My History Of Gaming – Part 3

Time for part 3 of my gaming history. In Part 2 we went from 8-bit to 64-bit to 32-bit, in that order! In this part I’m focusing mostly on 128-bit with a bit of PC thrown in for good measure!

As we approached the turn of the century, nay millennia, I was happily bashing away (!) on my PSOne. At some point I had replaced my big grey one with one of these:

It was so pretty. I’m not sure why I replaced the old one, I think this one was easier to play pirated games on. You just added a tab to the CD eject switch and then used tape to keep the cover down. Not that I’d know, having never done it, of course!

In 1999 the Sega Dreamcast was released:

Oh I loved it! It was so ahead of its time. But let’s back up a moment. I was working for a major retail chain, there was an over-running delivery that needed finishing so the boss and I stayed back. On this delivery was the as yet unreleased Dreamcast a customer had pre-ordered. We opened it up and hooked it up to one of the TV’s in store. Mind blowing doesn’t even cover it!

My boss ordered one there and then, on finance, so I had to get one too. I waited until the price had dropped first though. I remember they were super expensive! This was the first console to do online gaming. It was pretty basic, mostly just for uploading scores. It had an internet browser but the modem was dial up. I remember hunting online for a cheap DSL modem from France only to realise that the DSL in this country wasn’t compatible. We’re so backwards in the UK!

I had some fantastic games on this. 18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker, Buzz Lightyear, Crazy Taxi, Dave Mirra, MSR. Man, the list goes on, I had about 60 games all in. The graphics were phenomonal, the sound was awesome and playability of all of these games was second to none!

Sadly, one day I tried to mod the case and drilled a screw into the wrong place and short circuited the board. RIP Dreamcast. Sad face!

Before I jump onto the PS2, I’ll take a moment to salute the Xbox. I’ve never been a fan, the controls are weird and it’s always felt behind the times. However, when it was released, I was the boss at that major retail chain and when we got the customer pre-orders in the night before launch I arranged a night in for me and some of the delivery boys. We hooked it up to a brand new 28″ widescreen TV in the staffroom, got in some beers and pizza and had a blast! I think there was a racing game and a snowboarding game. They were ok but not exactly mind blowing. I feel a bit sorry for those guys who pre-ordered these consoles only to get second hand shit but as long as the major retail chains continue to pay peanuts…

So now we get onto the PS2!

Around this time I was going through a lot of issues, personal life and work life. My crap personal life resulted in me throwing myself into work life before finally imploding. But gaming, and music, pretty much saved my life! I was working the night shift getting ready for a major launch, running behind schedule so I ended up working right through the day as well. I was hella knackered, really discombobulated. I woke up at home with a PS2 in a bag next to the sofa and a receipt. I literally have no recollection of buying it or getting home, I was completely out of it! Oh well, my gain right?!

This console lasted me right the way through the Noughties. It has travelled across the country with me and has been in almost all the houses I have ever lived in. It almost deserves its own part! I started out with all the usual games people had. Mostly just upgrades of PSOne titles. Crash, GT, Tony Hawk, Fifa etc. Then one day, a customer brought in a disc that he said had broken his PS2. It was all scratched and he was trying to claim his system was faulty etc etc. We replaced it. Before we sent the bad stock away, I took the disc home and loaded it up. I’d heard some hype and was really interested. That game, was Grand Theft Auto 3:

Right from the off I was hooked. Don’t get in the car, jump the bridge to the right and you pick up a baseball bat. Then you just start smacking up peds! It was ridiculously violent! I just couldn’t believe it! I tried playing the game but the disc was too badly scratched so I just went and bought it the next day. That game consumed so much of my life. As did the follow up Vice City and then San Andreas. 14 hour gaming days were no stranger to me! I 100% all of them. Albeit with cheats. It’s just such a good series.

Between Vice City and San Andreas, I moved to London. I got a job working for Electronic Arts. I was a tester and all around helper boy on Freedom Fighters. Name in the credits too! There I was introduced to the joys of game modding. I got GTA3 and VC on the PC and started modding away. Cars mostly. I really got into designing 3D cars. I got quite good at it too. This in turn encouraged me to get more into PC gaming.

I had a PC right through this period but as is the case, every new game requires an upgrade and I just got sick of it. I have played every game in the Command and Conquer series, Worms and Doom. I think that was about it! I finally bought a new PC and was able to play games again, if only for a short while. My flatmate was a big Wolfenstein fan and he had Enemy Territory. What an introduction to online FPS’s that was! It was so good and the concept of classes and people working together as a team was something I’d just never seen before. At the time I’d have said the only thing it was missing was the ability to talk to each other but looking at how that turned out on the current systems, I’m 100% certain that I’m glad you couldn’t!

Coming back to PS2, about a year before I bought my PS3, I got one of those modem kits and was able to take Battlefield online. It just wasn’t anywhere near as good. I wonder if this was because most people had migrated over to PS3 by this point or if it was just a shit experience in itself.

Finally, some key games to mention are the Burnout series, Guitar Hero 2, Medal Of Honour (I just kept playing the D-Day landing mission!) and the Tiger Woods series. All cracking games. Like I say, the PS2 lasted me through the Noughties. What other system, PC aside, could have had the longevity of nearly an entire decade? There just isn’t one. Even the Xbox piked out too soon. However, it had to happen one day. I had paid off all my debt and as a present to myself for being so good, I traded in everything and bought myself a PS3 and a shiny new flatscreen TV. Find out what that was like in Part 4!

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