Post-election I have suddenly found a renewed sense of comfort in video gaming. I don't intend to hole myself up in a bubble of open-world trophy hunting for these next eight years, but I think I'm going to need the distraction more than ever. So I spent the weekend finally finishing the latest Call of Duty campaign (Infinite Warfare's campaign is among the best of the series).
Somehow I got to thinking about my introduction to video gaming. I think all the talk about the Playstation 4 Pro has got me thinking about the various consoles over the years. I can still vividly remember the first night I picked up a controller, but I figure I should write these memories down now while I remember them.
The year must have been between 1998 and 2000. That would make me between 8 and 10-years-old. My parents took me along for some social obligation. It might have been a holiday party. I vaguely remember it being cold and dark outside. I can't remember much other than the fact I was hanging out with all the other kids in one of their rooms.
The kid whose name I can't remember at all, so we'll call him Josh, had a Nintendo 64. For people my age, the N64 is an important piece of hardware. It's one of the most beloved consoles of all-time and with good reason.
We were upstairs in Josh's room and he put in a game called Rainbow Six. At the time those words meant nothing to me. I had barely any concept of who Tom Clancy was much less what Rainbow Six was much less an idea of what video games were. We all took turns playing a level and it came time to my turn.
This is my first time ever holding a video game controller. As much as I love the N64 controller, its design layout kind of defies any logic.
I'm in a mission where I had to approach a barn at night while wearing night vision goggles. Rainbow Six is a tactical shooter where you play as a specialized soldier. So when I was handed hte controller not knowing at all what I'm doing I ran into the barn guns blazing and took out the tango inside.
I remember Josh being impressed. Despite my lack of tact, I did take out the bad guy. That was an important moment whether he realized it or not, because I distinctly remember Josh and the other kids not berating me for a game moment that had made me feel very foolish.
One thing led to another and we decided to put in another game. This was Goldeneye 007. That's a video game that holds a special place in many people's hearts with good reason. It's one of the best shooters of all time (though it does not hold up) and it was one of the first to perfect split-screen competitive multiplayer.
Josh had the game for a while and had unlocked all the cheat codes. This meant I could run around guns blazing and not worry about running out of ammo or dying, you know, like real life. We played the Silo level, and I distinctly remember Josh planting the Plastique explosives and blowing up everything in the level.
I'm sure we played other levels that night, but I can't remember. But the Silo mission holds a special place in my heart. As a youngster who idolized action heroes like Indiana Jones, this was a fun simulator for me. Shortly after, my older brother Andrew gifted me my own Nintendo 64 with GoldenEye 007, Rogue Squadron, and The World Is Not Enough (which was not nearly as much fun as GoldenEye). After that he gave me a GameCube, and several consoles later I am the avid gamer writing this today.
I wonder how my gaming habits will change as I get older, but I'm fairly certain at this point that if I was going to grow out of gaming, I would have by now. Which then gets me to wondering about what my kid's first gaming experience will be. With the dawn of VR and AR, it's a safe bet it will be nothing like mine. But that's as much as I can remember of mine.