Monday, November 9, 2009

Gaming Nostalgia

This is a shared topic with authors who are members of Blog Azeroth. The forum topic can be found here along with links to other authors articles. Please take some time to read their articles as well.

In an earlier article I interviewed Grettir, in that article we ended up talking about some of our favorite rpg games of the past. I still get nostalgic for the old days and I still find myself playing some of those original games.

I was introduced to role playing very early on, I think I must have been seven years old when I was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons by a neighbor kid down the road. His family and mine were close friends. He was a lot like an older brother, he was twelve. He had the original basic set in the box. I can still remember the awe I had with imagining fantastic worlds and encounters as he led me through adventures. Of course this was when we weren't busy running around with BB guns popping off soda cans at 15 paces. Those were the years that really got me involved in role playing. I'm not afraid to say that I am a former D&D addict and would probably still play if I knew of people that were interested and not lost in the 80's. Sadly most of the people I meet that would be interested in playing are also very socially inept and quite reclusive not unlike the “Unabomber”.

In my younger years there was no such thing as Nintendo so I was not exposed to video games outside of the arcade parlor. A few friends had ataris but I never got to play them much. I remember being in awe of Dragon's Lair. My mother and step-father used to take me to Chuck E Cheeses and let me run wild. My step-dad was a kid at heart so he loved going there as much as I did. I always loved watching the puppets sing, I especially loved the lion Elvis. I was a bit young to really be any good at video games but I watched my step-dad play that game with wide eyes. It was like my D&D games brought to life.

Later, as I got older, Nintendo released the NES. I was already exposed to home gaming systems but never owned one. My grandparents had Pong and though that was fun it never really held my attention. I would inevitably end up outside running around with a stick slaying imagined orcs with my younger cousins. When I saw the NES though... well, that changed everything. We played Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt religiously. Oh how happy it made me to shoot that dog when it laughed at me. Then, there was Zelda. I now had a hero that had a goal, I could travel to places whenever I wanted to. Looking at the game now, it was pretty simplistic. I would still sit for hours playing it given the opportunity. This is the beginning for me, the very start of my love for video rpg's.

The console games held me only until I found BBS's. Bulletin Board Systems were where I found text based gaming. Text based games brought back the imagination. No longer was I fed an environment with graphics. Now, I had to imagine everything using the designers words to tell myself a story about what was going on. Games like Tele-Arena and Legend of the Red Dragon were my daily regulars. I used to play on 10 different BBS's just to get my fix in for the games since they were turn based and only allowed so many turns per day. This is also when I realized the fun of forming alliances with other players to get things done. Trade Wars soon became our favorite. There were nights I would stay up till dawn writing scripts to run in Telemate just so that I could try to dominate that game. During that time in my life I was also exposed to Nethack. This was a mix between the graphical world of console games and the text based world I had fallen in love with. It was a dungeon crawler. I loved that game but soon got discouraged with the fact that it was a single player game. Soon though, everything changed again..... I found MUDS!!!

Multi User Dungeons are my personal Crack. Finally I had found a game that combined my imagination with a computer. The first MUD I ever played was a PVP MUD called RavenMUD. What a hole of a game that was... in retrospect of course. At the time I loved it but something was still missing. I didn't like the bland nature of that MUD, there really wasn't a well developed world with zones and creatures tied together in any semblance of order. Eventually I found RuinsMUD. Grettir and I played that game for 7 years. The only reason we stopped playing was that the IMM's (immortals -people who acted like the dungeon master in D&D – they were also usually the main coders for the MUD) got in a fight and closed the MUD. I've spent years searching for the source code to that game.

After Ruins closed I found Diablo and Diablo II. Grettir still hates me for getting him addicted to Diablo II. While it had great graphics and gameplay for it's time, it was still hackable and cheaters were everywhere. We chose to play on our honor and tried to play the game the way it was designed. I think that's really where the game eventually failed. At any rate I played that game for quite awhile before eventually dropping it and dropping out of gaming entirely for a few years. It wasn't until 2005 when my roommate came home one day with World of Warcraft that I came back.

Yes, I still get nostalgic for all of the old games. I think it would be fun to get a guild or group of friends together and have nostalgia nights. We could play all of our old favorites and share the stories of our first true loves in the gaming world. You already know that I still love WoW and I still hate it at times as well but it's a true passion. The gaming industry is ever changing, there is always something new coming out. In this article alone we can see that over the course of 25 years things changed drastically, from simple games like Pong to the more advanced console games, from the earliest BBS multi player games to MUD's. Now we have games like WoW and LotRO. Things will always change but we will always have our first loves. So, what are some of your fond memories?


Chris said...

My first game happened to be an rpg. It was Ultima on my Apple ][+. Played the whole Ultima series. Also Wizardry and I really like Questron. Was flying to the last fight, I think it was the evil wizard. And we had a brown out. Loaded Questron again and it said my character was lost in the dungeon. Some kind of anti reset cheat. Made me so sick. 6 months of playing lost. Never played it again. One of the things that drew me to computer RPGs was I liked D&D but not most he D&D dorks at my Jr High. I could now play without them. I'm not anti social, if you knew the D&D guys in my school, you'd understand. You probably had them at your school too.

Triv said...

Oh, I definitely had them around me. Funnily though we just accepted them as part of the culture. Now that the crowd has grown older the "normal" ones have moved on to other things. I'm sure there are those that would wish to play now and again but, mostly it would be the odd ducks. At least that is, in my experience.

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