Slowly, quietly sneaking up to the door frame of my brothers room, I could see through a small crack between the door and the frame. Maybe around 8 years (if so I was around 4) old my brother was there sitting on the floor tinkering with an old laptop given to him by some friends/neighbours. He was playing a game called “Jill of the Jungle”.
That is probably the earliest memory of computer games that I have. I probably played the game for a minute once, but being the annoying little brother I wasn’t really trusted to touch his technology, a phenomenon which still hasn’t quite gone away and likely won’t. When I told him I was writing this he reminded me of a ton of games which started everything off. I have no clue what order these games came in and their release dates don’t help me in the slightest...
I think “DOOM 95” now came into things every now and then. Along with “Theme Hospital”, “Theme Park World”, “Myst” and my Mum’s copy of “Starship Titanic” signed by Douglas Adams (whether we had 2 copies one signed and unopened I'm not certain) I think this was also around the time that I played the “Tomb Raider III” demo over and over and over and the legendary “GTA” and “GTA London” come into play. Since “GTA 3” I kind of lost interest in the series. Here’s an interesting set of “reasons” London won’t be the subject of a GTA game again, not sure if I totally agree with them though...
I was told by my brother today that “Micro Machines V3” was the initial reason he saved up and bought his network starter kit which led us shout between the kitchen computer and his room to continually attempt to get “Micro Machines V3” working over the LAN, we did get it working many times but there were always complications.
We have some family friends in the Lake District, we would see them almost once a year and my memories of when we went to see them are a collection of Goldeneye on the N64, being introduced to “Counter-Strike” and being told how and why “Team Fortress Classic” was a far better game by one of the kids who was a year or two older than my brother. He competed playing “Team Fortress Classic” and had won tournaments and money a plenty. The next thing to come from our visits there was the first time I would touch 3D modeling software... I was probably between 7 and 10 when I played with the 3D software and made a futuristic bike (I think). By this point the “Half-Life” addiction had set in and I was often sitting in my brothers room playing “Half-Life” on a randomly pieced together computer my brother built for me and so that we could play LAN games such as “Half-Life”’s multiplayer endlessly, “Quake 3” and “Micro Machines V3”.
During school at the age of 8 (I'm uncertain if this is in chronological order, my memories are incredibly scattered) if we were good we would occasionally be allowed to play “Wipeout” on the class’ computer and then from the age of 9-12 we would play LAN games of “Age of Empires 2”, a game which I would continue to enjoy sporadically for years, in the IT lab without our teacher knowing. We also had “Theme Park World” installed which was endless fun. I still have my (or my brothers) copy of “Red Alert” with a demo for “Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun” at home and every now and then have to play it just to see the pixels dance about...
Enough of the distant nostalgia as it is endless and list-like after all. At the age of 12 I had saved up to buy myself my first non-handed-down computer well half of it anyway the other half was for my birthday. Before this I obsessed over it being able to play “Counter-Strike: Source” comfortably as this was my benchmark for the most intensive game of the time in 2005. My brother and his friends set up a LAN-party in 2006 when I was 13, it was time to test my skills against a bunch of 18 year-olds a healthy obsession with "Counter-Strike:Source" and "Quake III" led to me not doing badly at all. During this time my screen name was Mouzy as I was nicknamed Mouse and well you know EVERYTHING sounds better with Zs in it (or so I thought). Along with “Counter-Strike: Source” and “Quake III: Arena” definately my obsessions at this point came “The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind”. With these three games and the “Half-Life 1” mods as my collection of games I started to play around with mods and mapping. Not being allowed the internet on my computer I would go downstairs to the family computer and spend hours downloading skins, maps and other various mods and then with a large collection to try go upstairs and try them all out. It was at this point that I was also playing around with 3D as... well... my brother was so I followed suit. Between making loads of glass things, setting the renderer to mental ray, pressing f9 and finding something else to do while my AMD Sempron struggled through my pointless tasks and playing games themselves I dabbled in modding myself. Modelling for “Quake III: Arena” mapping in Valve’s Hammer for “Counter-Strike: Source” and “The Specialists” and just general tinkering with the Elder Scrolls Construction Set for “Morrowind” and later “Oblivion”. I have something to share with you all, below is my first model ever put into a game. I wanted to make a hooded face for Anarki a character in “Quake III: Arena” this is what happened from me replacing the games files with mine... the texture wasn’t found the size was incredibly off and I lost the original files... all in all a great success! I will say now that my mapping endeavours and later modeling endeavours were more successful. I did continue to play with Anarki as Big Headed Anarki and the success here became a running joke with a friend of mine. I may have to install Milkshape 3D (a cheap and primitive 3D modeling program) and give it another go sometime...
This game art that I was dabbling in during this time was always what I wanted to study and do. From the second “Assassin’s Creed” was being talked about I was latched on to it, this was because of the concept art I had seen, and so for the next 4 years I would continuously harass my art teachers with artists they’ve never heard of for my artist analysis. Anyway between the age of 13 and 17 I continued to play games exclusively on the PC. Being at boarding school meant that me and my friends during these 4 years would endlessly (often playing through the night or at least until 2am or 4am) play LAN games of any of these games:
Quake III: Arena
Dawn of War
Track Mania Nations
Halo: Combat Evolved
and many less important others
We also used to get games and play through them for example most of us had “Far Cry 2” and played through the game at different speeds trying not to give things away that people hadnt got to yet. “Spore” did cause me and a friend to be almost an hour late to a biology lesson after lunch...
After this time I seemed to focus on Art and didn’t have much time for games, I would play “Quake Live” every now and then and if there was a particularly exciting game I would give it a go but I was unlikely to pay much attention to it so between 17 and 19, 2010 and now, I haven’t really played many games. “Mass Effect 2” I played and thoroughly enjoyed, “Skyrim” I played a year after its release after starting this course and realising I should update myself on these things and I’m looking forward to “Far Cry 3” and getting the time to play “Dishonored”...
Apologies for the placement of images, can't get my head around why bloggers editor seems so bad for images. Its also quite a long post... sorry