The Games That Shaped Me (The Early Years)

Every gamer has a history. This is mine. 1

California GamesCalifornia Games

My first computer was an Apple ][e. I was only four or five at the time so I don’t remember too much about it other than that surfing was really fucking hard.

Super Mario BrothersSuper Mario Brothers

This is probably my first true video game experience. My parents had told me that if I got straight A’s for an entire school year they would buy me a Nintendo. Because I love being bribed I totally rocked out third grade. I spent so many countless hours playing this game and never managed to beat it.  To rub salt in the wound not only could my mom beat it, but she could beat it without dying. Wtf.

Kings Quest 5King’s Quest V

Thanks to the millions I was making at my job as a paper boy I was able to save up one summer and purchase my first PC. Luckily I even had enough left over to buy a game for it. That game was King’s Quest V. Holy shit did I love this game, even if I didn’t understand how to properly install it in DOS. Because of that every time I wanted to play I would reinstall the game and start from the beginning because that was the only way I knew how to launch it. This could possibly explain why I hate PCs.

Anyway, King’s Quest V was my introduction to the wonderful world of Sierra adventure games. I spent more money on Sierra games than on anything else up until high school.

Doom 2Doom 2

My first shooter game. I got to maybe level two in campaign mode, but I played  the crap out of the multiplayer. My friend Tim and I would rush home, boot up, and use our fancy-schmancy 14.4k modems to connect and then spend hours killing each other.

Good times.

Armageddon MUDArmageddon

Armageddon is a (still running!) MUD that I discovered via ISCABBS. Armageddon was unique (at the time) because it strictly enforced role-playing and death was permanent. The people who ran this game took the game secrets so seriously that if they found you even talking about the game elsewhere you more than likely were going to have your character killed. Getting a new character approved sometimes took over a week so you never, ever wanted this to happen.

I’ve sadly lost touch with a lot of folks I met through this game, but I still remember it fondly and would still be playing if I wasn’t a grown-up with a job and stuff.

Barren Realms EliteBarren Realms Elite

The town I grew up in was pretty behind the times. Around the same time we finally got a local ISP we also got a local BBS. For a young nerd like myself these were halcyon days. Our local BBS ran on  WWIV, had two phone lines and — best of all — door games. Of the several offerings my friends and I were mostly fans of L.O.R.D. 2 and Barren Realms Elite. To us L.O.R.D. was fun, but BRE took some skill, yo. The difficulty was ramped up because not only were we playing against local nerds but also against several other BBSes. Once a day our board would contact the other boards and we’d see how we fared. You don’t know frustration until you’re spam-dialing your local bulletin board at 12:01 AM and getting constant busy-signals.

I’m yet to find a game that mixes trade, combat and exploration into a package as fun to play as BRE. Goddamn, I miss BBSes.

Anyway, those are the games that got me through high school. Next time we’ll take a look at the games that have made being a grown up a bit more bearable.



  1. I shamelessly stole this idea from my friend Kadomi.

  2. I was the first one of my friends to talk Violet upstairs in it. Still one of my proudest moments.


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  1. If your follow-up mentions Firan, I’ll giggle a bit. Though I did meet some great people there! Still, I might giggle. :)

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