My name is The Reverend and I’m an Adult Gamer who loves Video Games
Not often you’ll hear someone like me giving a confession! Recently I’ve been thinking about how I always thought I would have grown out of wanting to play computer games. I’m slowly approaching 40 and I think I’m doing as much gaming as I have ever done.
Adult Gamer as I’m an Adult who plays Video Games
Just to clarify – I’m an adult who plays video games… not someone who plays ‘Adult Games’. I don’t want you thinking I’m someone else, or thinking this blog post will be about something else! I know there are Adult Video Games but they neither interest me nor do I play them. Unless you include Leisure-Suit Larry back in the early to mid 90’s. But that certainly doesn’t count as an ‘Adult Video Game’!
My Video Gaming History
I guess you could say I was a late bloomer. My first journey into Video Games was an Atari 400. This was not the woody console most people know, but actually a ‘proper’ computer with a keyboard and more importantly, a cartridge with BASIC on it.
Going back FARRRR too many years I remember going to the local market (which was the only place you could get games for the Atari) and buying a game called River Rescue. This was a side-scrolling game that wasn’t overly complex but fascinated me. The Atari wasn’t actually mine, it was my brothers, but we both spent many an hour playing Pac-Man or trying to program in a game we’d found in a programming book from the library.
The Atari 400 was ahead of its time with a wipe-clean keyboard, 4 joystick inputs (although few games could be played by 4 people at once), cassette drives for recording/loading programs, and an icon joystick design that everyone would recognise.
You probably wont believe me but my next console was a Game Gear about 10 years later. I skipped the NES, Master System, MegaDrive, SNES, and went straight to the GameGear.
The Sega GameGear
The GameGear was a present and I loved it. I did actually ask for it and there was a reason that I went for the GameGear over any of the other video games consoles. The GameGear would be mine – I’d not need to share it with anyone. It also could be played anywhere without needing to rely of the family TV – or even worse, my brother’s TV!
There are two things you need to know about the GameGear. The first thing is that it ATE batteries like they were Pringles. Related to this is it took 6 AA batteries at time. I got through plenty of batteries until I realised I needed at least 18 rechargeable batteries to keep the GameGear available on the move. The reason for 18 batteries? 6 batteries would last, at most, 3 hours so you needed 1 set for playing, 1 set charging and a ‘spare’ set charged in case you needed them.
The second thing you need to know about the GameGear is that if you plugged it into the mains while playing on the batteries OR unplugged the mains so you could play off batteries, it would restart the console. Yeah, you read that correctly, you couldn’t switch between power sources without the console resetting and you’d have to start what-ever game you were playing from scratch!
Games were great on the GameGear. Most people had a monochrome Gameboy but I had full colour! Sure, it wasn’t 16 bit colour like the superior Atari Lynx, but it did have many more games available including the great Sonic The Hedgehog! I remember getting Mortal Kombat for it and it had the ‘GORE’ that the Super NES version couldn’t have. It also introduced me to the horrid reality of computer game magazine letter pages!
I bought Tazmania – the Cartoon Taz based side scroller. I spent ages playing it and it was one of the few games I actually completed on the Game Gear. After completing it a couple of times, I thought I’d write into a magazine with a handy completion guide on the game. I noticed that the ‘Star Letters’ in the magazine (that could win you £25/50 in game vouchers) usually had something special and often this was completion guides. I knew what I had to do!
For a week or two I played Tazmania and I hand-drew each screen to say where every baddies was. It had every bonus and every point you could get. 25 years later I don’t remember much about the game but I do remember sending in my wad of paper with the complete play-through of Tazmania. It was then a waiting game for it to appear in the magazine.
You wouldn’t believe it but I appeared in the letters page! I was both so proud but massively annoyed. I was proud because there was my name actually IN the magazine. In Print! My Name! The annoyance came from what they had done with my play-through. I had sent them pages of hand drawn screens in A4 with everything about the game in it. Imagine hand-drawing ANY game play-through now, you just wouldn’t do it! I’d spent weeks and played the game over and over again to make sure I’d not missed anything and that the guide could be followed/made sense.
What they had done is printed 2 sentences that were the equivalent of ‘jump over that ravine’ then ‘attack the end boss’. I was furious! All my hard work gone. Even worse is I had no copy of it so I couldn’t show people what I’d actually sent in. With my heart broken, I vowed to never send anything to a magazine again. I even think I stopped buying video games magazines all-together.
Many years later I sold my GameGear. I’d just bought a brand new game for it (£29) and I sold my GameGear for £25 including all the games I had. It was to a friend so I didn’t mind that I lost a load of cash on it. I think I had bought my next console before I sold it, but this console was 2nd hand.
The Super NES
Someone at my college wanted to sell their Super NES. It was launched in the UK back in 1992 and I think I bought it around 1995-96. He wanted £25 for the console, controllers and a load of games, including the classic Super NES version of StreetFighter 2. How could I say ‘no’? I couldn’t so I bought myself a 2nd hand Super NES and moved over to Nintendo from Sega in the Video Games world.
Things I remember about this is it came with Mario Paint – so the not only could you paint on the console, it also had a weird musical option! The other thing about Mario Paint was it came with a mouse! A computer mouse for a console! No-one was expecting that from Nintendo. I never really played it much because it was not the reason I wanted a Super NES. For me it was all about the real games.
I’ve already mentioned StreetFighter 2 Turbo, but there was also the other classics, Super Mario Kart and Super Bomberman. My brother and I spent many an evening playing just these three games. My brother loved Super Mario World (the Super NES edition of the Mario Brother’s franchise) but I never had any interest in it. I liked playing what is now called ‘couch co-op’ but used to be just called ‘2 Player’!
Before I left to go to university I sold the Super NES at a car-boot sale for about £40. I hadn’t bought any more games for it but I did buy another controller. After my first year at university I bought my next console, a Sony Playstation.
The Sony PlayStation
I had an original PlayStation that I bought off a mate (spotting a theme here?!?!). It kept my house entertained at University and unknown to me when I bought it, it had been chipped! This meant it could not only play video games from other regions, but it could also play copies. I never used this facility as I didn’t know anyone who copied games! I did play import games as they were cheaper to buy here in the UK on the 2nd hand market.
Weirdly, I don’t remember many of the games on the PlayStation. There was one I got as a promo copy when I worked at a radio station – It used CDs to generate the monsters in it. It facinated us but it was pretty boring! I couldn’t tell you any of the other games we played – which is not a good sign! There were some racing games, I’m sure, and probably a resident evil or two. After university I sold the PlayStation at another carboot and probably got £30 for the lot. That put me back in the market for another console. I was going 2nd hand again and this time heading over to a new player in the gaming world – Microsoft.
The world was moving forwards and the PlayStation had shown how CDs could be used to store games and they were much cheaper to produce. The XBox took this to another level and included a DVD drive so you could use it as a complete media center. If you are using PLEX or any *cough* on-line streaming service, you owe a debt of gratitude to the coders/modders that create the Xbox Media Centre (XBMC).
Xbox released a crystal version and I found a 2nd hand version being offered for sale online. It had been modded and had a much bigger hard drive fitted. It came with a stack of games and 4 controllers. I remember a couple of games on this Xbox, with the one which really got me into gaming ‘properly’ being HalfLife 2. This was a huge first-person shooter with a great story-line. It was the story-line that had me hooked. I wont explain it here but check it out on Wikipedia. I also played a Tony Hawk game – not sure which number game it was but it did have Flogging Molly’s Drunken Lullabies as part of the sound track.
Other video games I played were Soul Calibre 2 and Burnout. I’m also sure I played a Call of Duty but my memory does sometimes get a bit confused about things. The thing I loved about the chipped Xbox was that it had a load of emulators built in and came pre-loaded with tons of old console games. A friend did show me how to use the modded software to copy games onto the hard drive which meant I had a faster loading time AND didn’t need to risk scratching my cds.
One thing the Xbox did have was a karaoke game. Using two microphones you could sing along to your favourite hits and earn points. This game really worked well at parties and I think I had at least two versions to increase the number of songs people could sing. Or at least attempt singing!
The Xbox remained my console of choice for a good couple of years but soon something was going to tempt me back into brand new console ownership. And that thing was the PlayStation 3.
This was the first console I bought brand new. My own BRAND NEW video games console. I’d seen it advertised on TV and was really buying into the hype. Sony were also including a ‘BLU-RAY’ drive in it so I could use it as a DVD/Blu-ray player. Blu-ray was a very new technology so to include it really was Sony pushing this format onto the market place where many people through that HD-DVD (that Microsoft was championing) would be the winner. Little did they know!
I paid my deposit at Gamestation and told them I’d be there for the midnight release. I should add that I wasn’t a 14 year old school boy at this point but I really wanted to do the whole midnight release thing. They did ‘big up’ the event and I turned up on the night surrounded by kids and their parents! I paid £475 for the PS3, an extra controller and 1 game – Resistance: Fall of Man. There was also an offer on the box to claim a FREE copy of Casino Royale on Blu-Ray. This was probably the most I’d spent on anything (except a car!) and it really felt special. When I got it home I did go to bed and not set it up until the next day.
One of the (many – IMO) benefits of the Playstation 3 was that the PSN Network, that you needed to play games online, was free. For xBox owners of the same era, they will tell you that they needed to buy Xbox Live Gold. So you could expect to ‘save’ an additional £45-50 a year by being a PlayStation 3 owner! What a bargain!
My launch day PS3 had a 60gb hard drive, a blu-ray player, 4 USB ports and a card reader. It was also backwards compatible with many PS2 games AND you could load a Linux partition – for the geeks out there! This was high-technology and meant that the PS3 could be a true media centre and not just to play video games. A correctly formatted USB Hard drive (FAT32) would allow the PS3 to play a load of movies.
I did buy the PlayStation Eye, as well as the specialist controllers but I really didn’t find that they improved gameplay. There was another karaoke series on the PS3 called ‘SingStar’. Wired microphones and a scoring system led to competitions with my friends. The backwards compatibility with the PS2 meant I could buy PS2 versions of SingStar and play those tracks on the PS3 version. I visited plenty of 2nd hand gaming stores to get more PS2 SingStar versions. Lots of my friends and family borrowed my collection of SingStar games to play round other people’s houses.
It was a sad day when my launch day PS3 died. I did replace it with a PS3 Slim. It looked a lot more futuristic than the original PS3 but with the benefit of the larger hard drive (320gb vs 60gb) came the loss of some useful features. We lose the backwards compatibility, 2 USB ports, the card-readers and also the Linux option. Linux was lost because the PS3 had been hacked, the BC was lost as apparently no-one used it and no-one has any idea why the usb ports and the card-readers went! Sure, it would have saved them a tiny bit of money but by having a card reader you could use it to store all your digital camera photos to view in the photo section on the PS3.
Gaming wise I got into Bioshock on my PS3. This is a game set in a parallel time-line with a bit of a steampunk/Jules Verne theme. There were 2 Bioshock games on the PS3 and I loved both of them. If you are able to play them on whatever gaming set-up you have now, make sure you do. I also started playing the Assassin’s Creed series of games. Very different to Bioshock but it also had a story-line that drew me in.
The other regular games for me was the Call of Duty series. Bioshock was a first-person shooter and COD gave a new dimension to that genre for me. There was Burnout Paradise which had a crash mode that kept me entertained for weeks! The final big game that I enjoyed on my PS3 was Fallout 3 and then Fallout: New Vegas. These video games, even though they had some massive flaws on the PS3 (crash crash crash!), took hours of my life. That I’d happily do again.
I played the PS3 for 6 years and only stopped when the PS4 came out. Although I was sad to be waving goodbye to the PS3, I was looking forward to the next generation of gaming and all that would come with it.
During my PS3 ownership I did have get a Nintendo Wii. Due to a contact at Gamestation, even though I’d not pre-ordered one I did manage to get one on launch day. One of the members of staff had put a lot of pre-orders on themselves but when it came to hand the cash over for all of them, they didn’t have enough so there was a ‘spare’ pre-order. The staff knew me well so one phone call, a quick drive over and the cash was given – The Nintendo Wii was mine!
As I loved the previous Tony Hawk’s game (on the xBox) I got a game called Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam. What a mistake this was! The game was nothing like the previous Tony Hawk game and was much more like a basic racing game (think Mario Kart but without its greatness!). I traded this in for something else. I doubt it was played.
Wii Sports and Wii Play had some serious hours with friends but by yourself it really wasn’t that fun. When you realise you can play tennis sitting down…well you tend to play tennis sitting down. Of course, I got the Wii-Fit board which got used a couple of times before going into the cupboard. The only game I really enjoyed was Metal Slug 2. The comic-book style artwork kept me entertained and I did manage to complete the game. I remember I found the game really hard – strangely hard – especially for a guy who has played video games most of his life. After completing I did some searching online and it turned out there was a grenade which you could throw by twisting the wii-mote. That made it much easier when I played Metal Slug 3!
I can’t remember if I traded the Wii in, sold it to a friend or gave it to a chum. Either way, I didn’t really miss it. I know it was a massive seller but I’ve not spoken to one person who owned one and thought it was fun.
Welcome to the world of tomorrow! The tech spec of the PS4 was leaps and bounds ahead of the PS3. We still had the Blu-ray player but one of the noticeable omissions was that it wasn’t 4k. This surprised a lot of people but as I didn’t own a 4k TV it wasn’t an issue to me. More of a surprise was the decision to stay with only 2 USB ports! WHY U DO THIS SONY?
The PlayStation 4 came with a 500gb hard drive and this helped my decision of being digital only on this format. Digital Only meant that I would only buy video games from the PSN Store and the whole game would be downloaded onto the console. No discs to worry about or get scratched. It did mean I’d be unable to trade in any of my games but as I’ve got older I tend to only have 2 or 3 games on the go at the same time, max.
One of the other changes as we moved from PS3 to PS4 is that the PlayStation Network access was no longer free. With the PS3 I had PlayStation Plus membership. This was optional – I could play online without it. For the PS4 you needed PS+ Membership to be able to play online. That’s not entirely true, there are some free-to-play video games that don’t require PS+ membership, but they weren’t ones that I was really interested in playing. They also have a ‘play to win’ pricing structure which is there to entice you to spend real money to buy ‘better’ items.
Seeing as I’ve been paying for PS+ membership for 6 years, I wasn’t worried about continue playing. PS+ membership does give an additional discount on some PSN Store games so I think I’ve had more in discounts than I have spent.
Gaming wise my PS4 has been used for more Call of Duty, more Assassin’s Creed, Watchdogs, Just Cause 3, Fallout 4, Bioshock Infinite and a few others. Although they have now released a PlayStation 4 Pro that is capable of 4k, I’ve not yet been tempted to buy it. I do have a 4k TV but I’ve found the image quality of my PS4 in 1080p has been perfectly acceptable. I’m sure that I’d notice the 4k PS4 image but for the extra £400 I just don’t feel it is worth it….yet.
I also haven’t yet bought into PlayStation Virtual Reality either. Reviews have been mainly positive and I’m usually an early adopter of new tech so you may wonder why I’ve not got it yet. The issue for me is space – I just don’t have enough floor space to enjoy it properly. I have also been told that the ‘screen-door’ effect is still very obvious but I’ve not tried out the PSVR yet so I can’t say how bad it is.
Rumours are that the next PlayStation is due in 2020….it hardly seems a long wait!
I’ve added this at the end of the list as I don’t think it is a ‘real’ gaming machine. My phones have been iPhones for ages and I’ve had iPhones since the 3G where I’ve bought plenty of games from the App store but I’m not sure if they can be classed as video games. These games include Arkanoid, R-Type, Scrabble, Bomberman and Tetris. All of them have been enjoyed for hours during long commutes or even short periods of time waiting to meet other people. You can see a theme there – all games I played when I was a kid.
I do have other games on my devices. There are the ‘Clan’ games. I’m currently playing Clash of Clans & DomiNations. Both of these are grinding games (not Grindr games!) where you build up a city and you battle other people. I don’t really enjoy playing them but occasionally I do a little game/battle. Previously I’ve also played Family Guy and Simpsons Tapped Out. These games are all very similar (well Family Guy/Simpsons are a little different) but it is easy to get drawn in and lose hours of your life, with the added danger of you losing hundreds of pounds in buying in-app purchases.
Being a lover of Fallout I do have Fallout Vaults. Its a very simple game but it can be played offline, which is a rarity for many of the games of this type. There are various tasks you can complete to get further in the game but really it doesn’t actually make any difference. You don’t need to pay to play so another easy time-zapping game to add to your collection.
Finally there is the classic ‘Candy Crush’. The perfect commuter game when I’m on the tube. As you can probably tell from the other iPhone games I play, I’m not a big fan of paying for bonuses or extra things in games and so I’m not racing along in Candy Crush. It is frustrating that it takes me so long to rise up through the levels but it is my choice – I could pay to progress but its really not me.
The Future of My Video Games
At the moment I’m expecting my next gaming purchase to be a Playstation 5 – or whatever it is called. There is still thought to be about 2 years left in the life-cycle of the PS4 so they could bring out a new PSVR or a new version of the PS4. Maybe they will make a PS4Pro Slim? Maybe they will make a wireless PSVR? Gaming wise there is a new Fallout game coming out called Fallout 76. I’m certainly going to get this. There will probably be plenty of other video games that keep me entertained but it could well be Fallout 76 that takes me all the way through to the next Sony video games console.