Falling Back Into Gaming PART 1: A Gamer’s History

Falling into Gaming a la Don DraperI was once a hardcore gamer.

As I grew up, I slowed and then all but stopped gaming during my ‘college through early adult’ years. But for my generation, gaming isn’t a kids’ business, just as comic books and graphic novels are for adults too (often too graphic, no pun intended, for lil’ kiddos).

So, in this, the year 2013, I finally fell back into gaming.

The years when I was most into gaming initially, those were called the “Elementary School through Highschool years.”My first system was a Gameboy, in Elementary school.

Donkey Kong Gameboy Cover ArtMy first game was DONKEY KONG. You know, the one that starts with the original four levels for the arcade, then adds about a hundred, at-the-time challenging puzzle-esque levels? Less platforming, more puzzle solving? That was my first.

It’s funny really, I unwrapped all my presents from under my grandparent’s Christmas tree that year, and all I had was the DONKEY KONG game. No Gameboy.

Later, thankfully, that lil’ item was found under the tree, so it was a very merry Christmas indeed. No tears shed.

TETRIS was my second. Even more ‘puzzley’ than DONKEY KONG, obviously. Yet so perfect then on Gameboy, it’s still one of the puzzle games I rebuy for each system because TETRIS is timeless.

Other notable Gameboy games from my childhood include SUPER MARIO LAND 2: SIX GOLDEN COINS, POKEMON RED, KIRBY’s PINBALL LAND, and DONKEY KONG LAND 2.

Later came the Gameboy Color where I enjoyed POKEMON YELLOW, POKEMON PINBALL, and THE POKEMON TRADING CARD GAME.

Finally, the last “Gameboy,” the Gameboy Advance, with more great titles including the remake of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST.Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Title Screen

Now, not to skip the NINTENDO DS (which I actually will do later), A LINK TO THE PAST was also one of my first games on an actual console, as my first television based system was a used Super Nintendo my parents purchased for my sister I while I was still in Elementary school. I crushed games like JURASSIC PARK, the SUPER STAR WARS games, DONKEY KONG COUNTRY, SUPER MARIO ALL-STARS, SUPER MARIO RPG: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN STARS.

To this day, OCARINA is my favorite game... ever!
To this day, OCARINA is my favorite game… ever!

Then, down the Nintendo path I went, continuing from SNES to the N64 with THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME (my favorite game ever), GOLDENEYE & DONKEY KONG 64.

I waited outside a Target for hours and hours one brisk November, Sunday morning for the Gamecube, as this was the era before big retailers did system preorders.

Late middle-school, early high-school were the years Gamecube reigned supreme in my basement (and friend’s).

My friends and I played countless hours of TIMESPLITTERS 2 & 3, MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH, and SUPER SMASH BROS. MELEE. Meanwhile  I privately beat LUIGI’S MANSION (multiple times, often in one sitting; it was a short game), STAR WARS: ROGUE LEADER,  the underrated LEGEND OF ZELDA: WIND WAKER and SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE. And any and every game with 007 in the title, though I know now there will never be another GOLDENEYE…

The Best ZELDA game since OCARINA!
The Best ZELDA game since OCARINA!

In college, I slowly fell off the gaming horse.

When I got my Wii (preordered and picked up by my dear father in Colorado while I was away at college in California), I quickly beat THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS, was amazed by RAYMAN: RAVING RABBITS for a week or two, and returned to daily sessions of DOUBLE DASH, which could last for hours, with my new college friends.

In fact, we played so much MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH that I used to joke I had to be one of the best players of that game in the world… we played so often and were so good we could dodge blue shells… even when  pass-out drunk.

I also got SUPER SMASH BROS BRAWL which got a good chunk of playtime, and I even eventually beat the fabulous SUPER MARIO GALAXY.

Post college, I dabbled in CALL OF DUTY MODERN WARFARE: REFLEX EDITION on Wii and STAR CRAFT and then WORLD OF WARCRAFT in anticipation that STARCRAFT II may never come.

From this point forward, I almost never gamed alone; I was always on STARCRAFT, MODERN WARFARE, or WORLD OF WARCRAFT with my Colorado friends.

When the Nintendo 3DS came out, I was slightly distracted by a remake of my favorite game, OCARINA OF TIME 3D, for a time.


Then, when it was finally released,  I played a bit of STARCRAFT II! and

During this period of my life, having moved back into my parent’s house in Colorado (for a brief time), I even bought my first non-Nintendo system, a PS3! But even with the PS3, I was no wear near my former gaming self.

The boy who had to be limited by his parents to 30mins of media a day grew into a man-boy who couldn’t play a game long enough to break the childhood rule without becoming bored at the very thing he loved so much in the formative years of his growth.

Then something else happened.

And that ‘something else’ was 2013.

Is ARKHAM ORIGINS one of my favorite games of 2013? Come back for Part 2 to find out!
Is ARKHAM ORIGINS one of my favorite games of 2013? Come back for Part 2 to find out!

I’m not sure who or what to credit my triumphant return to gaming to, my own decision to return to my childhood past-time, or the amount of games I actually found interesting that were released this year.

Either way, in Part 2 of this, no doubt, fascinating tale, I will go over my 5 favorite games of 2013!

That’s right! It’s nearly time for a list! People love lists! You are people! You love lists!

So join me for PART II of “Falling Back Into Gaming.” Same Bat-blog, same Bat-something else.

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