Fussbett 8/16/2006 

Pac-Man by Namco, 1980
PINBALL -- My grandfather discovered that the arcade had some milk crates I could stand on. Before this discovery, he was just holding me up to reach the flippers. This advancement in lifting technology lead to me playing pinball more often, and my grandfather looking less like a weirdo. Win/win.

INVADERS.COM -- Space Invaders clone, in ASCII, on the Commodore Pet. I couldn't get enough.

SPACE FURY -- I saw someone entering their initials into the highscore table. I thought the game was about spelling and/or reading, and since I couldn't read yet, I made sure to stay away from all arcade games, and stuck with pinball.

BLACK KNIGHT -- Split playfield and multiball? A technological wonder!

PAC-MAN -- I saw Pac-Man at the rollerskating rink, and realized that video games were not all video crossword puzzles. I couldn't even wrap my mind around the level of awesomeness that was this strange game about being chased by ghosts. Why were only 4 people huddled around this magical machine? How could the teenagers rollerskate at a time like this?! That night at home I tried to replicate the experience of playing Pac-Man by drawing a maze on paper, and then chasing my left hand magic marker with a magic marker in my right hand. I was 6-years-old, so this wasn't as stupid as it was pathetic. Ok, it was stupid too, but these were the lows a kid would have to sink to in 1981.

ADVENTURELAND -- Adventureland is the home computer successor of the trailblazing ADVENT, which I also played on my dad's office Pet. Despite loving all things dungeon-esque and dragon-like, my character was always getting bitten with "chiggers" or something and it was frustrating like I never knew a game could be. I never really figured out what the fuck was going on, so I gave up. Foreshadowing?

VENTURE -- The first game I "finished". There was no real ending to this ColecoVision port of the arcade game, as once you've grabbed all the treasures, the game just yanks the last 5 away from you, and the loop repeats forever. For the first time, I would actually put down the controller out of boredom instead of dying. This left me feeling sad, like when you find out there is no Easter Bunny.

ATARI 2600 CONTROLLERS -- We would laugh hysterically when sticking the suction-cup-like rubber joystick cover onto the TV screen, to "kiss" some HORT actress. Not only would the suction make a comical POP sound, but sometimes the scene would change quicker than your reaction time, and you'd accidentally plant a "kiss" ON A MAN, to the delight of all your friends! Foreshadowing?

VICTORY -- The first game-breaking bug I experienced. Victory was a little-known game for the ColecoVision, and could only be played with the "Roller Controller" peripheral. The manual explained that if you blah blah blah long enough, the "Quarks" would be released from their dormant state, and that means trouble. After playing the game for days and never suffering the wrath of the Quarks, I eventually just sat there, and waited, doing nothing. The Quarks never came, and I realized that the game was never actually finished. Fortunately I got this game for $9 after Coleco had gone bankrupt.

TUNNELS AND TROLLS -- My first experience with a game pictured on the box that was never released. Being 8, we didn't keep up with industry news, so we'd always look for Tunnels and Trolls in the toy store, and it would NEVER be there. Oh well, maybe next week! I hope you're in Hell now, you lying-to-eight-year-olds Coleco fat cat motherfuckers!

BRUCE LEE -- The first time I saw a "true" ending for a video game. My friend marched through the entire C64 game in about 30 minutes, and arrived in the treasure room so that we could see the little Bruce Lee sprite jump up and down in celebration (spoiler!). I loved it.

CONQUEST.EXE -- The first PC game I ever pirated. A pretty good CGA Joust rip-off. I didn't know that my transaction was illegal because I bought the game from a company called "Dr. Disk". Perhaps the house basement retail point of purchase should have tipped me off, but it's not like PC games were in stores. I just wrote it off as part of the PC being massively unpopular.

THE ADAM -- The first time I made the mistake of not keeping video games under wraps while in the presence of HORT girls. Serina mentioned that her family had an Adam back in the day. Since Adam games are Coleco games, I thought we now had a BOND. Imagine my 12-year-old horror when Serina made fun of me after I didn't get the hint, and asked which Adam games she had in her collection. In front of her friends. DECIMATION. She probably only had Buck Rogers and Timepilot anyway. FUCK HER.

Flight Simulator 2 by subLogic, 1984
SOME FLIGHT SIMULATOR -- My first PC was my dad's XT. As previously mentioned, games were not available in the stores, so what precious few games I did have access to, I played the hell out of. Sometimes you had to add your own fun with these games, as is the case with this dry-as-dirt CGA passenger plane flight sim. Me and a friend would take turns being the pilot. Shortly after take-off, the other guy would bust into the "cabin" and try to take control of the plane. A wrestling match ensued (the only rules: no punching, kicking or hairpulling) and the pilot would try to fend off the attack while keeping the plane in the air. Sometimes the terrorist would just want to crash the plane, and other times he'd have the goal of changing the plane's destination, but often in the cramped "cabin", as a result of that fracas, a key would be misspressed or the keyboard dropped -- and the plane would SPIN OUT OF CONTROL! Which of course was the whole point really. COULD THE PILOT SUBDUE THE TERRORIST AND RIGHT THE PLANE?!?!?! All in all, I remember it being a lot of fun. And gay.

SUPER MARIO BROS. -- My first dream about a video game. I dreamed that I got the MIND BLOWINGLY AWESOME Super Mario Bros. for my crap ass XT. I was never happier. Upon waking, I went down to the basement, turned on the computer and then realized... I didn't have Super Mario Bros. I may have cried, or peed my pants. It's hard to say.

GAUNTLET -- My first TK.

WARCRAFT -- The first time I played a real modem game. Not knowing what your opponent was doing scared the piss out of me. I was a nervous, physically shaking wreck for each and every Warcraft match.

X-COM -- My first schedule-altering video game addiction. I discovered that the birds start chirping around 5:00am, and this would remind me to go to bed. I would sleep for maybe 5 hours, wake up, and turn on the computer to play for the rest of the summer day. I would leave to hang out with friends or see a movie, but the longer I was away from X-Com, the more I felt a pain... Possibly in my spleen. When I finished X-Com it was a great/awful day. I told everyone I knew about X-Com. No one gave a shit.

TEKKEN -- The first game to be played all night with a group of competitive friends. Eight years later these same friends are bored with fighting games and most video games in general, while I still love them. I can't quite figure out why this is, but I suspect that it means I might be The One.

QUAKE 2 -- The first game I seriously played online. After being too sucky/intimidated to get into Quake online, I buckled down on the office ISDN line and decided to not rest until I was a decent Quake 2 player. Much like the X-Com phenomenon, I found myself describing good Q2 matches to disinterested friends, and electing to leave gatherings earlier, with the secret intention of playing more Quake 2. At least now I didn't tell any girls about my shame.

Ready to share your top moments? Join the thread! -- ICJ