Vintage Videogames: The Nostalgic Introduction

Written by Special Guest, Lady Nivienne:

If I remember right, the first videogame I ever “played” was Secret of Evermore for the SNES. I would load my mother’s latest save and wander around the Nobilia marketplace to trade items at the various vendor stalls. I didn’t know why this market existed in-game, nor did I care. The only reason that my mother had the max number of every tradable item was because her exuberant 5-year-old could play this section of the game over and over for hours. She even got a few extra levels out of it since I would occasionally need to venture out into the surrounding desert to gleefully whack at monsters, divesting them of life, limb, exp, and money.

I really didn’t comprehend what it meant to “play” a videogame from start to finish at that time. I had no notion of the combat system, inventory capacity, or whether the game qualified as an RPG, Platformer, or Side-Scroller. I just liked watching the tiny characters rush around the screen, besting monsters and getting progressively cooler items.

Final Fantasy VI was the game that introduced me to the concept of Plot and characters that I cared about. My mother would let me name the characters as we got them and would read the dialogue out loud as she played. I would wait, often impatiently (and vocally so), for her to finish the latest dungeon and get to the next patch of dialogue. It was a new way of absorbing stories and I was hooked.

My enjoyment of videogames only grew from there and thankfully, since she played them as avidly as I did, my mother didn’t object to the many hours I spent conquering dungeons, chasing NPCs, and crafting equipment.

Jade Cocoon was the first videogame I played that my mother hadn’t played before me. Legend of Dragoon the first one I could not beat, no matter how many times I tried. Secret of Mana inspired my first videogame-induced tantrum, complete with a thrown controller and subsequent loss of TV privileges.

Valkyrie Profile was the first game I played through and beat without stopping to play other videogames.

Mine was a childhood full of puffing on game cartridges or frantically polishing disks, hoping that would make them load properly. Many times did I inadvertently hurl myself off the couch in a vain attempt to steer better and then scramble to plug my controller back in before I died. I marathoned dungeons because I couldn’t find a save point, wept at character deaths (looking at you, FF7!), shrieked at plot twists and corrupted memory cards, and danced on the coffee table after finally beating that impossible boss battle.

I credit these games and many others with shaping my love for the sci-fi/Fantasy genre. They fired my imagination and it’s still going strong. They are my old friends and childhood companions and I would not trade them.

What about you? What are your earliest gaming memories? Did they shape your personality or was it just a fun hobby?

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