Alright, I'm going to try and keep this post as short as possible although it's not going to be easy. Some of my earliest memories of video games include playing Super Mario on a friends Nintendo 8 bit, I'm sure all of you know which one that is but just in case you don't here's an image to trigger those brain impulses again:
I was maybe 5 or something when we were taking turns playing this although I remember my friend being a bad loser and using the "it's my Nintendo" card way too often to get extra turns. It was pretty fun but there'd be a few years until I had my own machine. There's some other memories of playing some DoS games, a pinball one I can't recall now and another one I managed to find the name of by googling "tank dos games" which turns out to be called "Tunneler" some of you boomers might remember that one:
I was maybe 6 or 7 when I finally got my own console, and it wasn't the Nintendo 8 bit but I got lucky and went straight for the Super Nintendo and it changed gaming for my child brain forever. I still remember the day I opened my birthday present and all my hopes and dreams came true, I probably felt like the Nintendo 64 kid but less psycho:
The games I spent the most time on there were of course Super Mario, they were almost always way ahead of their time. I remember we never got too many different games for the Super Nintendo, there were some things that came in the way of our living arrangements and we had to move quite often at the time so buying new games wasn't the highest priority. I think many of the games that were popular for most people at the time and pegged their S Nintendo memories to them are some I never played, such as Legends of Zelda and Donkey Kong, instead I had some games like F-Zero which was an okay racing game but not my favorite. The ones I spent the most time on were definitely Super Mario, Super Bomberman and Street Fighter 2. The latter was one of the best ones, the music, the graphics and the depth of the fighting was out of the world at the time in my opinion. Even though there weren't all that many modes just being able to beat everyone with each fighter was difficult enough. Who remembers trying to beat Bison with Dhalsim? I think that was the one that seemed the hardest to me but I could be remembering it wrong:
One thing I still remember to this day was how there was a place in Super Mario that we had gotten stuck, no matter how good we tried we couldn't make a jump to find out how the game continued. I also remember how curious you were as a kid just to progress into the game to see the new zones, new monsters and when you had to fight Bowser your heart was just racing like you were in a life or death situation in real life. Anyway, after many days of failing and somehow failing to realize that if you held the B button down while running he would run faster to make the jump I distinctly remember that I dreamt of the solution. I remember waking up and instantly putting on the game, making my way to the place where we'd fall down and die time after time again and looking at my brother and telling him "look at this" and literally making the jump on my first try.
Not telling him how I figured it out and trying to lay low on my new found dream powers so the government wouldn't kidnap me and use me for their advantage I played on for a few years but we had to move and I'm not 100% sure what happened to the Super Nintendo but I think we left it to some neighbor there as my dad promised me a Gameboy Color instead. Oh and before we move onto that I remember another game I got for the SN that I played quite a lot; Star Fox! I remember I had a lot of trouble finishing this one on the hardest difficulty and somehow I can still hear the voices of your team mates to this day:
Alright, Game Boy Color and naturally the first game as I imagine was for many of you too; Pokemon Blue:
This is where gaming started taking more and more of my time. If I had a Hive for each pair of batteries I wasted on Pokemon alone, well, I'd have a lot of Hive right now, especially in terms of fiat that went into them if it instead went into Hive today. This is also the era where internet started to be more common, although I realize that's not the same for the rest of the world, Finland was pretty ahead of its time here although not as ahead as the connection speeds Sweden was offering, our school still had one of those really old routers that'd take a couple minutes of annoying noises until the internet was turned on. The reason I'm bringing up the internet here is that after a lot of Pokemon gaming you got to a point where you had discovered pretty much everything and done everything in so many different save files, but once you started snooping around the internet of other people playing, cheat codes, glitches, etc it gave new life to the game. The mystery of being able to find Mew, the hopes, lies, disappointment when you made it to the truck on the side of S.S. Anne and was hoping that this occurred after pushing the truck to the side with Strength:
but instead realized the truck couldn't be pushed and it was just a rumor that started somehow and other very evil people edited out screenshots to make it look like it was real. Later I found out that the only way to get Mew was during an event where very few winners had to send their Pokemon Blue to receive Mew on the save file. Wonder what happened to those Mews over time as the game allowed for trading between players through a link cable. I never got into glitching too much, there was one I tried the one you could do in the Safari Zone and end up under the map but it glitched my game so bad I got scared and turned it off and hoped my save file hadn't gotten corrupted. Other than that the only glitch I felt comfortable enough was the famous Missingno glitch that made it possibly to get a big amount of an item you had in a certain position in your bag - which most people would use to get many Master Balls with. The funny thing here and something I was very proud of was that I noticed after facing Missingno my Pokemon Hall of Fame in the PC would change to random Pokemon that weren't the ones I had defeated the Pokemon League with, with enough attempts and knowing the code for Mew was in the game so it should be possibly I kept on doing the glitch, going to my PC in the nearest Pokemon Center and checking the 6 Pokemon of the Hall of Fame until one day I saw Mew listed there. So even though I never had him I got to see him in the game and I was pretty happy about having figured that out on my own.
I didn't play many different games on the gameboy, Pokemon was my favorite and after the 2nd generation was released I also played those to the same extent but not so much the other generations although I did give them a playthrough when emulators existed on the phone. During the gameboy days though and our parents had settled with a new home we got a Nintendo 64 as well. Being the Pokemon Nerd that I was I had to get Pokemon Stadium too and played that religiously as well, the fun part about it was that you could use your Pokemon from your gameboy to defeat the Stadium. My Mewtwo and other ones being all buffed up on
steroids hp up, pp up, etc had an easy time defeating it and your reward was that you could get more of the starter Pokemon's for a new save file and you could also store some Pokemon onto the N64 when creating a new game on the Gameboy to be able to run through it with all 3 starters which felt good without having to glitch the game.
Pokemon Stadium 2 was also fun but pretty similar, wasn't a big fan of Pokemon Snap, though, that felt like a big waste of money and €60 at the time was a lot of money or whatever the equivalent of Finnish Marks was. Super Mario 64 of course also one of the best N64 games, other ones I remember playing quite a bit were F1 World Grand Prix, Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Starfox 64 and Turok 2!
(I still remember almost giving up on Turok because I somehow got stuck on the first place for a week on something dumb I didn't understand, maybe some others of you may remember replaying this part as well trying to get further or it was just me, this screenshot will probably tell you a lot.)
Anyway, let's get to the real gaming now which is when I got my first PC! I remember I had worked really hard one summer, many overtime days even though a couple years later they made it illegal for minors to work overtime but I got my PC so I didn't care. It was a really good PC at the time, a pentium 4 with 1.3ghz, maybe 2 gb of ram and a harddrive that would fit all of 100 gigabytes of data, woah! I don't even remember what the GPU was but I'm guessing it was one of the earlier Nvidia GeForces if even that, the only thing I cared about at the time was that it could run the game some other classmates were playing; Medal of Honor Allied Assault!
My former gaming experience was about to change drastically now with online multiplayer existing. This was the game I've probably spent the second most time on and it was amazing, some people were playing Counter Strike 1.6 at the time but I didn't care, I had gotten into this and it had a very active userbase and some things CS didn't have that made me like it a lot more. I remember getting into my first clan and playing on their servers, they had a website that would track and save all stats to showcase daily and weekly kill/death ratio's for each map, ranking compared to others and I'd slowly move up the ladder every day until I was good enough to play in clanmatches! I can still remember some of the first clanmatches, they were so exciting. You were on TeamSpeak with your clanmates, calling out when you saw enemies, where you died, when you threw nades and other tactics. It was fabulous, nothing else could compare with the thrill and excitement close matches would bring with this game.
After years of becoming better and better I'd move on to play in tournaments on a website called clanwars, there were even national teams being built, the golden days of some of the early first person shooters and esports. Only issue I had was that I didn't speak Finnish, a few times I used to play for the Swedish teams just because I could understand them and they bought it that I was living in Sweden and just had a weird accent, but that was unfortunately shortlived as detection for cheaters would improve over time where they'd also check the IP of each player and found out I was playing from Finland so I got quickly kicked out of those tourneys. As serious as those tournaments took the game, unfortunately the company that had made them wouldn't, they didn't see the importance of the online competitive scene at the time and were mainly focusing on pushing out new version of the game and the single player mode which most people didn't really care about. This caused cheats to be created daily, some people created anti-cheat programs everyone would run but doing it just as a hobby would quickly become obsolete as cheat creators found ways to constantly bypass the programs. It got to a point where with your experience you knew someone was cheating due to the high level of competitiveness but you couldn't prove it and the userbase started shrinking with CS: Source existing and most moving on to it. Here's a random video about MOH:AA competitive gameplay, although in really competitive matches most you could see would be the head of the enemy as leaning was a big part of the game and it was one of the main things people did before moving forward around corners, etc:
After the game died out I don't really remember what it was I was playing actively but I do remember joining a friend and going to a big lanparty in Helsinki called Assembly which I believe is still actively organized once a year. My friend got me to try out world of warcraft in vanilla and I was relatively new to MMORPG's but I remember playing it for most of the lanparty and asking my friend a million questions about it while I saw him riding around his Kodo in level 60 gear. That's kind of where my competitive FPS career died down and I spent more time leveling up than I could've ever imagined, it didn't make it easier that my first level 60 was a Warrior who hadn't learned First Aid and I almost always forgot to buy food but somehow figured out that sitting would regenerate HP faster in between killing mobs.
You may as well easily fast forward a decade from here cause most of my gaming time would go towards world of warcraft. Some ins and outs between a few expansions and reminiscing of the old times and how fun it was back then and how easy/dumb the game had become ever since along with all other mistakes Blizzard made with the game that would completely take away its magic in my opinion, but still had a lot of fun with it nevertheless for as long as it lasted. Some of my best memories of the game were definitely PvP Arenas since the Burning Crusade expansion, raiding Karazhan in the same expansion with my small 10 man guild that we had a lot of fun with and doing battlegrounds during those times were pretty priceless. Wrath of the Lich King was also okay and great competitive Arenas but shortly after that I lost interest and it started to feel a lot more like work than fun somehow. I was never much into filling out my achievements nor was raiding that exciting to me, probably cause of the competitive nature I had gotten from MOH:AA I was always more into player vs player where each move could be something new where you had to adapt and act fast and not something already pre-determined where you just had to hope someone else in the raid wouldn't fuck up yet again to wipe everyone out.
Naturally I did raid as well for some time, you don't play WoW for 150+ days gametime without having raided as well, some of my best memories was in WoTLK where I got into this guild that required you to write an application longer than today's whitepapers asking you about anything and everything, even each of your keybindings and why you had chosen them. Needless to say they were pretty serious and we made it up to top 15 in EU for taking down new content fast and some of the funniest times were when an Alliance guild on that same server were trashtalking us on forums saying they'd be the first to take down the new bosses and we ended up taking them down as server 2nd on our alt character guild. There was no coming back from that for them.
Unfortunately back when I was at the top recording gameplay or frapsing as they called it due to one of the most popular recording softwares was fraps wasn't as normal cause you needed a really good PC for it. Streaming in general wasn't as big as it is today, nowadays new wow content gets streamed by most players attempting world firsts with casters talking over the attempts and everything. Esports has just gotten so much bigger even for games like world of warcraft which to many seem like they're either dead or close to dying. Here's a recording of one of the most legendary world firsts from a guild that absolutely dominated The Burning Crusade with boss first kills; Nihilum:
After WoW I've spent some time playing various games but never quite bothered with single player games that much, it felt like my competitive experiences in the past would just cause me to get bored playing through storylines, cutscenes, etc. I'm always looking for that PvP thrill of close games where tensions are high and the outcome depends on split seconds and millimeter precisions. A lot of my late 20s instead went into Counter Strike Global Offensive, but we've now come to a time where Hive came into play as well and many of you who've been following me over the years may have noticed me streaming these kind of games. TCG's have also been kind of fun ever since Blizzard released Hearthstone for mobile I've sunk a lot of time into it whenever I was riding buses to school or wasn't able to be on the PC, although I often wish some new games would come out to bring the magic of the first Pokemon games back for the handhelds. So far I haven't had much luck with that but who knows, the future for gaming is bright and even though for us who are here and aware of blockchain it's still pretty early I believe that blockchain gaming is just around the corner to be as great as previous games we've experienced and bring a whole new ecosystem to it that may even save some genres from their imminent demise. Hail Satoshi. :)
Gonna end this post with one of the best WoW Arena players of all time, may you rest in piece, Reckful. Trying to catch up to your level was something that made WoW fun for me for a long time even though no one ever could. <3
Thanks for reading everyone, it's been an amazing week to read so many entries to the @hivegc contest. Some amazing posts in there bringing forth so many memories of games I had completely forgotten until now. I love this community and am looking forward to see us grow. :)