Waypoint Weeklies: Childhood Favorites

Hey everyone, it’s time for another Waypoint Weeklies, where we present a question or prompt for everyone to discuss.

Playing games as a child was an exciting experience for many of us, and any game we could get our hands on was cherished for the fun to be had. Even when that game was a demo disc you got in the mail, licensed shovelware your parents bought not knowing what games were good, or the edutainment installed on the school computers.

So this week, think back and share the games you loved as a child.

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I was a Sony child. Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon my two companions. I played Goldeneye and Smash at my babysitter’s house. Then Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank (and eventually Sly Cooper).

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A few of mine. I was a licensed game fiend as a child, if you put a Brand :tm: I liked on a game between 1996 and 2001, I was there to play it.

Chaos Island: The Lost World was a Command & Conquer clone with a Jurassic Park skin, including - inexplicably - most of the cast of the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum, Vince Vaughn, Richard Attenborough, Julianne Moore are all playing their characters from the film, and that was definitely part of the charm. Also, you could breed dinosaurs to be in your little army. I played and replayed this game dozens of times, just to perfect my strategies on each map.

Speaking of Jeff Goldblum, he’s also Dracula in the Goosebumps: Escape from HorrorLand game and it was… really weird.

My mother was big into mystery games, point-and-click sorts of things, so I wanted to play them too… but Myst was quite challenging for an 7 year old, so I played Detective Barbie In the Mystery of the Carnival Caper! and Scooby-Doo! Mystery of the Fun Park Phantom instead. Weird, in retrospect, how many of the games I played as a child were set in amusement parks.

Once I got a GBC, and later a PS2, I mostly played better known games. Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, the Tales of games, and eventually other Nintendo and Square-Enxi games dominated my teen years.

But one licensed game on the PS2 that stuck with me was Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist of the Roses. I love Yu-Gi-Oh!, so I kept buying these games even though a weird number of them weren’t just the card game as it existed IRL or in the show. Duelist of the Roses was a confusing chess game. Also, actual quote:

Actually, Henry Tudor is my name. But I find it tiresome. You may call me ‘Yugi’.

So, like, GOAT.

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I remember Duelist of the Roses! I played about 10 minutes of it but my brain couldn’t get around it, so I took my Magnet Warriors and ran. I forgot what I traded them for, though.

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Huge Madden franchise mode kid. Still have an active save in Madden 2005 with a seven or eight season franchise mode save that I played every game of.

That and Pokemon Leafgreen and Emerald. Was really infatuated with those games to the tune of 300 something hour saves.

Didn’t get into less mainstream games (like… Zelda. Really just Madden and Pokémon. ) until I was a teen, which I do sometimes regret. Think it would have been awesome to experience some of the great PS2 JRPGS when I was a kid. But I basically just turned my Madden games into RPGs anyways, tracking the careers of my favorite players and building their ratings.

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Every video game must stack up to my dueling childhood memories of Ratchet and Clank and my pirated copy of Age of Empires 2. Games must be as good as one or both of these to be all-timers.

If you don’t have a gun that flattens every enemy in the game but is MANDATORY (almost) for the final boss, or a cheat that gives you virtually indestructible cars with machine guns, GTFO.

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I was never particularly good at duelist of the roses still really enjoyed it. Lots of licensed games as a kid for me. specifically the ps2 era gundam games and wrestling games. though my first experience with games may have been edutainment stuff like carmen sandiego at school. played madden on season mode predominantly as opposed to franchise because at the time i wasn’t interested in the gm aspect and just wanted to dive into the play calling part of it. a part of me wants to get the new hitman trilogy to see if i vibe with it cause i had blood money as a teen but was too impatient at the time

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A small library of Carmen Sandiego computer games. Like, yeah, I know she was a thief, but I was real hard-up for Latine role models as a child and being able to steal the entire Washington Monument? The absolute legend. But yeah, my mother got me Where in the World, Where in the USA and Where in Time. I honestly remember having a lot of fun figuring stuff out, even though I mostly played them alone since my siblings would lose interest after a while. The Family Computer was kind of a novelty back then, and we usually ended up wanting to play outside more.

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I got a C64 for my 10th birthday, my first real encounter with video games. (I watched someone play Pac-Man on an Atari at someone’s birthday party before but wasn’t allowed to play it myself.) The game I remember playing on it the most by far is Sid Meier’s Pirates!

It’s important to know that I didn’t know a lick of English at the time, and my parents weren’t much better at it, either. So playing it was a whole lot of guessing what certain words mean (or more appropriately: what they do). It wasn’t hard to figure out that the “Investigate” option on the “Sail ho!” screen makes the ship in the picture larger, but making the connection that it’s another ship that I’m approaching took a bit longer :slight_smile:

It was about 6 months later that I graduated to the next form of school and started English lessons. There was a certain mystery to playing something so inaccessible to me, but being able to actually know what certain words mean unlocked a whole new layer of interesting stuff that I just wouldn’t even have stumbled across. There are treasure maps! Caravans carrying silver! Lost family members!

Sid Meier’s Pirates! held my attention for a very long time. I played a bunch of other games on that system but nothing grabbed me quite like this one.

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I was a child through the 80s-90s, and in Europe that means that I played video games on a system that doesn’t exist really any more. [For me, it was always Commodore - C128 to various Amigas - but others will remember the ZX Spectrum, the line of Atari computers that rivaled Commodore for and so on].

This was also the era of coverdisks being a thing - I got to play a lot of demos of commercial games (and full shareware and public domain games) via monthly computer magazines - and I’m sure that going by “most played”, some of those are going to be in this list…

…in fact, I am pretty sure that Scorched Tanks [Scorched Tanks - Wikipedia], was probably my most played multiplayer game of my teens. Sure, it’s “just” an Artillery game, but it had a huge array of loadouts and terrain modification effects (“liquid plastic” to make a surface rubbery to reflect shells, for example), and the game music is [in common with many Amiga games, especially compared to IBM PCs of the time] actually pretty good.

(Runners up are a bunch of the commercial fighting games of the period - Mortal Kombat, Body Blows, and so on - and a bunch of Thrust-style games - Gravity Force [and Amiga magazine Amiga Power-sponsored “sequel”, Gravity Power], R3 etc - as well as probably the better-known-Amiga-artillery game, Worms [better comedy than Scorched Tanks, less interesting effects])

in the commercial games space, though, almost certainly my most played and most thought about games - although I never finished either of them, were
Cannon Fodder - Sensible Software’s controversial-at-the-time anti-war tactical top-down small-team shoot-em-up. (For again, the music, the level design, and probably actually because everyone else was playing it - but it manages a lot of tension in most of the levels, just because you have usually less than 5 men [and in some missions maybe just 1], all of whom are just as fragile as the enemy… and the enemy are small blobs of pixels wearing camo fatigues suited to the terrain…) I remember that there was enough buzz about Cannon Fodder when I was at school that we’d spend a lot of time discussing tactics for difficult missions for several months after it came out.

and

Hired Guns : DMA Design’s full-3d 4-viewpoint SF RPG, notable for coming on a ridiculous number of floppy disks [8, I think?], and luckily having awesome music that played during loading screens so you didn’t mind spending some time swapping them. [And for, even more generously than usual for the time, coming with not just a manual, but two additional booklets - one with potted biographies of the player’s team and some in-game-viewpoint discussion of some of the technologies, and one with a short story set just before the game begins!] Hired Guns is brilliant, but also super hard (and clearly limited by the technologies of the time - the world is full 3d and real-time, but you’re constrained to moving on a grid and turning on one too), and I don’t think I ever got more then 30% into completing it!

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In Kindergarten, I really wanted a Nintendo 64 to play Mario 64. My cousins had bought an N64, so they kindly sent my family their old SNES. I played lots of games on it, but the one that will always hold a special place in my heart is Super Mario World. My mom and I would play it for 30-45 minutes every day after school before starting on my homework. We beat the game together, the file got deleted by a friend (a tragedy for me at 5 years old) and my mom and I worked hard to beat it again. I still go back to the game every few years because it’s so familiar and brings back those good memories.

I also started getting an allowance at that time, $1/week, and my dad said if I saved up $100 he would take me to the store to buy a Nintendo 64. After saving $50 (probably some tooth fairy money and extra chores here and there) he knew I was serious. He took me to Toys R Us, bought the Donkey Kong 64 Jungle Green Nintendo 64 pack, I bought Mario 64 with my money, and he bought Star Fox 64 on top of all of it because he thought it looked cool. I was ecstatic. My dad and I played DK64 and Star Fox together quite frequently, using the guidebook for DK64 and drawing our own paths through Star Fox to find the best one.

A few months later we rented Mario Kart 64, and my mom wouldn’t stop playing it. We ended up getting that for her for Mother’s Day.

I want to say, I know that I am really privileged to have those memories. My parents have always supported my hobbies and interests, and it was great to have them help me explore video games. They still play games! For Christmas one year we got Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii, and we would wake up to my mom playing it first thing in the morning that entire Christmas break (and swearing when it got hard haha). My younger brother bought a Switch to share with them, and my Mom has been playing tons of Animal Crossing, as well as Super Mario World on the SNES Online service (this goes back full circle). Sometimes, video games are great.

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As a kid gaming on PC in the early 90s, I was all about that shareware. A computer store about an hours drive from us had a huge shareware library they’d sell on 5 1/2” floppies. They’d mail out a newsletter each month with new additions to the catalogue and we’d keep them all in a big binder. A few times a year mum would drive us down there and we’d get to pick out a few shareware games we’d chosen from the catalogue.

I played and loved all the Apogee platformers, Command Keen, Duke Nukem, Bio Menace, Crystal Caves, Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure, Monster Bash, Haloween Harry. There were no Italian plumbers in my childhood!

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I didn’t have a console for most of my childhood so I didn’t really get familiar with console games until my teens, but before that it was gaming on shitty PC’s! As for the games, I was pretty much limited to the games that I could get through the Scholastic Book Order - a system we had in our school where we’d get a catalog of books and other educational media we could order from and they ship it to the school, honestly really thankful we had it. On the back page of the catalog, they usually had some games, and my siblings and I were able to convince our parents to get some games from it from time to time, and many of the games intersected with my other big interest at the time - legos!

The first game we ever choose to get was LEGO Racers. It was a kart game, but where it really stood out (and I wouldn’t learn this until later when I finally played a Mario Kart) was the power-up system. The system was that there were different colored bricks for the different types of powers (red forward attack, yellow backwards, green boost, blue shield), and the power up could be upgraded by collecting white bricks around the track. It was really dang neat. I still have the disc and played it last year even. Also played a ton of LEGO Chess, the LEGO Island series, and LEGO Stunt Rally.

I was also able to get Civilization III through the scholastic book order, and started my love for strategy games. My first game I had no clue I could make more than one city (why would I ever make a settler?). But I slowly learned the game and enjoyed it. Wasn’t until the next game where I’d really dig deep into it, but I loved it at the time. I’d also get Roller Coaster Tycoon through the scholastic book order and that game also influenced my love for simulation games.

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Loving this prompt and filling me with all sorts of nostalgia.I was probably overly fortunate and got to play a bunch of games growing up. I don’t know if there were any individual games I would say necessarily consumed a piece of my life.

One of my all-time favorite games that I think I have probably belabored on this forum before is Dragon Warrior Monsters II: Cobi’s Journey. Pokemon was fine but this is was my real love. Creating generations and generations of pixelated monsters was the perfect loop. Sometimes I wouldn’t breed my favorites for sentimental purposes. Don’t think I ever did end up beating the game but finding the different keys to other worlds and the different plugs I would try to plug up the hole in my island was something I spent countless hours on. The one game that probably covered a wide swath of my childhood and into my teens.

Like Glorgu, the Scholastic Book Order was a staple in my youth gaming. When I was about 11 my dad gave me an old-ish Dell laptop and I thought it was the single coolest thing I could have. There was something about having something I could type my own personal notes in, the ramblings of a pre-teen, and a screen that was just for me. Playing console games on the TV while having a sibling always felt like a communal experience. Such as him playing a FF or us playing Madden, it was great but the experience wasn’t solely mine. Maybe I’m selfish but as the younger brother I wanted something like that and this laptop was the gateway into my own little world to dabble in. Rambling, but the Scholastic Book Order was a great way to get games that could run on that thing including RCT and Civ III. One of the other games that really gave me great memories was SimCity 3000. All these games allowed me to feel like I was part of something bigger because I was taking control of something sizeable from the top. Whether that was controlling a nation, the creation of a city, or an amusement park.

Then there was also going to Big Lots and going to their $5 or less movies and game section. That’s where I was able to pick up Baseball Mogul, a significantly worse version of say an OOTP Baseball. I don’t even really like baseball but something that I loved then and still love now in my sports games is that every day there was a section of the game that was formatted like a Newspaper where it highlight maybe a win streak, a career achievement for someone, or maybe a little note on the standings. You could click through and see the data that was being backed up. I always cherish when a game incorpates a media component as it takes all the data and creates something that is more alive. Like NFL 2K5 from my teenage years, those Sportcenters and half-time/post-game highlights are still better than anything modern games are doing. Sorry, putting social media in your games stink.

Anyways, probably going to think of some more later. Sony platformers in general were huge for me but I don’t think I can quite pinpoint one of those games that broke through for me in a specific way.

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I remember that the Gameboy Advance was my most used console as a kid, but I don’t remember what all games I played on it (other than Pokemon). It was very convenient to be able to play games wherever my parents took me (e.g. the laundromat).

However, I stopped playing portable games after that because 1) the PSP was not very comfortable to use and 2) the DS seemed gimmicky. Flash forward to 2018, I got a Switch and thought “Wow, it’s so convenient to be able to play games while not near a tv! Why did I ever stop using handheld consoles?”

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I’ll just go through a long run out of my favorite PC games as a little kid.

There is, of course, the Putt Putt series of point and click games. Putt Putt is a talking car with a puppy who goes on adventures. Every game gives you the eventual option to paint him blue, which was the coolest thing ever.

Then let’s talk about Jump Start Third Grade: Mystery Mountain another point and click game, this one much more educatainment-ish. You’re a POV led around by a robot butler, Botley, and have to stop your evil sister (who looks exactly like a fusion of Dexter and Dee Dee from Dexter’s Lab) from destroying the fabric of time so she can pass her failed history test.

Next up, Stunts this is a first-person driving game on DOS with really shitty graphics now. But as a kid you could build your own tracks and that kicked ass. Probably horrific driving controls, but who cares.

Also, my dad let me play way too much Command and Conquer and I would murder villagers until my mom took that game away.

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OH wow, I remember Botley! That game had a Breakout-ish minigame I loved as a kid where he rolled into the ball you bounce into brucks. But I think my fave Jump Start was… Fourth Grade? I think that was the one set in some haunted forest.

My biggest heartbreak as a young gamer boy was never getting the opportunity to beat The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge because the disc got damaged somehow and I was never able to clean it properly. I don’t remember if the game was actually any good, but it was a character action game where you played as Jack Skellington and the boss fights were musical numbers, so it couldn’t have been all that bad either.

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I have fond memories of quite a few games from my childhood, but I’ll just list three here.

I loved loved loved Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes on N64. It’s a third person shooter (with a surprising amount of platforming!), but you play as little toy army dudes. Other than just being fun to play, I really dug the level design. Some of the campaign levels were like, what would be mundane areas around the house (bathroom, garden, kitchen), but because of the way this game handled scale, each of these levels took on the feel of a giant world (if you’ve played I Am Bread, think something like that).

Another childhood favorite of both me and my brother was War of the Monsters for PS2, a 3D brawler where you took the role of a giant monster and beat up other giant monsters. The character list included your King Kong and Godzilla stand-ins, but also some more interesting ones like a giant preying mantis, a cyclops made entirely of electricity, and…a gundam? (look up Ultra V if you’re interested). Oh yeah, and each level was almost entirely destructible, and you could pick up cars and pieces of building debris to use as weapons, which really added to that “rampaging monster” feel.

Finally, Megaman Battle Network 5: Team Colonel. I loved handhelds as a kid (and still do!), and other than Pokemon, this was probably my most played game for Game Boy Advance (I played some of the other entries in the series, but this was my fave). One Step From Eden from last year is the closest I’ve felt to playing one these again (but without the “overworld” parts which I actually enjoyed), but I so badly would love another Battle Network, even if it’s just a Switch remake/port :pleading_face:

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I was sent off to live with my grandparents in my smaller hometown when I was young; because of this I vividly remember the time before I knew what computers and video games were, around the early to mid 90s. My cousin, who lived in Japan for some years, later introduced me to his NES and Game Boy games, particularly the original Bomberman, which I think was the first game I’ve ever played and I’m still really fond of it for that reason.

So as a kid I only played console games at friends’ houses or at my cousin’s. When I was living with my parents again, my dad brought home a PC from work which came with one of the Microsoft Entertainment Packs and I really liked Rodent’s Revenge and SkiFree lol; it’s kinda funny to me thinking back since I remember having to ask my dad to start these games for me since I could not maneuver the mouse at all; being left-handed probably didn’t help, but I also had never really seen a computer before (I was about 8-9 years old).

But once I got used to it, I was in it, and in the subsequent years I played a ton of random-ass shareware CD-ROMs (Hugo’s House of Horrors, Soultrap, Road Rash etc), Tomb Raider (played a lot of this game in an improvised multiplayer mode with a friend, where we each took a side of the keyboard), The Sims (had to play it muted for years since the PC couldn’t handle the audio for some reason) and finally the SimCopter demo, which I probably spent hundreds of hours playing as a pseudo-proto-walking sim, no joke. As is the case with many people, I think a lot of my early knowledge of English comes from these games and the walkthroughs I had to trudge through to make progress (looking at you, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation). The fact that I was actually learning a little bit of another language via video games was something that I really enjoyed and found pretty motivating, even as a kid.

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