The Very Best Of RPS 2013: Gaming Made Me

Gaming Made Me continues to be one of the best occasional features on RPS. The concept began back in 2009, as we talked about the games that had the strongest influences on us. We then started asking others, and indeed getting those who contribute to provide theirs. Back in 2011 Alec pulled together a collection of them all. Last year we pulled together 2012’s additions, and now here are the entries into the lexicon from 2013.

Nathan’s entry into the GMM canon took a different approach. Rather than picking a collection of games, he instead discussed the roll gaming violence itself has had on him. But it’s more than that. It’s a piece about how games themselves wormed their way into his adolescent mind, fuelled him, and drove him creatively.

“Around the ripe old age of seven, I became obsessed with Warcraft II. Obsessed in the strictest sense of the term – in that unfaltering, unquestioning childlike fashion we all wish we could recapture and hurl in the general direction of our wildest hopes and dreams, resulting in a froth-and-spittle enthusiasm explosion. I spent months playing and replaying the campaign, making my own maps, imagining new scenarios, wishing I was a badass ogre mage, poring over official art, and – perhaps most impressively – making my own. These were full-blown artistic endeavors, too. My Sistine Chapel was a series of me-sized paper recreations of pretty much every unit in Warcraft II. To be clear, I mean that they were my height. Gleaming, glorious, blood-soaked warriors of suitably imposing stature. My paper dolls were not to be trifled with.”

Adam’s first plunge into the GMM pool this year was Another World (or Out Of This World for emigrants). With the 20th Anniversary Edition released, it seemed an appropriate time to fly back in time a couple of decades and recall what a teenage Smith thought of Chahi’s classic.

“The opening chase, capture and escape are the moments that live strongest in my memory. Weird, wonderful, full of threat and subversively educational without featuring a single tutorial or button prompt. If you don’t swim to the surface when you find yourself inexplicably transported into a tendril-haunted fathom, you die. If you don’t kick out at or jump over the alien ooze-slugs that litter the landscape, you die. If you don’t run, you die. Another World teaches by killing but every death contains a clue for the next attempt, sometimes by forcing a change of direction, sometimes by suggesting an entirely new approach.”

In July Cara headed to the pub with Charlie Brooker to discover the games that made Mr Television. You can find part one here, and part two here.

“I didn’t have money to go and play them, but I’d stand there and be and they’d be on attract mode and I’d be sitting there fiddling with the joysticks and convinced myself that I was actually playing the game even though I wasn’t. That would be the highlights of the trip to the swimming pool.”

We mentioned this yesterday in the Best Of Interviews, but that won’t stop us. Craig explains how the demo for 1998’s Trespasser was a game that made him, by interviewing himself:

Craig: I looked down and I have boobs!

Me: Yup. That’s a feature. In order to create a more immersive experience, they removed the HUD. The character’s health bar is actually a tattoo, and when she picks up a gun she reads out a rough estimate of the leftover ammo.

Craig: I’d like to immers –

Me: I’m begging you not to finish that sentence.

Earlier this month Adam explained, inspired by The Pinball Arcade, how pinball has been such a huge influence on him.

“While my friends wandered off to look at posters of Kurt Cobain and have their tongues pierced, I pumped my money into The Creature From The Black Lagoon and Scared Stiff, bruising the heel of my hand against the glass whenever a ball drained right after launch and gradually learning to shed my British inhibitions and follow the advice of Umberto Eco – “You don’t play pinball just with your hands, you play it with your groin too.”. He’s right.”


  1. bstard says:

    I expected something like the very best of mz Streisand’s empty CD.

  2. rooppa says:

    Would be interested if any pictures of the Nathen sized paper orc’s survived the passage of time.

  3. TWChristine says:

    I was shocked to see that (one of my all time favorite pieces on RPS) Colossal Cave Adventure was not included in the list and then I thought “Oh, well it must have been last year then..silly me!” But no. It was from 2011. The rate at which time has apparently flown by saddens me. The silver lining I guess is that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all that RPS has offered! Here’s to another great year! :)

  4. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I have to confess, when Ms Ellison did that interview I had no idea who Charlie Brooker was. I know now, but when the interview appeared I was a bit confused.

  5. DanMan says:

    Another World HD is on Steam sale right now for 2,50€. Just sayin’

  6. Laurentius says:

    As far as I remember Eco’s Foucault’s Pendolum and that bit about playing pinball, it was rather highlighting the fact it is woman’s groin that helps playing pinball and man’s groin is kinda obstacle in a way.

    • jrodman says:

      Yes, it was a sort of a little metaphor of Belbo’s viewing of women as superior in one of his many twists.

      She applied nudges to the table, physically, via her groin.

    • psepho says:

      Yes — he takes the view that the male anatomy presents an obstacle to truly great pinball playing. I would imagine that the impediment is greater for some than others, though, which may explain why I am so crap at it.

      I thought Adam’s article was one of the best things on RPS this year.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      True! It’s never been a problem for me though. Hmmm.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Some might consider it an obstacle. Some of us find banging the groin into a pinball machine a source of stimulation.

      • The Random One says:

        That depends on what kind of score you’re going after.

  7. jrodman says: