The Moment Gaming 'Clicked' For You?

What’s that game or that moment you remember when gaming just ‘clicked’ for you? Did you have that moment? How’d you get into gaming?

I was just thinking about this the other day after someone asked me this same question. ‘Oh wow you’re really into games! So, what got you into games?’. I never really thought about that until I was asked. For me the moment it just clicked that I love video games was probably when I got the GameCube. I was turning 12 years old and saved my own money to buy a console for the first time on my own. I’d been reading Nintendo Power for months right before, getting excited about the console, playing Luigi’s Mansion & Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Then when I got the console with Super Smash Bros. Melee, I was so hooked and excited. I spent hours playing that game with my brother and my friends. That was also the first console that I actually played a Legend of Zelda game for more than five minutes. It was also the first time I played a Metroid game, along with Metroid Fusion on the GBA. It was the first of many things that ended up making gaming my favourite past time and a hobby I care deeply about.

I’d love to hear everyone’s stories as I find it fascinating to hear from people around the world about the hobby we all love!

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Super Mario Bros on NES.

We had an Atari 5200 before (was too young before/parents to poor for 2600) that I played some, but it mostly sucked and didn’t hold my interest.

I definitely got “Mario fever” as the ads called it when we finally got an NES. It was later on too, probably 1989 or 1990. My parents still weren’t that well off before then and just couldn’t afford it.

My first experience of the NES. I went to my friends house. He had all these NES games on the floor and I had never seen a Nes before. He put Akari warriors on and we played through the whole game. After that all I wanted was something to play games on. I went to a car boot sale and found a spectrum 48k and paid 5pounds for it.

I didn’t get a game console until I was 26 (my girlfriend at the time got me a DS). My little brother had a snes that I played Secret of Mana on but I got into drugs when I was a teen and stopped gaming in general other than to play on other peoples systems.

The more I think about it the more I have to go back to my really early life. My first ever experience with video games. I watched my dad play on the original star wars game at an Arcade ans I got one of these when I was 5

I’m 34, right on the edge of a generation that grew up never knowing a time before video games.

I liked games well enough growing up but they never dominated my life. We had an Atari 5200 and an NES. Mario was cool, but I loved to ride my bike, too.

Then, New Years Eve 1991, my 22 year old brother let me play his Sega Genesis. The adults wanted to watch a horror movie – Pulse, as I recall – and I had to be distracted from the horrors that were to unfold. So I was lead up to my brother’s bedroom (normally off-limits) and sat down in front of Sonic the Hedgehog.

It captured my attention in a way that no other video game had up until that point. I think it was the combination of everything – being in my older brother’s room (he’s 14 years older than I am!), playing a brand new game console, playing my first 16-bit game, it all melded together in to something weirdly unforgettable.

I only got to play Sonic that one time. My brother moved out not long after. For Christmas 1992, when I asked for a Genesis of my own, I got a Super Nintendo. I spent the rest of my childhood chasing Sonic the Hedgehog; playing a few minutes at friends houses, or at in-store demo kiosks. It was never enough.

I started reading video game magazines to learn about Sonic games. My first issue of any gaming magazine was Gamepro; it had the Hulk on the cover and contained a “ProStrategy” guide for Sonic 3, which I used to memorize the game in lieu of owning it for myself. Even after I finally got a Genesis of my own (for my birthday in 1994), I watched Sonic on TV, I drew Sonic in the margins of my school notebooks, and eventually, wanted to make my own Sonic games with my friends.

And that just… kind of… never stopped. I tumbled head first in to the video game industry through Sonic the Hedgehog. All of my creative skills today are probably because my interest in Sonic the Hedgehog helped me hone them. I’m a decent artist, decent writer, and decent game developer, and it’s all thanks to a cartoon rodent.

Weird, huh?

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I enjoyed the act of playing games immediately, but the first time I actually realized the depth was playing Super Metroid and getting really engrossed in the atmosphere and story that was told mostly without words. I had to know what the next area was, what the next boss was going to look like because they were all awesome monsters. Before that, I had just played Super Mario World, and though it was a joyous experience it didn’t feel very deep in any way. To this day, I still go for games that are more intriguing and don’t show you everything on the surface.

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It’s hard to recall seeing as how I’ve been playing games more or less my whole life. If I had to guess it would probably have been playing Mario. But what I remember the most is playing Master Blaster. I loved the music, exploring, getting out of the tank and hoofing it around, and pretty much everything else that game had to offer.

Wow, it’s honestly so hard to pin it down to one moment.

My dad was a casual fan of games in college, and he had a small collection of things for MS-DOS, like Mario Bros., Shooting Gallery, Major Stryker, and D/Generation. My earliest memories with games are playing those and watching my older brother be way better at them.

One year for Christmas we got a Nintendo 64, and I didn’t even know what it was, lol. I would play Super Mario 64 and just wander aimlessly around Bob-omb Battlefield - not the entire level, just the entry area before you run up the ramp with the coins on it. I didn’t understand that you even could get across the ramp until I watched a babysitter play.

I also remember getting a Game Boy Pocket some time after - probably for a birthday or something. My first game of my own was Kirby’s Star Stacker, and I officially became a Kirby fan. I’d go on to get Kirby’s Dreamland 2, then Kirby’s Dreamland 1, and maybe most importantly, Pokemon Red.

But even after recounting all of that, I think the closest thing I have to one decisive moment would be playing Raiden 2 at Pizza Hut. My school (along with many others in the US) was part of a program that rewarded students with a free kids-size pizza for reading X number of days in the month. Once a month, we’d go to Pizza Hut, and I’d beg my parents for quarters to play. It became the main reason I even read in the first place; I couldn’t wait to go back and try and fully upgrade the giant purple lightning laser weapon.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 when I was about 4. My cool uncle showed me how to play and I’ve been playing games since.

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So I was born in 1989. My first memory of playing video games (and honestly it may be my first memory full stop) is Christmas Day in 1992 or 1993 and I’m sitting on the floor in front of a TV in my grandparents’ spare room. My sister and two cousins are on the bed passing the controller around playing the first level of Super Mario Brothers. I remember that being my first introduction to gaming, but I don’t think that’s when it clicked for me.

Going through the years, my sister and I enjoyed playing the NES and then the Genesis. My sister enjoyed puzzle games, and I enjoyed adventure ones. She would always play Tetris with my mother on our Apple, and my father and I would always play Prince of Persia. Mind you, we never had the manual, so we kept dying on the DRM of the manual telling you which potion you needed to drink. Again, good memories, but not the one that made gaming click for me.

At 11 years old, I had a major accident that left me bed-ridden for about 6 weeks. During that time I had an Xbox, and I would play games like Amped and Morrowind. Man, I dumped a few hundred hours into Morrowind in my pre-teen years. I loved the absolute absurdity and weirdness of that game. It was also the first RPG that I had ever played. Memorable, but still not that snaps fingers clicking moment.

The click happened in 2004. The game was City of Heroes. Here I was playing a game, designing a superhero, and being awesome. I had touched MMOs before (EQ, Star Wars Galaxies, FFXI), but I never really got into any of them seriously. With CoH I was hooked. I was reading the lore on the website, I was buying the comics, I bought the novelizations, and the key aspect of it for me? I joined the forums. It was at that moment that I realized that there was more to this hobby than playing video games for a bit of escapism. There was the social aspect. There was the fact that I could talk and enjoy the company of other people while I played. I joined a supergroup (think guild or clan), I was an active member of the forum community (I still remember big names like CuppaJo and Satanic_Hamster who was my supergroup leader), and I was fully invested in this group of people.

I was in my teens, going through puberty, and here I was, playing a kinetic/electric defender and experiencing fun while simultaneously making friends. That’s when I realized that I truly loved the community and social aspect of the activity. That’s when it clicked for me.

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I’m a lifelong gamer myself. My parents enjoyed going to arcades in their mid and late twenties through the 80’s, and they owned an Atari 2600 prior to my birth. My first experience with games was on that Atari 2600, but I can only very very vaguely recall it - I didn’t know how to operate the console so I had to ask my dad to set me up when he got home from work. I recall playing some F1-based racing game and the Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man, which as a little kid, I didn’t realize was such a poor version of the game. Parents got me a Sega Genesis bundled with Sonic 1 and 2, and a Ninja Turtles game, and that was basically my first personal console (it was gifted to me on my 5th birthday, but it was technically a gift for both me and my younger brother). Went on to have a SNES, Gameboy, and family PC that I only ever played the first two Doom games and the first two Warcraft games on up until the N64 and PlayStation.

It wasn’t really until 1998 when I played Ocarina of Time and Metal Gear Solid that I went from just casually enjoying games to really starting to appreciate them. It was with OoT and MGS that they became kind of important, big, grand experiences in my mind. I was in awe of the scale and open feeling of OoT, and the cinematic features of MGS. I barely could comprehend the story of MGS at the time, back then all I was able to interpret out of the story was “so nukes are really bad and I just stopped a giant nuke launching mech” – I had a tendency to skip a lot of cutscenes at the time.

So the N64 and PlayStation era of games is kind of where I feel like I truly entered the fold. I retroactively appreciate some of the games that came before that, but I don’t feel that I truly appreciated what they offered as videogames at the first point of contact – they were more or less just kinda neat ways to pass time up until then, but I did not possess a deep interest or emotional investment until a little later in life.

Kirby’s Dreamland 3 on the Super Nintendo was the first game that had me begging my parents for my first console. I’d play it with a friend at their house after school and I was always P2 Gooey (who is very endearing with his lopsided eyes and floppy tongue). The music, characters and juxtaposition between cute and creepy design elements really had me hooked. I’d draw shadowy eyeball enemies all day at school. It wasn’t the first game I owned though.
Pokemon Red was the first one I got to play in my own house. I brought Pokemon Red everywhere. Family friend’s houses, parent’s errands, car rides. I think it was both great and horrible for my parents. Great because I was never ever bored and they could take me anywhere and I’d be quiet. Horrible because I’d do nothing but play Pokemon all day, so it wasn’t as easy for people to connect with me at home unless they wanted to watch me play haha
Haven’t stopped being enthralled with games. It’s my main source of entertainment and it’s so fun to share with friends.

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Street Fighter 2. Lots of cool different characters to choose from, fantastic and addictive competitive gameplay, great music, my 5yo self wasn’t ready, lol. I had played games before, but this is why I wanted a SNES. I had a SNES before I had a NES now that I think about it.

Apparently I’ve been playing video games since I was 6 months old. I couldn’t tell you if that’s accurate or not but I really can’t remember a time where video games weren’t a part of my life. I’ve definitely cut down on them in the past few years and don’t find them that engaging anymore but it’s just something I’ve Always done so I don’t think it’ll ever leave me.

I played a lot of Nintendo and PC games growing up, but around 16 or 17 I felt like I sort of grew out of them. Then, after college, my brother got me to play “Gone Home.” That game made me feel like there was a magic in games again. And I’ve been playing an unreasonable amount of games ever since :slight_smile:

That said, it was “The Beginner’s Guide” that made me want to read about, study and someday make games.

I’ve always had access to video-games, but until I was in my mid-20’s video-games were not a subject to consider; particular instances of playing them were never considered in the context of other instances or other things. So video-games were like going camping or something; I don’t consider myself a “camper” or constantly think about what makes one camping-spot distinct from another.
It wasn’t until I got super deep into recorded music, playing music, music history, art history, making art, media-studies, and the nature of symbols and fiction. Once I had a critical and creative mindset, I realized that the way games resonate with myself and others is fascinating in itself. I don’t think I would think about computer-games nearly as much if their history wasn’t relatively recent or if they weren’t a pop-media. That said, I’m not particularly interested in televised sports so there is something special about them for me.

Why aren’t you making games now?

Metal Gear Solid.

Up to that point I played games as a disposable form of entertainment. I’d load up a game and play the same level over and over just because.

It wasn’t until MGS that I realized games could be more than that. It was hard to wrap my head around the concept of a story in a game and it took awhile to actually beat it. But that game changes my view about games completely.

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Man, tough one.

Like, I remember playing games ever since I was real young. My grandma had a Windows 95 computer with a couple games on it that I was totally sucked into when I was like 3-6 or so. I think there was one called Shooting Gallery. Things like that. There was a computer in the house for most of my young life so poking around it and finding whatever weird old software was on it was one of my hobbies.

But the first game that really like, blew my mind, was Final Fantasy IX. I had a PS1 and had a couple games for it that I really liked (Spyro The Dragon series being a big one), but it wasn’t til FFIX that I was just absolutely blown away. The idea of a game being THAT BIG (four discs!!) and also having this gorgeous opening cutscene and music and the world seemed so BIG and it just completely blew apart my young mind. I would stay up after my bedtime and play it with the volume turned way down. Stuff like that.

I got my NES when I was four and had great memories playing with my dad but I was so young I just kind of did whatever while playing with him. When I was 6 and we finally got a copy of SMB3 and neither of us could get past boom boom in the first mini castle. He worked third shift at a factory so our actual time to play together was limited. One night he woke me up around 5am after he got home. “Shhh… I just beat boom boom!! lets go see whats next!” my mom woke up hours later to find him and I still playing. “he’s sick today. Can’t make it in to school.”

That was when I was hooked, especially games I could co op. Him and I would go on to play and beat contra and super C together as well. Side note but typing this made me realize once again I was incredibly lucky to have the parents that I did.

I would say it clicked after wanting to learn how to play Street Fighter 4. I always enjoyed video games but my enjoyment of them was strictly playing alone. I met a group of guys at my school who literally decimated me every time I played them and it got to the point where I wanted to learn how to actually play. I knew the basics but not the nuances of it, so i went to shoryuken, event hubs, and youtube and did everything i could to get better. This was also the time fighting games were emerging as esports so i also watched streams and engaged with that community.

I found myself enjoying the mechanics and reading tendencies in players and translating that into my gameplay. I enjoyed the community and that spread to other games I play today. To this day if I’m into a game I check to see the status of the community to see if there’s anyway I can engage.