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Hey, I guess I’m a gamer after all!

December 6, 2011

Thanks to Clark Aldrich for reminding me of the wonder of computer games and simulations in #change11 last week.  I hadn’t thought of myself as a ‘gamer’ in the modern sense of World of Warcraft (Wow) devotees or snipers in Call of Duty (CoD) and yet I find myself making comments on blog posts of Jaap’s and Irene’s about the power of simulations and serious games to provide opportunities to practice leadership skills, communication, planning and strategy.  To borrow from Cammy Bean’s reminiscing post again, here’s my take on the games that I’ve adored along the way:

  • About 30 years ago: ColecoVision and Atari in my younger but cooler neighbour’s basement.  Arcade games if my Mom had a few quarters to spare. Boggle and Yahtzee were only board games back then, with real dice and paper and pens to keep score.
  • About 25 years ago: Perhaps the first time I ever saw Pong on a PC?  Learned about basic supply and demand principles from Lemonade Stand.  Felt humiliated by the teasing dog in Duck Hunter.  Stayed up WAY too late at night trying to beat Round 42 on an IBM clone.  Computer golf was basically a horizontal line and a flag but you still had to select a club and adjust for wind speed.  My older but cooler cousin had a knock-off Tetris type game.
  • About 20 years ago: Neighbours I babysat for had a Nintendo!  My first taste of Super Mario 2 and I was hooked, often playing late with the kids’ mom when she came home.  And then Super Mario 3 came out with Yoshi!  Geez, have I really adored turtles for that long?  I sucked at Zelda but it was fun.
  • About 15 years ago: Minesweeper and Lemmings, both addictive.

Last few years: racing to space in Sid Meier’s Civilizations, butchering pop music with modulated mics and hurting my foot with repetitive drum pedalling on RockBand.  I now play Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Tiny Wings and the real Tetris on hand-held devices.  I tried CoD and turned out to be a reasonably good sniper for a noob.  I got myself stuck facing a wall during the first and only time that I ever touched WoW and I can’t read the font on Eve so no massive multiplayer devotion in my immediate future.  I’m happy as a clam to trip down memory lane with newer versions of Super Mario and Hasbro Family Games on a 40″ flat screen with my own Nintendo and XBox, thank you very much.

So, #change11, what’s your gaming story?


From → Smarter worker

  1. Gaming … Oh mine is a long and twisted tale 🙂 I sucked at arcade games and never really got into Atari or Nintendo, though I’d try to keep up with my friends on Gauntlet and took my fair share or short, tragic turns at Dragonslayer.
    I’ve always enjoyed solitaire and tetris, but when I met my husband, he introduced me to the computer fantasy role playing game Might and Magic. I played through all of that series, using it as a reward after writing term papers and exams in university. I enjoyed a good spastic game of Mario Cart every once in a while, but found most arcade-style games more fun to watch than play.
    Then came the MMO’s … I’ve played most of the biggies: Ultima, EverQuest, WOW, City of Heroes, and Champions Online. Through Phil, I got into a few beta tests 🙂 Things like World of Rhyzom that never really made the big time. I even got into the free to play ones before all the companies in North America hopped on the bandwagon: Perfect World, Atlantica, and Free Realms.
    We have a Wii, and I enjoy a good game of Super Mario World, Sceen it, or Rock Band (I’m a drummer too) every once in a while, but now, I’m happily back to spider solitaire.
    My renewed devotion to writing has straightened out my priorities 🙂
    And, I really think of learning as a game. Trying to teach myself Joomla! and then converting everything over to WordPress has been a great adventure!
    Still learning vicariously,

    • Thanks, Melanie, the idea of learning as a game will be a theme in my next post. One of my loved ones is anxiously awaiting the release of Star Wars The Old Republic and has been playing COH and Champions Online for years. 🙂

  2. Haha, I can be very short: none! Seriously, the only time I played was when I had to for a course……And it’s not that I was not exposed to it…..I saw my stepkids playing it hours in a row…..But I always went outside for a long run or swim or whatever 🙂 and I still find the latter a lot more attractive (except, the swimming is a bit difficult in Canada :-))

    • Thanks, Irene. It’s a tough country to find access to the ocean! I remember trying to explain to my friend’s niece in New Zealand, who was three at the time, that driving to the beach could be dozens of hours or multiple days depending on what part of Canada you were heading from! She found this astounding since pretty much any point in NZ is 90 mins. or less to the beach!

  3. My gaming story…Hmmm….

    Pre-1988 –> board games like Battleship, Connect-4, Hotel and Monopoly

    1988 – Played games on my friend’s Amiga 500 🙂 My friend lived in a neighboring city, and we only played during summer vacation when they were visiting relatived in my village for the summer. Games to remember: Blood money, Lode runner, eye of the beholder, NBA, chaos engine, chuch rock

    1990 – I saved and saved and saved my lunch money and other christmas and birthday money and bought a Nintendo Game boy. Initial games were Tetris and Super Mario Land. A year or so later when it became more affordable and in fashion, more friends bought one and we traded games.

    1991- Local friend had an Amstrad CPC, played games on that, games like Uridium. This year I also played NES at friend’s homes while I was vacationing in the US. I got a Sega Game Gear…but rarely played because it required 6 batteries and it sucked them dry really quickly! (probably the worst purchase I ever made lol)

    1993 – Got a super NES for christmas. Super Mario World (where Yoshi made his appearance), Super Mario All stars and Inspector Gadget..

    1994 – Playing Amiga CD32 games and Amiga 500 games, same friend. Most of the games seemed like demo discs from magazines 🙂

    1995 – I get a Mac for School… start playing casual games on it. Games of interest: simulations

    1998 – Played Playstation at a friend’s house

    1999 – Bought a Mac desktop (with my own money! save save save!) and I was finally able to play more graphically demanding games.

    2000 – Played Dreamcast at a friend’s house

    2003 – I get a Mac laptop (much more powerful than my previous machine), and I play star trek games on it 😉

    2007 – I buy a used PSP, and play espionage games on it

    2009 – A friend gives me his used xbox, I play action and espionage games on it.

    • This is great, AK, thanks for weighing in. I LOVED Lode Runner! 🙂 And classic board games like Connect 4 and Monopoly. I just got a Monopoly app for iPod, will have to see if it’s any good. Thanks for tripping down memory lane with us! You would have been a cool neighbour if you were on my street. 🙂

  4. The games I’ve liked to play throughout my life have existed mostly in the “real-world”, although pong was one “video-game” that was able to hold my attention for a reasonably long time. I think because I liked ping-pong and tennis so much, and it mimicked it well enough. I’ve tried to get into other video games but I just can’t sit still playing a game in front of a screen for very long. Like most types of entertainment, it’s a personal thing. You either like it or you don’t. Some people like to watch movies–I don’t. Some people like to play video games–I don’t.

    • Thanks, SP. In all these years (um, decades now), I hadn’t looked at Pong as having real-world cousins before in ping-pong or tennis! 🙂 I guess I always thought of video games as separate, though the ones I’m drawn to now have a nostalgic feel as digital versions of classic card or board games. I enjoy a good real-world game of euchre! 🙂

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