There is something about immersing yourself in an alternative, interactive world that is awesome. That's my excuse for the huge number of hours I've wasted playing video games over the years, at any rate. If it wasn't for the arrival of seventh gen gaming, and obligatory contact with other human beings to complete quests - as though the whole point wasn't to sit alone in your bedroom, completely cut off from the outside world - I'd probably be a hardcore gamer today.
As it is, I've sold off all my games and consoles, and replaced them with miniature replicas. Seriously. Check out the Nintendo History Collection from Takara and, even better, the Sega History Collection by Yujin. I just need the Sega Mega Drive now and I'll have the full set!
|1/6 scale Sega Mega Drive, Mega CD and 32X picture from the Sega Memories blog. The detail on these miniatures is so amazing - the cartridges are interchangeable, and all the wires can be unplugged!|
Anyway, back to the games. In no particular order we have...
Originally released for Sony's Playstation in August 1999, Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, as it was known in the UK, quickly became a video game staple. The games had great soundtracks, fun gameplay, and copious amounts of blood to punish your virtual character for failing you, over and over again.
It's almost embarrassing how much I loved this online simulation game from Game Insight. Basically an earlier version of Paradise Island, it was released to Facebook and VK, and you could also play via Gaia Online. Play I did; I logged in every day for years to keep my holiday resort ticking over. I still haven't forgiven whoever it was who made the decision to pull the plug back in 2012.
Banjo-Kazooie, a Nintendo 64 exclusive released in 1998, has a plot. What it is exactly is neither clear nor important - all that mattered was getting past each puzzle, and not being driven insane by the in-game music...
Shenmue is one of the greatest games ever made - and it's not just me who says so. You play as Ryo, a teenage boy intent on avenging his murdered father. Allegedly. In truth, Ryo seems more interested in collecting gashapon (capsule toys), racing a forklift at his part-time job, and getting his butt kicked by sukeban (school girl delinquents). That's what makes the game so much fun though. You have a bit of everything; random chit chat with the old people who work on the market stalls, feeding a cute homeless kitten you find at the local Shinto shrine, and you can even get Sega Saturn games to play on the console back home in Ryo's dining room. It's so meta I can't even.
The Final Fantasy series has been going since 1987 but VII, released for the Playstation in 1997, is where it's at for me. The storyline is fairly involved for a video game, with the corrupt Shinra Corporation conducting weird human experiments and draining the life force from the planet in its never ending quest for profit. Last year it was announced the game is getting a high definition remaster for the PS4. It's like fate is telling me which console I ought to be buying, or something.
As a Sega kind of gal Sonic will always be my video game mascot. It's hard to believe that everybody's favourite blue hedgehog has been around since 1991, when the first game in the franchise was released. It was the first video game I ever really played, and each subsequent release features large in the memories of each section of my life.