11
Sep
09

Gamer

I have been a life long Star Wars fan, but I’ve also been a life long gamer.

In 1980, my family moved from our home in South Carolina to the piedmont of North Carolina where my Dad (and yes, he IS my Father) was going to attend Seminary. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but soon discovered it would be really good move. We moved into “Married Student Housing.” Now the great thing about Married Student Housing was there were a ton of kids. We played all kinds of games and sports.

That summer one of the kids in my neighborhood got an Atari 2600. Much like my first encounter with Star Wars, another lifelong passion was about to born. I spent many an hour at my friends house playing Pitfall, Battlefield, Yars Revenge and Pong.

5200Then Christmas of ’83, we got an Atari 5200.  My sister would play Pac-Man with me. In that game, you alternated turns so when she died, it was my turn, and when I died, and it was her turn. When it came my turn, she would make a big deal of getting some pillows and getting really comfortable, because she was going to be there a while. We loved to play Moon Patrol, Centipede and Dig Dug. My Dad and I played loved to play Atari Baseball.

c64After Seminary, my parents divorced, and after a while my Dad remarried. I didn’t get along with my step Mom, or my new step Sisters. Then I got a Commodore 64. I played games like Summer Games and my first RPG game whose name I sadly can’t remember.  It wasn’t much on graphics, but I still remember busting out of my room and telling everyone I had finally killed the Fire Elemental boss. Good times.

So I pretty much holed up in my room with my C64. I’d play and play and kind of forget the chaos that existed on the other side of my bedroom door.

I moved on to consoles as I got to college. My best friend in college was named Daniel, and he would come over to my dorm room about 7 or so. Our girlfriends would show up about 8. They sat and talked (sometimes about us) while he and I would play Techmo Super Bowl. Then about 10 when the clubs opened, we’d head out for the evening.

Then Daniel got a new computer, a 486DX WITH the math coprocessor, thank you very much! It was hot stuff.

Suddenly I was introduced to games like Civilization, X-Wing, and Dune (which was the precursor to all modern RTS games). He also introduced me to Pools of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. I got seriously hooked into Red Baron, and Aces of the Pacific. That game was a blast.

After college, I got myself established and bought a computer of my own. It was first generation Pentium. It had the first genertionof Video Cards and screaming 28.8k modem. I was rocking. The first games I bought for that computer were X-Wing Versus Tie Fighter, Civilization II, and Sierra’s Football Pro 98.

I was living out my childhood of flying an X-Wing fighter and putting my “deflectors on, double front”.

The Christmas after I got my computer a game came out called Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. This was the first video game where I could play out a childhood fantasy and be a Jedi. It included Full Motion Video cut scenes (with actors). I played that game through at least 3 or 4 times.

It also had an online death match mode. I got involved in a clan and found the wonders of IRC and message boards. I was married by that point and my wife enjoyed watching me play, and even helped me solve some of the games puzzles. It was cool.

I played the expansion pack Mysteries of the Sith and the sequels Jedi Knight II and Jedi Knight Academy. I played just about every game that Lucas Arts made with the Star Wars IP including the bad ones like Rebellion. I continued to play the Civilization games, and got into the Madden NFL series.

I had always had fond memories of Pools of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds, and really wanted someone to make a modern game based on that. You can imagine how excited I was to hear about Baldur’s Gate, which was exactly what I was hoping for. I became immersed in the world and played the follow ups Tales of the Sword Coast, The Shadows of Amn and the Throne of Bhaal.

My buddy Adam and I got into the Rainbow Six series of games. He would be a sniper and I would cover for him.

Then he recommended to me that we try a game called Starcraft. I had never been in RTS games much, but Starcraft really hooked me in. My friend and I played many a game both with and against each other. I loved the Terrans, but he had a Protoss Zealot rush that was really tough to beat. There is something very satisfying in hearing a dozen Siege Tanks go into Siege Mode and just leveling a Protoss base. When my friend moved to California, we still played Starcraft.

Blizzard had a new RTS coming out, Warcraft III. Adam and I dove into it. The single player campaign was compelling and the online game play was a ton of fun. I preferred Humans and loved Tanks, Riflemen, and Mortor Teams. I still have found memories of sending my mortar teams into battle with their yell of “MORTAR COMBAT!!” Still brings a smile to my face. We played Warcraft III and the expansion pack The Frozen Throne. My favorite Hero was the Mountain King.

BioWare teamed up with Lucas Arts to produce Knights of the Old Republic. It was the gameplay I had loved in Baldur’s Gate, but now set in my favorite IP of Star Wars.

KOTOR, as it’s called by it’s fans quickly became my favorite game. KotOR joined Civ as what I call a 4am game.

A 4am game is one that I found myself staying up to 4am playing. In Civ it was called the “One more turn” syndrome. You just wanted to play one more turn, and the next thing you know its 4am. It wasn’t any surprise that I enjoyed the follow-up Knights of the Old Republic II.

Adam had another game for us to try out, but that’s a story all in itself.

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