Recently, I noticed a Facebook meme going around that asked people to list the videogames that shaped their childhood, so I decided to indulge in a little bit of nostalgia. Unlike my cousin, I didn’t own a PlayStation, growing up. We had a Pentium 2 well into the early 2000s. I remember my parents taking me to a videogame shop for my birthday in 1997, telling me to pick just one game. I picked GEX by Crystal Dynamics, purely because it came in this huge, glorious green box with attractive artwork. I remember it cost them 30 Maltese Lira, the equivalent of 70 Euros more or less. Gex was a side scrolling platformer which had released a couple of years earlier.
For some reason, we bought a legit version, something which we would never be allowed to do again once my dad realised how costly this hobby would be and quickly switched over to pirated game CDs, copied from classmates, or whatever game demos game with the PC Ace magazine, or even the Encarta 98 CD that came with a quiz game called Mindmaze. We liked the Hot Wheels videogame that we somehow had acquired through one of these methods, particularly the level where you could see a cat in the background. We loved to hold down the arrow keys and see the virtual toy cars flip around in the air and do impossible jumps that would have never been possible in real life. Speaking of cars doing crazy things, I remember this demo cd for a game called NitroRiders, Interstate 77 where you drove all sorts of vehicles that had guns mounted on them.
But my first huge videogame obsession must have been Little Big Adventure 2: Twinsen’s Odyssey. I loved the whimsical characters and pseudo open world and spent two years playing it. The Curse of Monkey Island is another game that I remember fondly, which kickstarted n adventure game obsession for a while. That was before I discovered Soul Reaver.
Between 1999 and 2001 all I thought about was this awesome dark game where you got to impale monstrous creatures and eat their souls. I had no idea about the story or lore yet. In fact, I made up my own stories about the characters that were mentioned in passing, such as Vorador and Mortanius, for which I didn’t have context. At that point I finally got a PlayStation 2 with Maximo: Ghosts to Glory packaged on it, but my PS2 journey took me out of my childhood and into adolescence, and that’s a story for another post.