At the age of 8, my uncle, Steve Griffith, purchased the one gift that my parents had me believing I would not be getting for Christmas that year. Quite honestly, I don’t remember wanting it so much as I do the blisters that I would soon have on my left thumb. It was roughly 1979. My family had moved a few times by then, and I remember that we were living in Moon Valley, a subdivision in North Central Phoenix, Arizona. Actually, it was north of Shaw Butte, near the current site of the Point Tapatio, which had not yet been built. Only two short years prior, my grandparents had graciously bestowed upon us the ever-so-popular Atari Pong.
Atari 2600 had invaded…along with one game, Space Invaders. Needless to say, this began my real gaming fascination. As someone afflicted with A.D.H.D., and someone with good hand-eye coordination, video games were the perfect fit. And fit, they did. Over, and over, and over again.
When ColecoVision was released, it propelled the home console industry in a new direction…
Fast forward through years of arcade credits and Pizza D’Amore, through Nintendo (never owned), Super Nintendo (also never owned), and all other gaming consoles (also never owned), and you’ll find a trail of PC gaming experience. When I was 14, I was given a new Apple IIc,
and my gaming days on the console were over. Infocom text games, Ultima, Lode Runner, Pinball, Super Pinball…you name it, I was playing it.
I was never upgraded from the Apple IIc to another computer system until I was given an IBM 8086 with a 5MB hard drive. No games. Now it was about sequencing music. The gaming was on hold through high school, for the most part, because of skateboarding, girls, and homework. Oh, and I didn’t have a gaming console.
When the push towards “Multi-Media” came out, I was thrust through the new interactive Zork and Myst games, also on the PC. From there, Castle Wolfenstein, and others like that.
The real gaming began in 1997 when I discovered Quake and local network connectivity. My free time was gone. Rounding out my favorite games were the first person games like Quake, Quake II, Quake Arena, Ultimate Tournament 2004, and other such games. Somewhere in there I dabbled with the first Starcraft, but I don’t remember it as much as I do Total Annihilation, which dominated my home network. I had 4 computers at the time, and had people over frequently to waste time on them.
I was turned on to Call of Duty by Carson Joyner when he was my roommate (as well as UT2K4.) I got really good at both of them. It was at this point that I quit playing. That was 4 years ago. I thought I would never play again.
I was wrong. Last July, when I discovered that Starcraft II had been released 13 or so years after the original, I couldn’t resist. I had to see it…I needed to see what had changed.
Last night, on December 4th, 2010, I deleted Starcraft II from my computer, then I shredded the CD (I had deleted it 5 times prior…but kept re-installing it as I learned new strategies.) I found myself spending my free time playing. Then I found myself getting better at it. When I learned that the best players are paid very well, just like any pro circuit tour sport, I also learned that those players play 10 hours/day, and they’re mostly South Korean.
I’m never going to be that good, and the game just makes me lose time and become frustrated. Even though it exercises some key areas of my brain, it’s not worth the compromise. So, I’m done with it. And that’s why I’m writing this post. After all, I have more time to do more creative things now :).