There are certainly perks to being a shy quiet person on the internet.  However I don't think that any person can try to belong to a community and still remain an enigma to everyone in the community.  I've certainly tried to do that a lot, from my 10 or so years online and in various communities, but as I'm striving to make changes in my real life I think I should also do the same in my online life as well.

Now I'm not going to sit here and bore you with some dreary story about my personal life, instead I'm going to share with you the unique experiences that I have had as a gamer growing up.  To say that I have an atypical gaming life as compared to most hardcore gamers my age is an understatement.  I doubt that almost anyone else has grown up as I did with games.

You see I didn't take a typical path.  For most of my younger life I didn't play games.  I had an NES growing up, but that was played few and far between.  Most of my time was spent outside or playing various games on the computer.

Yes, that's right at the age of six I was playing PC games.

That's more like it.

I have my dad to thank for this.  He would get old computers from work and give them to me to play games on.  My first computer I had I would play things like Wayne Gretzky Hockey and various flight sims.  Of course since I was six I was terrible, but I enjoyed messing around with it like any six year old would.  During this time I would also play with my dad as he played Sam & Max and Leisure Suit Larry on his own computer, trying to figure out what was going on in the games.

Around this time though was when the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo were coming out though, and as my friends started to get them I never really cared to.  Then again between the people that watched me as a kid and my friends I had more than enough options.  My friends alone had an Atar 2600, 2 NES systems, 2 Genesis, and one even had the Sega CD (though I don't ever remember playing it).  I was constantly over at their houses though so we would always play them, whether it was Mortal Kobat, or just Combat we would play games almost as much as we did anything else.

And then around this time I just stopped playing games on my PC.  I mean I still had some, I just didn't play them that often.  I skipped the whole Doom and Duke Nukem scene and stopped gaming in general for the most part.

And then came the Playstation.

The Playstation was first introduced to me by my cousin.  I believe it was 1997 that he got it and brought it over to my house.  And with his system he brought Resident Evil.  Now since we were still really young  we had no idea what to do but there was nothing like watching him try to play through the game, and shoot zombies.  I kept that in my memory until one weekend where we went to visit him, and that was where I first realized I wanted one of my own.

You see instead of Resident Evil, we played the first game that got me into gaming.  That game was the original Twisted Metal.  I swear we stayed up all night playing that game, beating it over and over and over again.  We couldn't get enough of it, and when I got back home after that weekend I don't think I could stop talking about it to any of my friends.

And thankfully I didn't have to wait long as that Christmas I opened up a brand new Playstation of my own.

It was my first console, and it was when I first really started to appreciate gaming.  I had some friends in school that were big into it and would always talk about the newest thing in gaming.  It was thanks to them that I bought my first game that I would ever beat in Final Fantasy 8, though admittedly they were always talking about 7 and since Toys-R-Us didn't have 7 I got 8.  Though it wasn't the right game 8 still holds a special place in my heart, and even though I needed the guide to beat it I will never forget the first game I put over 100 hours of my life into.

Always will be my favorite.

During this time though I didn't just play FFVIII.  I also had my dad, who was into gaming himself.  And he and I would play Tomb Raider all the time.  I'm not going to go into it, as I've already talked in length about it in a previous blog, but that was special to me, and the reason I'm going to get the new Tomb Raider when it comes out.

 Unfortunately during this time though I wasn't doing well in school.  My grades were slipping for a number of reasons, and as a scapegoat or to try to get me to pay more attention to homework I had my Playstation taken from me on weekdays.  Granted this didn't stop my gaming as I was always over a friend's house.  And by this time they had their N64s and Playstations of their own.  We would play Goldeneye, Mario Party, and all sorts of other things with me never needing to be home.  Though at home I still did have one thing to play.

And that was my resurgence of being a PC gamer.

I know, funny how that works.  There is a lot of reasons behind it, but really the main one is that this was around the time that the Sims came out.  Now I never played the Sims, but that got me from the Sims into one of my favorite time sinks of all time in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

I swear I played that game (and honestly still do play that game) more than most men should.  I don't know why, but I really love it and honestly can't imagine my gaming life without it.  I made one park go on for 40 years in the original game, and in #2 I have a park that is 25 years old now.  I don't even want to think about how long that took.

But in addition to that I also was playing Road Rash and the original Army Men. I still wasn't playing shooters, but then again I was never really into those kind of games.

To me it was all about strategy and thinking about things like that.

And that was when my step-brother introduced me to Warcraft 2.

Now I had been playing strategy games for a while.  I had gotten a Game Boy Advance for Christmas the year before and was playing Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on it, so I had some idea what I was getting into... or so I thought.

For those not really into the genre, let me say this.  Real time strategy games are like a kick to the balls when you first play them.  It's fast.  Super fast at first and usually before you know it you're already dead.  I had to custom make maps where the computer couldn't attack me for a while just to live.  And now.... well now I do this. (it's not impressive, and there are some issues like major lag, but still it's something fun to see and it is my first try at streaming.  BTW had to change settings so the real game I play starts around 4:30).

I never played the campaign (which I will rectify some day, hopefully in a marathon) but I loved that game.  And that game got me back into gaming.

After that my gaming stagnated for a while.  I played mainly on my PC and at my friend's houses.  Just literally playing the same games over and over.  We would play Smash Brothers, and Mario Party/Kart and really there wasn't anything new about it until the Playstation 2.

Even then though it wasn't anything special. I was introduced to Madden.  I played Gran Turismo 3 for the first time.  Granted this time was when I really started to change into a gamer, I still didn't play all that often. Even when I got my own system and got games like Final Fantasy X and Shadow of the Colossus I didn't play too often.  It just wasn't important to me.  Granted I loved the time I did spend with it, I was an adolescent and had to worry about school, and my job and such.  Also I still didn't play during the week and would spend more time sneaking on my Dad's computer and playing Warcraft 3 when it came out.  Because for everything else that I did do I just never played games.

And then we get to March 2008.  That was when I took the leap into being what most would consider a gamer.  Because it was then I bought my Playstation 3 and sank 400 hours into a game called Killzone 2.

I saw plenty of these guys over my 400+ hours

It's funny to think about that.  That I put more hours into that then I probably have put into all of my Final Fantasy games combined (for the record that is only 8, 10, 12, and 13).  But it was what got me into it and is the reason I am playing games now.  And now... well now I'm moving back away from consoles funny enough.

See now I want to get back into RTS games and as such I need a better computer.  Once I get that I think that I'll end up moving back to the PC because that is just how my life has gone.  I think though that I can live with that, so long as I have Starcraft 2.

I'm gonna get you marine... just you wait. FOR THE SWARM

So thanks for reading.  I hope this gives anyone who reads it a bit better of perspective of where I am coming from when it comes to gaming.  Now this isn't everything in my history as that would be a lot more (after all I mean I really skipped over the the whole PS2 era as well as Battlefield 2142, but I think those have to be seperate blog posts entirely to do them justice.)  For now though I hope that you enjoyed it.

By the way, that is a link to my Justin.TV account.  I don't think I'll be streaming much, but I will keep you all updated.  Maybe when I install Warcraft 2 on my computer I'll stream the campaign for you all.  If you want to keep track of that just follow me on twitter @loupinconnu.  I don't tweet often, but now with me trying to do some streaming I'll probably be on there a lot more.

Also feel free to leave some of your memories from gaming in the comments below.  I'd love to hear other stories people have about how they became gamers.