Thursday, 21 August 2014

The video games that take over your life

I was inspired by a brief Twitter conversation with my friends and fellow authors Danielle Austen and Saundra Fox this week, about the video games that cause you to lose entire days of your life. It made me think back on my relationship with video games.

I came to video games pretty late. I have always been one of those people that likes to try things – generally if I don’t excel at it immediately I move on to the next thing. I spend more time on the things I’m good at but then I get itchy feet and need to try something new. Some might call me fickle, but I like to think I’m just thirsty for new experiences.

Of course my default setting is lazy so, over the years I’ve found I’m most interested in trying new things that don’t involve me leaving the sofa.
My first experience with video games was on the ZX Spectrum. I was the master of Derby Day and Con-Quest. I discovered a version of it for an emulator recently and lost a few hours to it. Certainly more hours than I ever managed as a kid!

I was without games then until someone gave me their old Master System after they upgraded. It had Alex Kidd built in and I owned Shinobi, an Olympics game and Sonic.

I’d become addicted to the Shinobi arcade game while on holiday in Malta a few years earlier – but the Master System version won’t as much fun as I remembered. Maybe I’d been caught up in the excitement of being on holiday and had fonder memories than the game warranted – I can’t be sure.

At uni my friend had a PlayStation and I got really into Tekken and Tomb Raider. I worked in the SU bar of the quieter campus and honed my Tekken skills. But I don’t think I ever beat my mate. He was a full on gamer and I was just mildly interested and slightly competitive.

And there it dwindled until a few years ago when My other half brought home Indiana Jones for the Wii. The first game we completed from start to finish and it all suddenly fell into place. Maybe because it was Indiana Jones and it was going through a story, but it suddenly made sense to me. I wondered why I hadn’t ever played a game to completion before.

When I was introduced to Lego batman, normal life as I knew it was over and instead began an ongoing love affair with all things Lego. Whatever is happening in the world, it all stops for a new Lego game and resumes after we’ve completed 100% of the game.

But the first game that really made us lose entire days to game play was Red Dead Redemption. A Christmas present (from our cats, they have fab taste) we made the most of our week off work and played it daily. We had no idea how many hours we were losing to the game, all we knew was a need to know what happened next.

I swerved Undead Nightmare though – I’m ridiculously scared of Zombies!

12 months later our Mogs bought us Skyrim and we lost another festive holiday to the PS3… Skyrim is extra special to us. Apart from the obvious breaks for Lego releases, we played Skyrim for nearly 18 months. We still play it from time to time although we’ve only really got the never ending cycle of assassin and companions missions to do. We have now started the previous game in the series though, Oblivion and it’s pretty amazing too. Especially as we got to create our own race and were asked the question:

Are you sure you want to be a nerd?

If anyone is interested in the Lego games and enjoys the Elder Scrolls I’d recommend Lego Lord of the Rings or Lego The Hobbit – they’re as close to Lego Skyrim as you’re going to get!

The video games that take over your life