Magic Moments Part 1

I, like many other gamers I imagine, have memories of pivotal events in their gaming ‘history’, those key moments etched into our brains often alongside more mainstream recollections like your first pet or day at school.

Those that know me will already be aware that my memory is shockingly bad, I can barely remember last month, let alone last year. So it always comes as a surprise to me that I have many vivid recollections of seemingly common events from my past.

I’ll try and starting at my first gamer related memory:

  • Waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning to sneak downstairs and set-up the new ZX Spectrum+, only to find that my mum had the same idea. I remember going through the manual, entering in the commands, switching the background colours and drawing circles all over the shop. To a 7 year old, it was a fantastic form of magic.
  • Magic was also needed to calibrate the cassette player.
  • The first big game I remember getting stuck into was Combat Zone, which was a wireframe 3d Tank game, the bigger bosses were rather tough and I remember the day I was able to take down and progress passed those diamond shaped menaces.
  • Another major time sink was the turn based Chaos:Battle of the Wizards, this game had so many set-ups,options and outcomes it was a different game each match.
    If someone was to turn it into a Facebook game I would be doomed and loose all my free time.
  • Chase H.Q. – need I say more?
  • We upgraded to a ZX Spectrum +2 a number of years later, it came with a light-gun and remember getting cramp from spending too long playing Rookie and Operation Wolf with the lightgun that came in bundle.
  • I recall we also played the Bullseye game to death, although I never knew the answers to the questions but it was a real family game. Who needs a Wii?
  • I remember rushing home once a month to find what games were on the cover of the monthly Crash magazine. You HAD to load each in turn and try them all out, plus try out any pokes for games I owned.
  • I recall playing Gauntlet (not sure of the platform) for what felt like 8 hours straight on one rainy day at a friends house. I was epic and I was told the following day that I was sleep talking shouting about have to get the gold.
  • There were a number of arcade machines that I really played to death in my early teens, they were each located in different shops & cafes in my town, so once you got a turn you aimed to play until you ran out of coins. I have many memories of spending afternoons hogging the titles:
    • Double Dragon
    • Altered Beast
    • WWF Superstars
  • Finishing R-Type on the SEGA master system, ok not all that great but the the plastic DPad on the controller had broken off and I had to use the pressure pads for movement.
  • I bought my cousins NES with a bundle of games a few months before we moved to France, I have to say that other than learning all the secrets to Super Mario Bros . 3, The Battle of Olympus & Rygar.
  • Next was the MegaDrive, it’s look was futuristic when compared to the Master System and definitely the NES.
  • I had the triple game cartridge that was shipped with the console and I happily completed Streets of Rage 2, in what felt like a mammoth sitting, but I may have left the console on overnight.
  • There were a number of fantastic games on the Mega Drive, but I remember each of them with a fondness reserved for those games that frustrated & delighted you simultaneously, the list includes but isn’t limited to Earthworm Jim, Duck Tales,Corporation, Aladdin, Dizzy, Jungle & Desert Strike, the fantastic Flashback.

Well that’s it for part one, I have most likely missed too many to mention, but I had a great time wading through all those old titles.

As I was finishing writing this up, I spotted a post over at the Ancient Gaming Noob, which I thought was in a similar nostalgic theme, so please give it a read.