Tuesday, 28 December 2010

What got you into PC Games - Andy's Story!

Eep, I feel quite old now compared to Alistair's story but I shall press on and divulge my epic tale of how I came to love PC games.

It all started in the eary 90's for me, the Spectrum was all but finished and I was sad about this. For months my brother had wanted a Sega Megadrive and I was all on board for this. After this brief time of console only gaming however a friend of mine called to say he had this great game that I should see.

That friend was David Southall, and that game was Battle Isle 2 (also known as Battle Isle 2200)

I think I could both hug and slap David for introducing me to PCs, I probably would have been interested anyway but they have kind of taken over my life (for the good and the bad.) Playing Battle Isle was all that mattered to me for several weeks. I borrowed the manual so that I could pour over the unit statistics and plan a strategy for a level I can only remember as "WAFEFAL" - it probably wasn't called this but it was something close. It was a map where another friend and I were going up against David who had a much larger army, but we were hopefull that we could win it! We didn't, but that's immaterial now, the fantastic memory of the strategic struggle, the first of many on a PC, still remains.

In 1995 I finally convinced my father that my brother and I should be able to use some of our savings to buy our own computer, and that August we travelled to Bromsgrove to pick up a reconditioned Cyrix 586 with 8mb of RAM and a 256mb hard disc. Awesomeness!

The PC Format cover disc was a godsend in those days, we tried everything that was on it each month. We couldn't afford to connect to the internet for a few years and so we were totally restricted to what discs we could get our hands on. It's also how I got into "Tracking" which is a system for writing music using samples.

Games I remember fondly from that period are Civilization and Civilization 2 (the latter got me through my A-Levels!) StarControl 2 was completely and totaly awesome, what an adventure! My brother on the other hand was hugely into Tie Fighter (and still is!)

So fast forward to 1998, I'd just started to work full time and I could now afford things and so the old 586 was relegated to the corner and a shiny new Cyrix 333mhz machine with an 8mb graphics (onboard) card was bought. Win95 was standard by now and most people had pretty much abandoned DOS so we had games like Unreal, Dark Forces 2 (still in my mind as the best star wars game ever) and, of course, Half Life!

Although I didn't play half life myself until the following year when we finally moved out of our family home and into a pretty ratty rental house.

Other games we were really into by then were Unreal Tournament, Giants: Citizen Kabuto and we had rediscovered Theme Hospital (a complete classic.) Then my friend who was staying with us introduced me to RPGs in a big way by showing me Final Fantasy 7 on the PC. I was completely taken with it but didn't play a Final Fantasy game myself until Final Fantasy 8 came out. One of my clearest and happiest memories of my life was staying at home over a whole weekend, all on my own in the house (which was extremely unsual) and playing FF8 with Pizza and Coca-Cola to keep me alive. It was a bank holiday weekend and the only other thing I did was sleep.

So since then I've been very much into tactical and RPG games with a slight overflow into FPS. I don't want to bore you with every single game that's influenced me over the years (that's what the rest of the blog is for!) I guess what I'm trying to say is...thanks for reading my babble!

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