I’ve always been a gamer. I remember my Dad bringing home a Commodore +4 when I was 3 years old. It came with a stack of games that I played to death. It fascinated me, these incredible games, all stored on a tape that made strange noises. The Commodore +4 also had ‘Office’ applications built in. I remember one of the few times my Mum smacking my bum because a friend had typed ‘CUNT’ into the Spreadsheet.
I moved up through the Home Computer ranks, an Amstrad CPC 464 – with slightly improved graphics, and better sound. Along with a whole host of net generation games. Me and my mates would use our parents tape to tape recorders and pirate all we could you get a gaming fix.
A Gameboy in the Christmas of 1989 was mind-blowing – Gaming you could carry – and I certainly did. Everywhere I went I had my supplies of AA batteries, games, and an illuminated screen magnifier for playing at night. All packed up neatly in a carry case. When the Super Nintendo came out, we were the first on our road to get one. Our friends would flock over and play Super Mario World, F-Zero and Super Tennis – blown away by the graphics and sound.
I then found that because of the home console revolution, Arcades were slowly dying. This meant Arcade Machines were plummeting in prices, so what did I do? I bought an Arcade Machine. It was over 100kg and impossible to get IN the house. It lived in the garage and I worked out how to break it down, and move it up to my bedroom to reassemble. When I moved out of home a year later, my shared house became FULL of Arcade Machines – 13 at the best (or worst!). I also went crazy on eBay and trawling car boot sales for consoles – I wanted them ALL. I had most of them too!
I fucking loved video games, of every sort, every genre.
Then.. Fatherhood happened.
The machines slowly disappeared, and my console collection started to gather dust, and had to be sold on. I had to grow up. I didn’t really care. G was, and still is one of the best things to happen to me. It was cool that her cot and ‘things’ occupied the space that my gear once stood in. Being a Dad for the first time is hard, but rewarding. Honestly, I didn’t really miss the games.
Roll forward a few years, I always dabbled with new consoles – but nothing really gave me the bug again.
Until I got an xBox 360. I was late to the xBox party – for sure – probably because they were so expensive. However when the price dropped, and the game catalogue was massive. I dived in. Head first. It was amazing fun. Twitter was starting to become a big part of my life, and through that, I met a handful of fellow gaming geeks. We called ourselves ‘#TwitClan’ and spent our evenings on Call of Duty shouting and our headsets, laughing and having a fucking ball.
We even won a competition to have exclusive hire of the screening room at The Hospital Club to play xBox on a cinema screen. That was one of the most fun days of my life, drinking beer, and playing games with some amazing friends.
Again.. Life got in the way, #TwitClan would play less and less, and my xBox started to gather dust. Occasionally played on by the kids. I just didn’t seem to have the time or inclination to play. This beast I spent weeks on end playing, just became nothing.
*Jeremy Clarkson Voice* – “Until Now..”
You’re probably wondering what this post has to do with ‘The Inbetweeners’ – it’s not clever click bait, it’s actually true. One day I found myself in a YouTube hole, I’d learnt how to crochet a giraffe, and how an SDS drill works and I came across ‘Completed it Mate’. This is James Buckley’s (Jay from The Inbetweeners) YouTube Channel. I watched, and watched, and watched. James isn’t the best gamer, he’s not the slickest of YouTubers (that’s NOT a bad thing!) – he’s just a guy, of a similar age to me making gaming videos.
Watching him play, reminded me what I enjoyed about gaming. I wasn’t brilliant, but I had a LOT of fun doing it. Shouting at the screen when it didn’t go my way, laughing hard at the silly mistakes we all make. He plays like me, he camps in Call of Duty, like me. It was like watching ME play, and I forgot just how much I love it all.
So… thankfully, on my birthday Miss A presented me with a shiny xBox One. I’m trying not to let it take over my life, I don’t want to spend days on end doing it. I just want it to be there, to enjoy when I can. A quick blast around Nuketown is amazing fun. Playing a bit of Marvel LEGO with the kids, and watching Miss A learn Minecraft from J has been brilliant.
It’s been a lot of fun slipping on my gaming wellies again, and I have in some way ‘Jay from The Inbetweeners’ James Buckley to thank for that.. So, thanks James!
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