It was 1980, I was 6, and the only Christmas present I asked for was an Atari 2600. Of course in 1980 I believe it was just called Atari VCS as it didn't get branded 2600 until 1982 when the all black Darth Vader version came out.
My dad pulled A Christmas Story move and hid it, letting me open all my other presents and asked if I had gotten everything I wanted. Of course I said 'Yes' as I wasn't a spoiled little shit. I appreciated whatever I got. An hour goes by and my dad says that it looks like we forgot one. He points and I see a large present hidden behind the tree. Much like Ralphie knew it was his Red Rider BB gun, I knew right away it was my Atari with the killer wood grain on the front. Stylin!
I was hooked. My family couldn't afford to keep up with the consoles that were to follow so I never had a ColecoVision or Intellivision. But that's okay because with a Putt-Putt arcade across the street from my house, that's where I lived until the arcade crash and the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System. (NES)
The NES was another Christmas present and for me is really the system I'll always love the most. To me it really kicked the home gaming craze into overdrive which hasn't stopped since its release. So many of its games were classics that created so many memories, like beating Mike Tyson, slaying Ganon, killing Dracula or FINALLY finding, not beating, FINDING the last damn level in Blaster Master.
For years to come NES games were what all my paychecks from teenage jobs went towards. At age 17 I had over 100 games and even started renting them to friends....Yes renting.....I eventually started selling used ones to buy new ones. I think I invented that business hahaha.
NES led to me working at a Software Etc.. game store and my SEGA Genesis, Super Nintendo, SEGA CD, 32X and yes, I even bought a 3DO when it first came out for like $700. Throw in a SEGA Saturn, Dreamcast & Playstation and that's where it pretty much ended for me.
Playstation was great, but for some reason during that time I just lost interest, not sure why. I feel like the quality of the games being made just didn't have that imagination I felt NES games had. It seemed like too many companies focused on trying to pump out games with the best graphics, but put zero focus into the actual game or gameplay. Was I crazy or was that true? You tell me.
At some point I bought a GameCube, I believe just for Star Wars. But again, unimpressed, I lost interest. Not even the release of PS2 or Microsoft throwing their hat into the ring with XBOX was enough to bring me back. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz
Enter the Wii. FINALLY, the company who brought me my wonderful NES has returned with a fresh approach on how we play games. Bought one and loved it for a while, but realized the reason I was loving it was because I could download and play all the old NES games :) Back to darkness, the release of the PS3 and XBOX 360 comes and goes.
Late 2012 a friend tells me about Dead Space by EA for iPhone, so I give it a try. Wow, this is my type of game. The creepy atmosphere, the feeling of loneliness, I was hooked. It very much reminded me of Project Firestart for the Commodore 64 which also was created by EA. If you haven't played Project Firestart on the C64, try and find time to as it truly is a classic not many people know about.
I discover there is a bigger and badder version of Dead Space on the XBOX 360 and PS3. Okay now I'm interested. A friend at work tells me the God of War series for PS3. I check out a few YouTube videos of that and Unchartered which leads me to asking for a PS3 for Christmas. All my favorite game consoles had come as Christmas presents, so here's hoping for the best.
Well folks, I'm hooked again. I played through Dead Space and Dead Space 2, which were just incredible. About to pick up Dead Space 3. I also played through God of War 1, 2 & 3 which was nothing short of amazing. Recently, I played all 3 Uncharted games. Not only are the stories and the gameplay on these new games top notch, the graphics just blew me away. I wasn't prepared for truly how gorgeous games had gotten. I had only played games on a GameCube and Wii the past 10 years, so PS3 just made my jaw drop.
Being a NES kid at heart, I recently picked up Bionic Commando: Rearmed for PS3, which is a remake version of the original on NES. It's beautiful. They kept the original side-scrolling action, the sounds and many of the things we loved about the original and made the graphics beautiful. It's fantastic and they just released part 2.
Also released is a brand new, fully updated third-person version of Bionic Commando for the PS3. Is updated and not the classic I'm use to, you need to get use to the new way to swing with the bionic arm, but I'm playing through it. We'll see where I end up with it.
I'll keep you updated on anything new I dive into. I see SONY recently announced PS4, so am pretty excited to see how incredible those games look given how stunned I am with PS3. What I'm glad to see though is that there are some companies out there making some truly remarkable games that have that imagination I was so use to in the classic days of gaming.
Let me know your thoughts and if you recently got back into console gaming yourself.
See ya soon!
Below is some gameplay of Project Firestart by EA, the game I mentioned above for Commodore 64 that I believe is the inspiration for the new Dead Space games by EA. Monsters on a ship in space, you're all alone, creepy atmosphere, words written in blood on the walls, etc.. I even hear sounds in Dead Space 2 that are in this game like the creepy siren sound. Let me know if you agree.
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