Started playing games in 1995 when I was 4 on the family PC. It was mostly sharewares that were readily installed on the machine like Duke Nukem 2, Jazz Jackrabbit, Raptor : Call of the Shadows, Gate World, Xargon, Mega Race, Descent and many more that I don’t remember.
During the first few years of primary school, it was mostly bootlegged console that I frequently played next door at my cousin’s. Mainly playing Contra, Mario and Donkey Kong and other coop games that I don’t remember now. When I was 10, I occasionally played console emulators like PC Engine and SNES emulators at the internet cafe. It was frowned upon at that time to visit such places afterschool as those who go there are usually kids that were playing truant. Well, I did once but it was tuition class! After that, I tried quite a few times of Counter Strike but didn’t get into it that much. Played a bit of Half Life too but didn’t get that far.
Only during the school holiday of 2001 that I play my first console which is Playstation One bought by my brother. He played it when he was in uni in New Zealand but never bother to tell me he got one. Only when he came back he pass it down to me (unofficially, he doesn’t play much after uni and I played on it most of them). I played games like Gran Turismo 2, Metal Gear Solid, FIFA 2001, WWF Smackdown 2 and Final Fantasy VIII. Those are the only ones I remembered most from his collection.
Never played an RPG before so I was kind of put off by that game. My sisters played the game first and it absolutely floored us. I think the game is replayed about 5 times amongst us. FIFA is what get me interested on football and Arsenal too (always chose this team on FIFA as the club have Dreamcast/Sega jersey at that time, which is bought by my sister when she was studying in UK. Still have the jersey with me, still fits too,yay for having the same eating habit!) On the PC side, I played Medal of Honor, The Sims, Tropico and Championship Manager. Mainly playing demos that came with CHIP magazine too. So I went back and forth from PC to console during this time but mainly console as I kept growing my PS1 games library. This was in 2003, when I was 12 and had to sit for my first important exam which will determine what kind of secondary school I would enter.
I got the best result possible which is straight 5As. My brother promised to get me a Playstation 2 but never get it as it was still expensive at that time and he doesn’t want to waste that sum of money for me, considering he’s maintaining a problematic car (still got that car, he must’ve love it so much). To compensate, he officially passed the console down to me. Doesn’t change much but at least I could bring it to my hometown when the school holiday ends and not just play at our other home in Kuala Lumpur.
I applied for one of the nation’s best schools but never get admitted. In hindsight I’m glad I never got submitted as it’s an all-boys boarding school compared to the one I entered. In such a way this would affect my gaming for the next few years. So, I entered the district’s best school and a lot of former primary schoolmates entered the school too as it seems like a natural progression. Although they select students on academic results, quite a number of my old friends entered the school so it was never hard fitting in. Besides, there are rarely cliques amongst the boys compared to the girls but if the interest are so different you will see certain people hanging out in certain groups. The interest that bind us together is yes, gaming. If we can open a gaming club at our school, I’d think half the boys in my batch would join the club. Attendance will always be full and our yearly programmes will be constantly filled with activities. Bear in mind our batch is almost 250 students so that would be quite a number for club members. Sadly, the school administration did not agree with that notion as they still view gaming as silly distraction and would only lower the grades of the students.
The best thing though was that we always share our games, strategies ,gamesharks, official guide books and even memory cards. We went to internet café together too for LAN party after we went through a few tests and exams. I can say that they are mostly geeky and our top student play games as hard as others. When I was transferred to another school only then I realized that this school is special and the environment just suits me best. I still keep in touch with them although most of them have move on to next console or just playing pirated games. Now in the uni, our paths become more separated and I understand that.
During that time, I continue playing Playstation One classics and during the school holidays I would be playing games like Pro Evolution Soccer 4 on PC. Got me interested with the game when my friend lent me his Winning Eleven World Cup 2002. I was quite amazed by the gameplay and physics compared to of FIFA. So there I was playing Master League every day until the school holiday ended. The same applies to my experience in Pro Evolution Soccer 5 which in my opinion the best one in the series. Or maybe that is my biased view because that was the first time Arsenal was licensed in the game with all the maroon jersey playing in the last season at Highbury. Still have my away jersey for that Champions League Final. In 2005, I was quite oblivious to well-known PC games and was behind the curve of console gaming. My cousin (yes the same cousin) next door mostly played PC games so I went there a frequently to play the likes of Call of Duty and Rome : Total War. Sadly, he doesn’t play anymore games (except for Facebook games) after I moved out.
The year after that, I still trying to get through my backlogs but it was easier back then as I share games with friends. That was when I had to sit for another important exam, to determine our elective options. This time I saved up money to fund my buying of PS2 and not relying on my brother alone. At least about 89 students in our batch get straight 8As, including me of course. This time I got what I want which is a Playstation 2. My brother brought me to Sungei Wang Plaza to get my consoles and a few games. I don’t have enough so he contribute some of his money. At least he fulfilled his promise although it was 3 years late. That night, after we played futsal together with his friends we tried the console and played a few matches of Pro Evolution Soccer 6 until 3 a.m.
So, 2007, new year, new school as I have to move out (still got our old house though) with my family. I changed school as I don’t want to live in hostel with the previous school (yes my previous ‘special’ school is half-boarding half-daily). I couldn’t leave my new shiny console behind so I transferred to a daily school nearby our new home. Easier for me to get home and just play. Unfortunately, my peer this time weren’t into gaming. Most of them just like to flirt, playing football, playing truant and not studying at all. I can only share common interest with a few bunch of guys but they were never as enthusiastic as my friends before. At least I shared a few games with them and brought some of them home to play. Nevertheless, it’s not as good as before and the rest of the 2 years just went by with me playing every classics as I can like Ico, Metal Gear Solid 3 : Subsistence, Shadow of Colossus, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and loads more. During this time I dabble a lot with previous PC games too like Sid Meier’s Pirates! , Civilization III, Blitzkrieg and countless others. I got 9As and 1B this time for O-Level but I didn’t promise myself anything. But considering I will be getting into uni soon I get myself a laptop, capable enough to play current PC games but subtle enough for homeworks.
During this time I truly immersed myself in PC gaming instead of making it as secondary platform. I tried Steam in 2009 to play Just Cause 2 but never took that much attention to the store page. There I was, trying every PC games that I can but I mostly played Call of Duty 4 online on cracked server. During these times, the only websites I go for news are Destructoid and Kotaku so not much of PC gaming there. Only the last few months of 2010 I get rid of both sites and mainly read Rock Paper Shotgun and PC Gamer instead. In 2010, I mostly played Battlefield : Bad Company 2 but after buggy launch and three months of playing with pubs I stopped playing as in my opinion it was horrible and was quite bored with the same maps time after time. That was when I craved for more teamwork in gaming and a lot of people mentioned Team Fortress 2. Funny that I bought the PC Gamer magazine edition featuring the game but didn’t remember it. So I jumped into the Steam bandwagon starting by buying Call of Duty 4 for $14.99 and shortly after that Team Fortress 2.
At last I found what I need in online gaming. That was during the engineer update so I came late to the party but nonetheless I spent about 900 hours (including idling of course) into the game. Not long after that there was a Summer Sale, the first big sale for me and I bought what I can and the rest as they say, is history. Here I am moving to the next thing I want in PC gaming, immersiveness in terms of atmosphere and surroundings. I got that with STALKER series, Mount and Blade and Metro for single player. Finally I got that feeling online when I play Red Orchestra : Ostront but I only got it on August 2011. Actually I’d just want to wait for the second one but I did it for the badges. The game itself is very enjoyable and the same can be said for the second one. With stat reset and everything is fixed, Red Orchestra 2 : Heroes of Stalingrad will be the second if not the first most played game in my ever expanding library. So that’s it, I’m still in my first year of Civil Engineering and I’m still playing countless classics and new games (oh and mods) of PC games.