Dune 2, when I was about ten. Mostly I was in love with the soundtrack, and always will be, but at the time I was also obsessed enough with the premise and world that for a few years most of my creative output was fan-art/fiction of one kind or another. I find it utterly bizarre now that my primary school let me write and produce so many plays based on it (and I'm curious if there was ever PTA controversy over how violent they were, since they were done in school assembly, usually with parents in attendance), though in hindsight I really was just using the game as a springboard. The gameplay was also a fascination to me, and I made several attempts to adapt it to a board game, which I also find utterly bizarre since I don't think I'd actually played many board games at that point. It's a shame the information age has made this sort of naivete slightly less viable. It was productive.

    And now I'm trying to think of a Gaming Made Me where the game operated entirely on its own merits rather than as inspiration. I can think of some, but they all come from later in life, after I'd already been made by games.

  4. #4
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    Among the RPG's I have played before was the Dragon Warrior (the Dragon Quest)- just love the kill the dragon to rescue the princess story. I remember the eagerness I had in defeating the Dragonlord. It was such an amazing quest.

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node johnki's Avatar
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    Star Fox 64 and Jet Force Gemini. And later StarCraft. I came to love strategy games pretty early, but I still have a soft spot for good, arcade-inspired shooters.

    Star Fox was the pinnacle of a good difficulty level for me at the time. I only finally beat the brain version of Andross last year after trying a few times a year for 13 or 14 years, obviously often failing to stay on the track necessary to get to that version quite regularly. :P

    I still hate trying to get "Accomplished" on the train level to this day. Ugh. All of those switches haha.

    But yeah, the N64 was what really got me into gaming. And if you can't tell, I'm not all that great at the shmup genre, haha.
    Last edited by johnki; 03-12-2012 at 03:35 AM.

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node NecroKnight's Avatar
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    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 1 & 2- I've found the games just amazing, especially the setting. These games really got me interested in the WH40K universe and greatly sparked my love for it. To this day it still remains one of my favourite SF settings.

    Alice: Madness Returns- the game was so beautiful and rich in artistic detail. I just loved Alice and how she looked, also Cheshire Cat was cryptic and awesome. I remember when I first got to The Cardbridge; it was one of the most beautiful levels I have ever seen in any game before. It took my breath away and the music just improved it's fantastic atmosphere. I think playing this game left my with a thing for pale women with dark black hair, also green eyes. Watching Ergo Proxy kinda strengthened that.
    But where did he come from, this fleck of spite in an abandoned paradise?

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    I should not be allowed to play couch co-op. Ever.

    Baldur's Gate. I was about twelve or thirteen at the time, and way ahead of my entire class in terms of reading ability. Problem is, aside from Lonewolf I hated books, and my skewered impressions were not helped by every public English school's insistence on studying nothing but Shakespeare. Baldur's Gate helped me get over this, mostly by being really really funny. At times the snarky protagonist seemed completely aware he was in a video game.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NecroKnight View Post
    also Cheshire Cat was cryptic and awesome.
    As far as I'm concerned the Cat from McGee's games is the definitive Cheshire Cat.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ravelle's Avatar
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    Dragonball Z Ultimate Battle 22 (PSX)

    It was the time when Dragonball Z was all the rage and it was what I and my friends only talked about, we bought figurines,made drawings and printed pictures from the internet and show it off at school. And then my friend told me he borrowed some Japanese games from a friend of his. That being DBZUB22, a game was pretty bad looking at it now but at that time there was no everyday access to the internet to check reviews. We didn't know what was being said or what most of the controls were but it had a character progress mode in which you could level up the strength of certain attacks like punches, kicks or combos and we loved every bit of it.

    Thanks to that part of my gaming history thought me that reviews are just a man's opinion and its score doesn't make a game good or bad and that personal experience is more important than a game's review.
    Last edited by Ravelle; 04-12-2012 at 11:48 PM.
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  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Ugh... too much, I used to be an Amiga demo disk kid, I played a little bit of a million games at an early age. Many terrible, but I had a little office disk box of treasured demos, freeware and magazine packed in complete games that inspired great loyalty in me, indeed, my only paid title that drew anyway near as much attention as my innumerable demos was the Settlers, a series I still love to this day.

    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Similar's Avatar
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    It's not terribly original, but I think I'll have to say Elite. The first computer game I tried was the original Atari Pong and after that I tried another Atari console and some games in arcades and on a friend's Spectrum ZX81, but it was all Zaxxon, Centipede, Pacman, Space Invaders and such.
    Then in what must have been 1984 a friend's family got a BBC B (I think, judging from the descriptions), which was rather unusual in this country. We went to his home during the school lunch breaks and played Elite on it and I got a tad obsessed with the game because I'd never seen anything like it. I borrowed the manuals and the novel and copied all the ship designs by hand on gridded paper and learned their names.

    I got a C64 in 1984 or 1985 and later (probably 1986) got the Elite version for it. I played the same commander for three years or so and had stacks of hand written lists of prices on goods for various planets. I also ran into the tribbles and didn't know how to get rid of them, so I had to go back to a several months old save to survive.

    I didn't like the Amiga version (it felt too gaudy after the appropriately black and white of the C64 version), so my commander's life pretty much ended when I got the Amiga.

    I never got past Dangerous... I suppose there may be a slight chance one of my old save tapes still work.
    Last edited by Similar; 05-12-2012 at 12:04 PM. Reason: mumble...

  12. #12
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    Over the years there have been games that left a lasting impression on me. Mass Effect, Half-Life, Everquest, Goldeneye, etc. left behind memories that I'll never forget. The game that sticks close to my heart is Final Fantasy 6. This was the game that made me start caring about RPGs. I doubt I ever would have become interested in Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, World of Warcraft, or even Dungeons and Dragons if it weren't for this game. Story mattered in games for me after I played it, and games without a good story became boring quickly to me. This was a game that had 16 bit graphics and scarce cutscenes, and yet its story is undoubtedly the best I have experienced in any game. Also, this was the game that made me start thinking about game music, thanks to Nobuo Uematsu's outstanding soundtrack. I have played some great games over the years, but none compare to Final Fantasy 6.

  13. #13
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    I cut my teeth on Infocom's text adventures, and my early favorite was Planetfall. The world was really well realized, the puzzles were tough but fair (Infocom games generally were not infected with the "join choleric monkey to antique blunderbuss" style of puzzle solving that I feel often brings down point and click adventure games, and Planetfall was no exception), and the ending, which I can't explain further without spoiling, provoked a real emotional reaction in me.

    It saddens me a bit that the storytelling games were capable of in 1983 largely hasn't been replicated since, but there you go.
    Last edited by Herkimer; 05-12-2012 at 04:04 AM. Reason: i done grammar good

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Hmmm... What to pick, what to pick..

    Well, I think I started to have a passion for any game with any form of constructing with Dune 2000. A little kid back then and I find that constructing buildings and controlling units around was actually prerty fun rather than just jumping around platforms in the PSX. A refreshing change and that's when I also discovered RTS games.

    Then, I moved on to RollerCoaster Tycoon and started to be very, very much into designing rollercoasters in a sandbox(like) game and then SimCity 2000 where I discovered my love for simulation games.

    Then, there's RPGs. First was Pokémon Red, played that game to death and took it seriously in Emerald. There's Final Fantasy, which my most favourite is 9 which imo, a step up from 6 and all games after that. Then, Fallout came along that's where I discovered something more complex and interesting in RPGs. Though, I still hold my passion for Dragon Quest games. That takes something really special to top it off.
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  15. #15
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    Perhaps the original Sim City. It was the first time I'd seen a game that wasn't an action game. I'd always liked computer games in a fun diversion kind of way, but they were obviously far inferior to wargames and such. But Sim City showed me that video games were the future.

    More recently, Baldur's Gate 2. The first game was really good and important, but the sequel is just a fantastic game. Peerless. It was also the only game I've ever been particularly involved in multiplayer. I'd spend some time every night at least in the multiplayer lobby, for a good couple of years. The community was basically the perfect size, and PvP was extremely fun, significantly because it wasn't designed for PvP.

    I guess Thief also made a huge impression, coming at just the right time. It really is the perfect game for an unsociable 14-year-old. Most other action games involve the player character being fundamentally different from the player. They're big and loud and strong and so on. The player imagines being different in a world that is basically the same (where big brash and tough are the important traits). Thief is much more clever than this. It effectively keeps the player the same in a world that is completely different, where being an outsider that nobody pays any attention to is the most powerful thing to be.
    Last edited by NathanH; 05-12-2012 at 10:37 AM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Ugh... too much, I used to be an Amiga demo disk kid, I played a little bit of a million games at an early age. Many terrible, but I had a little office disk box of treasured demos, freeware
    Ditto, games were too expensive so we mostly had to make do with demos - my dad gave me hundreds one Christmas. The Settlers was great, though I couldn't quite figure it out.

    I wish I could find that gritty side-scrolling beat-em-up game (although technically the screen didn't scroll, you just moved from one scene to the next) where opponents had hockey masks and chainsaws, or were red ninjas.

  17. #17
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    Elite. BBC Micro
    Commander Keen. PC DOS
    Sim City 2000. PC Windows 3.11
    Putty Squad. Super Nintendo (and Zelda, and Mario)
    Transport Tycoon. PC DOS
    Worms. PC DOS
    Theme Hospital. PC DOS
    Star Fox 64. Nintendo 64
    Earthsiege 2. PC Windows 95
    MechWarrior 3. PC DOS
    Starfox 64. Nintendo 64 (Plus about every other N64 game ever released ;) )


    That's pre 2000 as far as I recall. Yep, too many for me to go into the details, and that's my cut down list.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus groovychainsaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    Ditto, games were too expensive so we mostly had to make do with demos - my dad gave me hundreds one Christmas. The Settlers was great, though I couldn't quite figure it out.

    I wish I could find that gritty side-scrolling beat-em-up game (although technically the screen didn't scroll, you just moved from one scene to the next) where opponents had hockey masks and chainsaws, or were red ninjas.
    ^
    ^Shadow warriors on the amiga, I played that game a LOT when I was about 10-11. One of the best side scrolling beat 'em ups I've ever played. I also refuse to go back to it in case that previous statement is no longer true :-).

    For me, I could pick easily 1000 different games (and many from the amiga era 'made' me more than later things). Cliched though it is however, Deus Ex had a huge impact on me at the time, it's the only game I've ever sat down and played for 24 hours straight, missing food etc.(!)
    Last edited by groovychainsaw; 05-12-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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  19. #19
    Dune (CD) Made me. Aged 9, I was a child that hated reading and had not read a book outside the classroom (and you can imagine what those were like). My parents attribute this to a terrible teacher of mine when I was 5 cruelly destroying all interest for me. Whatever the reasons, it was a shocker.

    Aged 9, I was also lent a game by my neighbour – Dune CD – which immediately sparked my imagination. I instantly fell in love with the art, the music, the depth of story and of gameplay and, of course, 9 year old me fell in love with the Girl.
    But there was a problem. Spice demands were exceeding my capacity to supply! The emperor was getting furious and everything I did ended in Harkonnen supremacy! I should have known what he was up to then!

    I turned to the film for inspiration. I was blown away by the atmosphere and the costumes and set design. Even I could tell the script was a bit of a mess but I loved it all the same. I fell in love with Chani all over again! But I found no answers.

    In desperation I turned to the book. I read the thing cover to cover and was blown even further away. I fell in love with Chani again again (I was young. Don’t judge me) but more importantly, I fell in love with reading. I probably owe my enduring passion for Sci-Fi to Dune as well.

    So, it turned me into the dashing, erudite rogue that I am today; the Duncan Idaho of our time if you will. But also the game itself was and still is a breath of fresh air. Spectacular to look at and beautiful to listen to. I have the soundtrack on my iDevice and listen regularly. But the blend of genres I still find inspiring and addictive and the way the game winds the story through pretty open gameplay is also pretty damn nice. I just… I love that game. It made me

  20. #20
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    Although I'd been gaming for quite a few years prior to it's release, Theme Park is probably the first game I really got into and spent every available hour playing. I used to watch my brother playing Wolf3D, DOOM, ROTT, etc. but never really enjoyed playing FPSes (still don't). I played Monkey Island 1 and 2, Civilization (also a candidate for a game that made me), MS Flight Sim 4.0.

    I first encountered Theme Park on my stepbrother's friend's Mega Drive and it was like nothing I'd seen before. I had to play it. I bought the game, despite not having a PC at home, and played it endlessly whenever we went to stay with my dad. I went back to it for years afterwards, bought numerous bargain bin replacement CDs due to losing/scratching them, and it remains king of the management sims for me, despite it's flaws. I never got into the Rollercoaster Tycoon games to anything like the same extent.

    I'd love a modern version of the Theme Park style of management sim, and have high hopes for Prison Architect, which does scratch some of those itches, albeit without the humour. I was hoping it'd materialise on GOG after seeing Theme Hospital on there (another favourite of mine) but I assume it's absence is something to do with licensing and the microtransaction-filled abomination that is the Android/iOS version. (Yes, I'm also backing Project Godus as Peter Molyneux and Bullfrog have provided me with a disproportionately high number of my favourite games - I'm hoping, perhaps in vain, for another classic.)

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