Thursday, March 10, 2011

(nostalgic) Blog Post: Back when Gamespot was

[SEGA Strikes Back with the Dreamcast......we know how that went.]
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Well, there's nothing like the past. I feel that it's human nature to have glowing memories of the past, and it's strange: as much as I love my life and I love where I'm at right now, a part of me can't help but miss the good old 1990s, back when I was younger, life was simpler, and hell, video games and the gaming industry was just starting to get big, the feeling of excitement and change pretty much everywhere.  

I had, over the years, subscribed to many gaming magazines: everything from the Official Dreamcast Magazine (with its free demo GD-Rom!!!) to EGM, to Gamepro magazine...I even have an issur or two of Play Magazine and Game Informer! This giant collection, years in the making, has been sitting in a pile in the corner my video game room for as long as I can remember, and recently, the time came to do a bit of cleaning up.

[*Not from my collection* Google image.]

I knew that I'd end up keeping some of these old magazines for "sentimental value," definitely all the Official Dreamcast Magazines, because the Dreamcast just represents a time in my life that I'll never get back. The rest of the magazines would go in the recycling bin, because afterall, who cares about some old magazines? But to my amazement, as I filtered through magazine after magazine, I discovered that I couldn't get rid of a single one of them. I decided to look at this situation differently: even if I want to set aside these magazines to look through in the future for a dose of nostalgia, with too many magazines being saved, I'd never be able to possibly look through them all. I should keep a couple, I told myself, the most important ones only.

Even with this mentality, I couldn't get rid of any of them. I think it says something, not only about how much I love video games (and the video game press), but about how big a role video games and video game journalism have played in my childhood and young adult/early adult life...and how much I think I've always wanted to hold onto that.

I still remember that it was the SEGA Dreamcast that finally turned me into this type of gamer....I'd been playing video games since the Genesis era up through the N64 and PS1, and I had a lot of fun and many great memories with all of them....the multiplayer experiences delivered by the N64 was just unmatched at the time, and I'll always remember the PS1 for Twisted Metal and Cool Boarders. But when I got my Dreamcast in 1999 was when I began to finally experience the full industry. I liked the system so much that I would, for the first time, jump onto, (now Gamespot) scroll through their Dreamcast games list, and begin to research the next game I would buy. Whenever I got my Official Dreamcast Magazine in the mail, the first thing I did was pop in that demo disc to try out games and see what else there was to play. Those who got to really experience the Dreamcast know, of course, that almost every single one of those demo discs had at least one game that was going to deliver a brand new experience.

From this point I went from simply researching to discussing, using message boards to communicate about all sorts of different video game-related issues. From there to writing video game reviews at, and now as a writer for, and, I dunno, I realize this isn't something that most people do. I think most people look at video games as a fun diversion, but nothing more than that. I've always looked at them like a big film fan looks at movies, or the way a Marvel fan looks at comic books. They've always been more important to me than just regular entertainment, and I've been able to write thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of words about them in the nearly two decades I've been playing video games.

Now that I have a giant container of magazines (and Guitar Hero instruments) stored in my attic, I have no idea when I'll ever use them, but I just felt like they were too big a part of my growing up to part with. Sad, I know....but maybe there will be a time when I'll be glad I kept them.

Or, maybe I'll throw them out a few years from now, hahaha. Who knows.

Regardless, it's hard to say where the industry's going to be heading in the future, but hopefully more fun and memorable times are ahead. And hopefully kids growing up now will have experiences that are equal to playing Power Stone 2 with their friends on a sweltering hot summer's day, or the jaw-dropping amazement that was the world of Shenmue, or even the incredible ending of Final Fantasy game-related memories and experiences that will stick with them forever.

I think the industry needs to continue to have this effect on young gamers for it to survive and continue to grow and be successful. I'm actually more interested now than ever to see where the next consoles will take us.

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