Gaming: How my hobby developed.

As a child I was very much interested in films and books, and I was initially exposed to video games through the Official Xbox Magazine when I was about five years old. I found the magazine in the office of our old house in the same box as my father’s seldom-used original Xbox and was blown away by the detailed explanations of why various games brought something new to the table for then-miniscule gaming public.

The writing styles were invariably detailed, which contrasted with what I typically read in books, and my newfound familiarity with the games industry was what prompted me to join the computing club at primary school, where I had my first experience playing a video game.

A1wjjxgq69L.pngStar Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998)

Our teacher had a wide variety of PC games, and during lunch in computing club we were given free rein to play them at our leisure. For me I spent most of my time playing Civilisation III, Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey or Quake 2, the latter of which was the first video game I ever played and has remained (in my mind) the gold standard of gameplay and sound design in gaming.

Beyond this I started playing on my parent’s Windows 95 tower PC and my father’s Xbox console. On PC I spent most of my time playing the Rogue Squadron Series (especially the first) on a Microsoft brand joystick. Whilst my gaming tastes expanded exponentially on Xbox, where I played genres such as racing games, (including Mashed: Fully Loaded, Project Gotham Racing 2, Burnout 3 Takedown) strategy games, (Aliens Vs Predator Extinction, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, Goblin Commander) and licensed games (including Bond and LOTR titles).

51V9MEPV5FLFrom Russia With Love (2005)

Despite buying a PS1 PS2, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 64 and eventually an Xbox 360, I continued playing on the original Xbox up until 2012, alongside my Nintendo DS Lite. On the DS I played such titles as Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, Super Mario 64 and Over the Hedge, and these experiences allowed me to appreciate a more casual gaming experience.

On Xbox I played such titles as Jade Empire, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Grand Theft Auto Vice City and my then-favourite games of all time Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel The Sith Lords. Whilst the Xbox 360 didn’t endear itself to me at first (mainly due the higher price of games for the system in contrast to the original Xbox) I enjoyed such games as Mass Effect 2, Crackdown, Splinter Cell Conviction, The Saboteur, Just Cause 2 and Split-Second Velocity.

71Ug0rLG29L._SL1280_Split/Second Velocity (2010)

It was my interest in such experimental and unique titles, developed during the middle of the 360s lifespan that brought me to Steam and PC at around 2013, when I discovered the wealth of inventive indie titles exclusive to the Steam store.

Since then I have played a significant quantity of PC titles from many genres, such as 4X titles (Sins of a Solar Empire, Endless Space, AI War, Drox Operative, The Last Federation, Stellaris, Masters of Orion 2, Freespace) Multiplayer games (Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Payday: The Heist) and indie titles (Eldritch, Eximius: Seize the Frontline, Maximum Action, Executive Assault and Papers Please).

Recently I have started playing Payday 2 with a few friends, trying out Homefront: The Revolution and attempting to 100% Batman Arkham Knight, which is the last Arkham Game I have yet to complete. I expect one day to return to original Xbox, potentially to once again thrash my father in Star Wars: Republic Commando or From Russia With Love’s multiplayer mode but for now I continue to be a PC gamer for the foreseeable future.

4986246297_a2d57a11af_bMy father, recently defeated at Republic Commando, Circa 2007

Phillip Gallagher

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