Raised By Screens is probably the closest I’ll ever get to a memoir – glancing back at the games I played as a child in the order in which I remember playing them, and focusing on how I remember them rather than what they truly were. There will be errors and there will be interpretations that are simply wrong, because that’s how memory works.
Note – due to a silly error on my part, this chapter is out of chronological order. If I ever compile the series, this would become chapter 12 and the UFO Enemy Unknown essays 13 and 14.
As much as PC gaming was my escape, just about my only psychic refuge during the unhappiest years of my life, it didn’t do me any social favours. Despite the great longevity and multiple resurgences of the PC as a gaming platform, there’s a fundamental aesthetic difference which persists even to this day – the solitary, bespectacled man sat at an ugly desk, leaning into a small screen versus a pack of sociable fellows lounging on a sofa, gamepads in hand, hooting at a large television set. I’ll defend the superiority of choice and inventiveness on PC with my dying breath, but it’s just not cool, is it? I’ve long since ceased to care about such things, but as a schoolboy in the early 1990s, having a PC rather than a console was at least as much a curse as a blessing. The spod with his beige box. The fascination with specs and speeds, the absence of big, characterful mascots, the keyboard. It’s as though I actively wanted to be an outcast.
And then Doom.
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