I am participating in Promptapalooza, this year’s version of Blaugust. Each blogger who is participating is assigned a prompt to write about.
SDWeasel described it as “a blogging relay race” in a blog post focused on the prompt: “What’s something you’ve lost along the way that you would love to have back?” You can find that blog post on Unidentified Signal Source.
Today, it is my turn to complete a portion of the Promptapalozza relay race by writing about the prompt: “Tell us 5 Facts About Yourself”. Just for fun, I decided to tell you about five facts about myself that relate to video games.
The next blogger in the relay race is Heather whose blog is called Just Geeking By. The prompt I am sending to her is: “What are some of the things that get you excited in life?” Be sure to check out her blog tomorrow to see what she will write about that prompt.
My First Video Game was Pong
Pong is described as a “tennis like” video game. It was made by Atari, who released a home version of the game in 1975. My father brought home Pong sometime after the release date. I was in elementary school at the time, so my best guess is that my family was playing it in the early 1980s.
I remember watching my father hook up Pong to our TV. It seemed magical that the TV screen we spent so many hours passively watching could become something we could actively play a game on. The controllers were stiff, and designed for hands much bigger than mine, but I was still able to play.
Looking back, I realize that Pong was what sparked an interest in video games in a very young me. I’m still playing video games all these years later, thanks to a random decision by my father to bring Pong home.
Super Mario Brothers Helped Me Bond with My Brother
One of my brothers is autistic. When he was little, he had a very difficult time expressing himself in a way that made sense to others. Somehow, I understood what he was trying to say. I became his translator.
His primary focus was video games and he loved Super Mario Brothers, which was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. He was really good at finding patterns in video games, and it wasn’t long before he could sit down and play through the entire game without losing a life.
My parents decided that he needed to take turns. To their surprise, he happily handed over the controller to me or my sister after he finished a game. My best guess is that he knew that we would burn though three lives very quickly, and he wouldn’t have to wait long before he could play again.
My sister eventually grew tired of the game, in part, because my brother liked to give advice to whoever was playing. She seemed annoyed by this. As for me, I saw this as an opportunity to encourage my brother to practice his “speaking to other people in an understandable way” skills.
When it was my turn, I let him give me whatever advice he had. I’d ask questions about when I should jump, or which monster to attack first. It turned out he was surprisingly good at instructing people how to play this game.
When I messed up and died, he patiently re-explained what I should have done. He never got frustrated by my mistakes. He never made fun of me. I think he honestly wanted to teach me how to be a better player.
Super Mario Brothers gave me the opportunity to bond more with my awkward, brilliant, brother. He later used the skills that he didn’t know he was practicing while we played video games to make friends.
My First MMO was Meridian 59
Meridian 59 (now available on Steam) was released in 1996. It was the first 3D massively multiplayer online game, which means the graphics were better than many other games at the time.
The first thing I noticed was that the player characters, the monsters, and the environment, looked dimensional. All of it was much more solid looking than anything in I’d played before.
In 1996, I was almost, but not quite, done with college. I was living with a group of friends, one of whom was a boyfriend I was in a long-term relationship with. A few of them started playing Meridian 59. Eventually, my boyfriend suggested that I start playing it, too.
My computer at the time was a Frankenstein of a PC. It was made of leftover parts after someone upgraded their computer, and scavenged parts from the IT rooms some of my friends were working in. It worked just well enough to run Meridian 59.
When I first started playing, I ended up on a different server than the one my boyfriend played on – and he was really angry about that. At the time, I assumed that players were just randomly stuck on whatever server had room. Maybe that was how it worked.
The game was fun. It allowed for a little bit of character customization, had guilds that each got their own guild hall, and quests that sometimes involved a puzzle-solving strategy. I kind of want to start playing it again, but it won’t run on the Mac I use today.
Diablo was the First Game I Played Until the Sun Came Up
I wasn’t in a good place after finishing college. In a short span of time, I experienced a break-up with my boyfriend, a move to a new apartment where I lived alone for the first time, a job change, and a second move to accommodate it. My grandmother, whom I loved dearly, passed away shortly after that second move.
Living alone gave me the opportunity to play video games whenever I wanted to. Diablo was released in 1997. It was the first game that I played for several hours at a time. It always came as a surprise when I looked up from the screen to see that the sun was coming up.
I remember feeling terrified the first time I opened the door and The Butcher ran out. That fear appeared on my second play-through and all the ones after that. My favorite memory was when I found a bow that had knockback on it and used it to kill The Skeleton King. He couldn’t get close enough to hit me.
Part of what attracted me to this game was its dark, scary, aesthetic. At the time, I felt like everything around me had crashed and burned. I couldn’t change anything in the real world to make it better.
Diablo gave me the illusion that I could fight against the evils of the world. There was something cathartic about slaying an entire level’s worth of skeletons and demons and making that virtual space calmer and safer than what my real world felt like.
World of Warcraft
My favorite memories of World of Warcraft come from when my husband Shawn and I were playing the game together on a regular basis. I was playing a Dwarven Priest named Bradanna, and he was playing a Dwarven Hunter named Hansbrix (with a bear pet named Fridge).
The screenshot above was taken during the Invasions before the Legion expansion was released. We both found these to be really fun, and spent a lot of time going from one location where an invasion was happening to the next one.
Shawn is legally blind, but could still see well enough to play video games for a while back then. I would read the quest text to him, sometimes trying to do the accent of the quest giver. We would stop playing when he started to get eye-strain, and pick up where we left off another time.
You can find many blogs about The Dwarves and their adventures on this website. It is a partial record from when Shawn and I could play the game together. I intend to find time to make blog posts out of the rest of them.
Tell Us 5 Facts About Yourself is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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