Everyone has their own story of how they got into the world of gaming. Some of us would have played games as a toddler, and others only got into gaming much later in their life. Whatever the reason or event – we all have that first game we played.
For me it’s a bit of a blur to be honest. I started gaming at a very early age and would join my brother, who is eight years older than me, at the arcade as he was playing Space Invaders. It stretches back in time to an era where a game would cost you 10c, not the 20c that most of us got accustomed to. I think I was around 5 years old or so, and remember standing on his feet to gain some extra height and peek at the screen while he was playing. Arcade gaming is something I loved watching others play, but I was simply too young and too short to play. Then, on one Saturday morning, while visiting my dad for the holidays (parents were split up), my brother decided to hop on his bicycle and take me along to visit a friend. It’s a day I fondly remember.
I was at the age of about 6, which makes it around 1983 (yes, centuries ago), when I got my hands on my first Game & Watch title. It was Donkey Kong Jr – the green single screen handheld. I still remember holding it my hands and thinking that this is the most amazing piece of technology I had ever seen. It was like a duck to water and I pleaded to the friend of my brother to allow me to play the game – I was the annoying younger brother who was ‘going to break anything he touches’, so I had to make all kinds of promises. He gave in at the end and for an entire afternoon it is all I played. Of course I was absolutely terrible as I had to learn to jump and direct the little monkey (that’s in essence Diddy Kong, I guess). I got nowhere near his high score, the only measurement to show you were great at playing a game in the early 80s, but I loved every single moment of it.
I remember returning home (from holiday) and so badly wanting a Game & Watch. My mother could not afford it, and instead I got this cheap knockoff Chinese spaceship-like handheld game that I hated with all my heart. It had some submarine shooting aliens (I learnt today it was actually UFOs) and you’d move left and right and press a shoot button. It was so disappointing after playing the amazing Donkey Kong Jr It’s also surprisingly at that point in my life where I generally grew a disliking for ‘third-party hardware’. That’s changed since, but it took a long time for me to buy anything but first party hardware.
Ironically I still don’t own Donkey Kong Jr on the Game & Watch. I’ve download the Virtual Console version via the 3DS, but there’s of course nothing like the real thing, and it’s something I still hope to find in good condition somewhere along the line. It’s also still one of my favourite games that I play from time to time.
So, what is your first game you recall playing?