Click here for Part 1: The 80’s Games.
Topic: The game that got you into gaming
Part 2: The 90’s Games
Antal Tungler, Sr. Manager, Global Technology Marketing
My PC gaming saga began in 1994 – my first computer rocked a 66MHz (!!!) CPU and an S3 graphics adapter with 4MB of DRAM, quite amazing technology at the time.
The two games I got for Christmas that year defined my taste in games fundamentally, and I spent an incredible and unhealthy amount of time playing them. The first one was Star Wars: X-Wing, and not just any version – the Collector’s Edition, on a CD! That game made me fall in love with space sims on the spot, and to this very day only a few lived up to the spectacular atmosphere it transported me into. There was of course Tie Fighter later which improved upon the original game, but being in an x-wing fighter, shooting down ‘imps’ and taking out star destroyers felt like the right thing to do.
The other game that completely took me in was Little Big Adventure by the late Adeline Software. LBA was an action-adventure game with an isometric pseudo-3D viewing angle, and it told the story of Twinsen, rising up against the tyrant ruler of their world. It was a truly epic story and I instantly fell in love with the careful story-crafting and the visual creativity the developers put into this game, and it set a very high bar for my plentiful gamer years to follow, which I’m happy to say haven’t ended quite yet.
Matthew Wilcox, System Validation Technologist
My story actually begins at AMD in Markham, when it was still ATI. As a child, I was brought to the office whenever school was out for the day—Snow Day, PA Day, any day that got me out of school. I would frequently visit the “Gaming Testers” as I called them, and they would let me play on the test systems they had set up. Playing games at work? I was living the dream. I eventually received a copy of my very first computer game, Starcraft, from a gentleman who is actually still around AMD these days, Greg Hazelton. THANKS GREG!
I literally started gaming at the true GFX headquarters of the world 🙂 I’ve been hooked ever since, not only to Starcraft and Blizzard, but to ATI/AMD.
Alexander Blake-Davies, Software Product Marketing
I’ve been a PC gamer for life, and although my introduction to gaming was on the obscure French home PC the Oric 1, then the Commodore 64, the first time I bought a system for a game was 1993’s Strike Commander, a 486DX IBM compatible PC. The PC had a 486DX/2-66 CPU, 4MB of RAM, a 5 ¼ floppy AND a 3.5” floppy drive, a hard drive measured in the megabytes not gigabytes, and an ATi 1MB Mach 32 ISA video card – yes, that’s right, my first PC was powered by Radeon!
At the time this was considered a very high-end machine. Strike Commander came on 11 floppies and took forever to install, but once I got it up and running (of course, after the prerequisite Autoexec.bat and config.sys file tweaks that MS-DOS gaming required) I was blown away by how amazing the game looked. I had never seen such amazing graphics before.
If it hadn’t been for Strike Commander, I probably wouldn’t have bought my first PC for a couple more years and missed out other classics like X-COM: UFO Defense and Syndicate!
Luís Peralta, Web and Graphics Designer
My gaming passion didn’t start with my sister’s ZX Spectrum 48K, totally monopolizing the single TV we had at home—the one where I wanted to watch cartoons instead.
When I was 12 years old, I fell in love with Dune II, rocking in my neighbor’s IBM 286 with grayscale graphics and PC speaker TI TI TI sounds. Installing this game (four floppy disks) was about the same time as a game loading on my sister’s ZX Spectrum, so PC gaming was the way to go. Two years later, another neighbor purchased an Intel 486, and Dune II was now running in color! It felt like a totally new game.
By 1996, I finally convinced my parents that I needed a PC for schoolwork. I was gifted with a $1500 Intel Pentium 133Mhz! What a stunning beige beast. After installing Windows 95 with all its glorious 52 floppy disks, I had to install my favorite game again. I was surprised to hear all the TI TI TI PC speaker sounds were converted to TIN TIN TIN midi sounds from my Creative Sound Blaster 16 sound card! Strategy became my favourite genre with games like Command & Conquer, Warcraft, Starcraft, and even strategy/management titles like Transports Tycoon or Theme Hospital—all from my marvelous experience with Dune II.
Annie Lee, Marketing and Communications Specialist
Do you know why Koreans are so good at eSports? Maybe it’s because RTS games are presented to us at a young age like a rite of passage. While I may not exactly remember the first game I ever played, I certainly remember Warcraft 2 as being the game that got me into gaming. What intrigued me instantly was the ability to play god—if I was feeling mischievous, my unit actually holds his position firmly even while Ogres are beating away at him? This was before The Sims popularized inconsequential evil. It’s a kind of divine power no 7-year-old should have, yet I had it.
But it wasn’t just about reveling in permissible evil. My yet-to-mature (still not matured) brain worked feverishly like mice on wheels strategizing against AIs—build farm, train Archer, sneak to Horde side with battleship… Every small decision was exciting. Emptying my lands and pushing my units to total war was electrifying, forcing a climax with my carefully crafted tour-de-force of Knights and flying machines, even Peasants—I spared no one from carnage. The whole thing was like writing history and getting to see it unravel, by my own hand.
Tell me how one could possibly avoid getting into gaming, after experiencing that kind of adrenaline as a 7-year-old.
Gilbert Leung, Technical Marketing Specialist
Lineage: The Blood Pledge was a pretty serious game, an MMORPG with PVP. Pretty standard today, but at one point, this was South Korea’s most competitive e-sports games. Lineage was not my first PC game to take me to a fantasy world, but it was the first PC game that took me to see fantastic things in the real world.
It was at the final subway stop on the Yonge-University Line in Toronto. Up a steep flight of stairs. With each step rang echoes that bounced off the disintegrating walls and through this tight corridor awaited a rickety wooden door. Artificially brightened by flickering fluorescents, the drapes taped close. Only a few rebellious rays of sunlight made it in, but were all but ignored by rows meditating monks, neatly stationed in-line. Their faces were illuminated by that cathode ray glow, eye transfixed on 307,200 pixels. There were no incense candles, yet thick smoke hung high in the ceiling; ghosts of lives not yet lost but yet to be found. They were murdered by imbalance and addiction, the same cursed spirit that would haunt me for the rest of my adolescence. Yet here I was a wide-eyed and impressionable as ever, watching each of these wizards with awe and admiration, their ferocious fingers coordinating faster than the flight of a deranged bumblebee, yet each stroke was with as much care and consideration as a surgeon. These were masters of their craft, continuing to hone their skills. This was a PC방, a Korean cyber café, where virtual reality and reality met and where the city’s best Lineage players would congregate. Alliances and rivalries were formed here. Romances and betrayal. Someone got stabbed here once. IRL PVP.
This is how I learned to be a gamer.
Daniel Skrba, Marketing and Communications Specialist
I’ve been drawn into gaming on more than one occasion. Unique stories, experiences and communities create the possibility to experience gaming as if it was the first time. Eyes wide and face expressionless, I’m often left wondering where the day went.
Donkey Kong Country was the first game to really pull me into the gaming world. I immersed myself in the perfectly designed levels and soundtrack. Jumping around as a gorilla and crushing an onslaught of animals that kidnapped my precious bananas was something I couldn’t do in a movie or book. Donkey Kong Country was simply fun and a perfect balance of difficulty. The game challenged me to learn from my mistakes and left me with a feeling of accomplishment. It’s not often a game has left me with this satisfaction, a feeling recently revitalized by the Souls games. Donkey Kong Country may be old, but every now and then I still hook up my SNES to remind myself of the game that started it all.
So, that’s it. You’ve heard our origin stories and now we want to hear yours. What was the game that got you hooked on gaming? Is the game still around? Share in the comments below for some nostalgia-basking. Who knows, maybe some of us have played it.
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