Video Games… What does that word mean to you? A game played electronically? Pictures on a screen? Or does it mean a world of infinite possibilities, where anything can come true?
Although my time as a gamer cannot possibly compare to that of an old school gamer, it feels like I have been playing video games all my life – From my early beginnings the obsession for video games started with friends, friends that were soon to change my life, without even knowing. Through the simple chatter of the playground, I was suddenly thrown into a world I had never explored before.
“Xbox?”, “What is an Xbox? I remember, strangely asking as I heard the name, Call of Duty for the first time. In spite of the fact I was an 11 year old boy, I had never even thought of playing a “proper” video game, with blood and gore – let alone heard of an Xbox. However, after this unforgettable day, I felt a new inner determination to explore and develop my understanding of video games.
This was the start of my love affair with video games:
Hey hey hey it’s time to make some carrrrazzzyy money are ya ready? Here we go!
By the age of 11 I had already tried and played Playstation 1 and had a Gameboy (through the generosity of hand me downs within the family, and hardcore bartering – even though Playstation 2 had been released by this time). Over time I slowly became bored of Ubisofts, 1995 release of Rayman and wanted more. When I got my hands on Playstation 2 my game world started to evolve with the better 3d graphics and what was considered amazing, unique gameplay. Up until the age of 11 I continued to play my favorite game, Crazy Taxi, on my outdated PS4 console, little unaware of the wonders video games had to offer me.
Now was my time, my time to find out more! My time to stop living in the dinosaur age of video games and look towards new horizons of next-gen games.
This is when I met Jonny. Jonny held the key to what I needed.
Starting with a new slate in my present day home of Colchester, Essex, I had a chance to start video games anew and found the answer to my gaming prayers. A chance to watch, play and talk games in a whole new context. Secondary School. This new world I had entered, inevitably transformed me into the person I am today; secondary school introduced me to new friends, interests and most importantly kother people who were gamers.
Stay Frosty Oscar Mike
AAmongst the pressures of fitting in and not getting into trouble, I had made a crucial friendship which would lead me on to the next stage of my love affair with being a gamer: the introduction of the Xbox.
This is when I met Jonny. Jonny held the key to what I needed, a chance to play on an Xbox 360 for the first time. Whilst this may not sseem important at all, it allowed me to actually get to grips properly with a state of the art console for the year 2009. Sitting casually beside my new best friend, I watched intently as he ran from cover to cover taking out the enemy in the blink of the eye, believing that call of duty was the best thing I has ever seen. When the magic words of, “do you want to try?” came, I jumped at the chance to be just like him – However, as many new time fps players may know, that was not as easy as it seems – first I had to find my way around the very different xbox controller, learn to walk, run and most importantly shoot. Soon I found myself taking on real life players, in real life games, where othey just like me were playing!
Adding Modern Warfare 2 to my list of games I had played, my childhood self took a step back to reflect on my lifetime achievements: Completing primary school; Making new friends; Playing an xbox game…
I CAME, I SAW, I MINED.
Still without the introduction of my very own Xbox I was left to my own devices whilst at home and bored out of my mind, aimlessly surfing the internet. I needed another outlet for my gaming needs and this is when I remembered a game my friend said he played, Minecraft. Minecraft was one of these games that very little people had heard off and now I found myself scrolling through screenshots and descriptions of this very blocky game. To this day I am not sure whether it was the subtle hints I left my mum or the constant pestering to buy this game I had never seen before, but somehow I wrangled my way into coercing my mother into spending the £14 that would last with me for ever.
12%, 25%, 66%, 100% : I was in. Breathing slowly and deeply, my young body calmly inhaled the virtual fresh air surrounding my block-li body. Looking at the stunning colours auto generated by hidden Java codding, my affair had jumped in to a new, better, stage. I had now earned my right to call myself a gamer – I owned a game, I had a laptop to play it on and friends to play it with. Minecraft was my love child that slowly kindled me into this new age I had been longing for.
My check-list of gaming criteria was now being ticked-off at a steady pace, I had played an fps, scaled the mountains in Minecraft and was daily watching videos of gamers playing games. I knew I would never be able to get a chance to play unless I had an Xbox of my own.
Right…what the hell kind of name is “Soap”, eh? How’d a muppet like you pass selection?
Now in the closing few years of its time the Xbox 360 still had things to offer me and needs to fulfil. Through determination and a lot of saving of birthday money, the cash was piling up until finally I was able tol to purchase an Xbox 360 slim, with Modern Warfare 3 (which was obviously going to be the CoD of all time, my naive self thought ). On one January evening my mum, a friend and I headed to town with a a wad of cash to answer the call that had been beckoning since I had first played an Xbox 360 around my friend’s house. £150 gone, 500% happier.
Life ambition part 2 – Complete: Own an Xbox 360
From then on video games seemed the norm to me. (after all I was technically no longer a gaming noob). At every point I wanted gamI talked to my friends to see what new dlc was out. Video games gave me the opportunity to relax, learn and socialise, suddenly I found I was meeting people from all over the world! Videos game were like my daily drug. Something that I could use to escape all of my problems and especially helped during the time my mother was going through cancer treatments.
Building my knowledge, friends and games I then started watching more and more YouTube videos on the games I was already playing. Why? Because I couldn’t get enough of it! Could this mean I was addicted, addicted to video games? No, I was in love!
The playing of these games led me to creating videos to share my depth love for them. Everyday I would race home from school to search through my subscriptions feed to find yet another gaming video, so I took these matters into my own hands. Using the in-game functions to record 30 second videos from the MW3 vault, I fired up Windows Movie Maker and patched together my first ever poorly edited video. Although it was a very rocky beginning … DoubleUpGaming was born.
WHAT? I LOVE THIS SONG. IT’S A GOOD FREAKING SONG.
Since the young age of the PS1 to the new (at the time of writing this article) Next Gen consoles of the Xbox 1 and Ps4 I have been slowly drifting away from my roots and have now fully switched over to the future of gaming. PC Gaming and the higher quality games such as Battlefield 4. Although an extreme gaming PC may be a little more pricey than one of the generic consoles, it offers a lot more in the range of; customisability, uses and the community who plays these games. In spite of all the recent changes it is increasingly difficult to tell where the gaming industry is heading next but one thing is for sure: I am excited to discover where my affair will take me next.
Where it will lead future generations?
To the sceptical, video games may be seen as ruining my generations future – but to me it is something great, an expression of independence, intuition and creativeness. Games like Minecraft are already becoming a popular choice in schools worldwide as an award winning educational tool to teach children fundamental science and maths. Why can’t the older generation not accept that the generation of today are evolving to find new forms of entertainments and learning techniques. Whilst some games such as Call of Duty may not be as educationally stimulating it does literally open up a new world where people can cross communicate and socialise whilst playing a game -eliminating the awkwardness many have when meeting new people – growing their own local friendships and with others across the world. New forms of gaming has been seen to help elders suffering from alzheimers and remember things they never thought they could know again.
Young or old, gaming can be a tool that we can all harness to bring a multitude of possibilities into the world we live in today.