Posts Tagged ‘Raised By Screens’

Raised By Screens, Chapter 13: Doom

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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Raised By Screens, Chapter 12: Sam & Max Hit The Road

Note – this series has primarily been for RPS Supporter Program members-only, which is why you probably can’t find most of the rest of ’em, but I unlock the occasional chapter for everyone (along with many of our other initially subs-only features).

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.

The last chapter was dedicated to my brief, complete immersion in point and click adventures generally, but among the slew of comedy puzzlers I devoured at that time, one particularly stands out. For many years, I’ve reflexively said its name when asked what my favourite early 1990s PC game was (or at least my second-favourite; my most beloved game of all time will be discussed in the next chapter, and will hardly be surprising to regular Rock, Paper, Shotgun readers), but until very recently I’d never thought about why. For the longest time, I said its name purely from fondness – whenever I thought of that era of gaming, this was the title that I simply felt warmest about when I conjured its sights and sounds in my memory. It’s time to try and discover why that is. It’s not purely because I regularly find myself whistling the incidental music.

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Raised By Screens, Chapter 4: Alien


This article was originally published as part of, and thanks to, the RPS Supporter program.

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.

“So can the cat be the android?” “Yeah, definitely.”
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Raised By Screens – Chapter 1: The Hobbit

I’ve written before about the games that ‘made’ me, but really that refers to a specific type of touchstone, the sort of game which informs the games I most enjoy today. There were many others whose formative effects are perhaps less certain, but at the time they seemed boundlessly important to me. They raised me. They helped fire a young imagination into life. They carried me away from problems at school and at home. They are, I suppose, family, and just like family, I don’t necessarily have to think they’re wonderful in order to know that they’re important.

This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to a memoir – dancing through 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.

Whirr. Click. Squawk. A tape plays, a screen flickers into life, a memory is born. A first memory of a computer game, of an introduction to what computer games were.

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