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A byte-sized history of my gaming life

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We asked one of our resident gamers @MrAllen1976 to tell us more about his love for all things pixelated, and he didn’t disappoint. So, sit back and dust off your joystick as he takes us all for a wander down gaming memory lane.


Where it all began

My first gaming memory is playing Manic Miner on the ZX Spectrum 48K way back in 1981. The music was annoying, but the gameplay was very modern for something made almost 40 years ago and it helped ignite a passion that has lasted ever since.

A year after my first experience, I was playing the upgraded 128K Spectrum which had a library of great games, including Dragon Ninja, Operation Wolf, Power Drift, and Robocop. For their time, these games had some excellent music and I’ll still dance to a few of these themes on YouTube.

I was still playing Codemasters games like the Dizzy series and the Seymour games on the Spectrum until its demise in 1993, but by then I’d already had my first experience of console gaming, having played Super Tennis on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) at my brother’s student house in Sunderland. I was hooked! I still reckon Super Tennis is THE greatest console tennis simulation ever, the only games that come close would be either Top Spin on the original Xbox or Virtua Tennis 2009 on the Xbox 360. 

By the time I eventually got a SNES in 1992, there were so many great games: Super Mario World, Super Tennis obviously, Zelda 3: A Link to the Past, WWF Royal Rumble and many others. Even now the cartridges go for quite a bit on eBay for collectors of retro games.

 

Layout of a gameboy and other retro gaming consoles

Getting my first Gameboy

I got a Gameboy for Christmas in 1992 having spent a small fortune ringing £1 a minute competition lines trying to win one. Mine came with Tetris and Super Mario Land 2, but over the following years I expanded my Gameboy game collection to include titles like Final Fantasy 2 (I loved the music on that), Link’s Awakening, Super Mario Land, Golf and some others. In fact, I still have the Gameboy in the attic somewhere. It might be worth a bit by now!

By 1996 I’d upgraded to a Nintendo 64 which included Super Mario 64 and 4 of the best wrestling games I ever played: WCW Versus NWO: World Tour, WCW Vs NWO: Revenge, WWF WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy. These are still considered some of the best wrestling games ever made.

Around this time, I also picked up the first Sony PlayStation. I’m not really a fan of Sony but after playing Soul Blade on a black and white TV in a Virgin Megastore I was hooked! 

Following on from the console years, I became a big fan of PC gaming back when I had a Windows PC. I particularly enjoyed management games such as Theme Park, Theme Hospital and also first-person shooters such as Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake 1, 2 and 3. I also enjoyed space combat sims and interactive movies such as Under a Killing Moon and the Wing Commander series.


The post PC years

But in 2002 I pretty much gave up on PC gaming after having problems running almost anything under what was then the latest version of Windows XP. That Christmas, my brother bought me the original Xbox with Halo, but to be honest I found Halo a bit boring in single player campaign mode and I also found the split screen multiplayer mode confusing. But there were still other great games on Xbox including Blinx the Time Sweeper (the first game to take advantage of the Xbox’s hard drive) and Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey, which was a bit like a modern-day Lemmings. And of course, there was Top Spin – one of the best tennis simulations I’ve ever played. Very realistic and just like playing at a virtual Wimbledon.

Then in 2005, I got the Xbox 360 where I played some other great games, including the Lips series which had some great songs, as well as the ability to insert your own CDs and sing along to your own songs. I’d like a modern reboot of that series.

In 2013 came the Xbox One and just a few weeks ago I got my hands on an Xbox Series S. There aren’t many great Xbox exclusives at the moment, but they’re coming next year, where I’ll be excited to continue my own personal journey through gaming.

You can read more about @MrAllen1976 ‘s gaming adventures by visiting his blog, Xboxmanblog


Over to you:

• Did @MrAllen1976’s blog bring back any of your gaming memories?
• What is your favourite console or game of all time?

Let us know by commenting below ? 
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