Stories of a Gamer: Bunneh3000’s History Of Gaming
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an 80’s child. Born in the year of Star Wars: A New Hope, I was front and center to a ton of iconic geek shows and movies that are still massive franchises today. My older sister, was a huge Star Wars and Lego fan so many of her play sessions were themed as such, and the trickle down effect was huge. As a result of that and being an Air Force brat, space and sci-fi became life long interests of mine that have always steered my geekdom. In my eyes, video games were a natural progression…
Let’s think about this. Young kid. Movies about space fighter combat, lasers, aliens, and so on. Mall arcades with loud music, sound effects, tie-ins to movies allowing you to combat aliens and fly space craft, etc. It’s elementary my dearies!
So, yeah. I kind of organically became a gamer because it was the one thing outside of playing with action figures and toy props that gave you that rush or sense of being a hero. I wanted to destroy the Death Star so when the Star Wars video game hit arcades, I was in heaven!
Also, my father was pretty smart and tried to keep my sister and I exposed to computer tech as much as possible. So he’d buy us things like Texas Instruments personal home computers, the Commodore 64 and 128, the Atari, and other little gadgets to keep computers and software about us. Of course, being a kid typically led my sister and I to finding games to play on them all. My dad fostered that by buying bunches of simple and at times education games and software to keep us using the computers and yet still foster that love for learning.
Bunneh3000 was born back then before I even knew it! As you can see with the multitude of ‘Tales of the Arcade’ articles, I would always frequent arcades of any size to try and experience and play as many games as I could WHEREVER I travelled. It was easy to see that as my hobby. At home, my sister and I would battle each other in various Atari games.
Of course, once the NES hit the scene, gaming reached a new plateau in my life that was hard to explain. I still recognized that arcade games were ALWAYS better than the console versions back then and yet the desire to play the home systems always remained since it was easy to access (and cheaper!). I dove head first into hilarious play sessions of Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, Double Dribble, Contra, Lifeforce, Double Dragon, Ninja Gaiden, Excitebike, RoboWarrior (LOOVE this game!), Skate or Die, Super Dodge Ball, Pro Wrestling, Mike Tyson’s Punchout, and Wizardry were the mainstay’s in those days. Notice no Zelda, Metroid, Megaman, or Castlevania. Not sure why but I just didn’t enjoy playing those games as much back then.
Once that library was there, the gaming fever that I continue to have today was set in stone. I would save my PC gaming for hardcore sports sims like NBA Live, Front Page Sports Pro Football as well as strategy games like Master of Orion, Homeworld, Age of Wonders, Dune 2000, and more. I’d also play ‘traditional’ RPGs like Bards Tale, Wizardry, Pool of Radiance, Hillsfar, Betrayal at Krondor, Buck Rodgers: Countdown to Doomsday, and other SSI styled greats.
If I had to pick one game from that time that affected me the most, I would probably say Master Of Orion. I felt as if I always had a great mind for strategy and until that game could never find a video game that would give me that sense of commanding a Starfleet against a difficult foe. Master Of Orion wove exploration, technology, diplomacy, and domination all together in a way that even allowed me to create and name my own spacecraft. I would make fleets of A-Wings, X-Wings, Gunstars, and more to defeat all of the opposing races. I would faithfully spends countless hours playing and replaying this game throughout many sequels.
It probably wasn’t until the release of the Playstation console that I truly became a console gamer though. Around that time, console games were equaling the appeal of what was in the arcade. Of course, arcades were getting smaller and more DDR or lightgun or Street Fighter competition based anyways. I would still get my sim styled kicks in since core games like Mechwarrior, Wing Commander, and X-Wing were still pulling me back to my flightstick on my PC. Still, the controller was becoming my weapon of choice for games like NBA Live, football games, and even RPGs like Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, and more.
Around that time was when I began playing obscure games like Romance of the Three Kingdoms and eventually Dynasty Warriors. Wanting to know if the game was good or how to play it better, I would scour the internet for reviews only to find almost none. So, I put my fledgling mind to work and made the decision that I would write my own reviews of these games that I liked for a website called Epinions.com.
In that time up through the PS2 I would have to say that MechWarrior was probably my most influential game (even above the might X-Wing Fighter game). MechWarrior and its various iterations were the only true sims or video games that even came close to sating my mech gaming needs. Good mech games seemed (and still do today) hard to come by and these were the crème of the crop to me. I would spend hours tweaking different builds with new tech and weapons to cater to how I liked to play. Most times I’d use a MadCat, Rifleman, or Raven variant that I could pinpoint locations on my foes with. I even spent a lot of time with the strategy variants called MechCommander when they came out as well. Great strategy and mech building action in those too.
Somehow, I managed to miss a lot of the consoles that came out though. I only owned the NES, SNES, Gameboy, N64, Genesis, Dreamcast, Xbox, PS1, and PS2 consoles back in the day. I wanted to get a Neo-Geo so bad but it was far too expensive. I wanted other portable game systems also but never got around to getting one until last year when I got a Vita.
As I went along, games like Battlefield (1942, 2142, and 2), Neverwinter Nights, Diablo 2, Fallout, Freedom Force, Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Jagged Alliance, Goldeneye 007, Halo, Mass Effect, Jade Empire, Dragon Age, X-Men Legends, Mercenaries, The Elder Scrolls games (yes I played Daggerfall unfortunately), Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders, Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, BLoody Roar, Tekken, Onimusha, Robotech, and more began to dominate my gametime as for years. FPS and action shooters are definitely my goto genres but my heart resides firmly in flight combat sims (particularly space ones) and strategy/RPG games. That affinity will always be there due to my passion for flying and table top RPGs.
Nowadays, I’d have to say that Bioshock holds the biggest influence in my heart today. As I’ve said plenty of times before, the first Bioshock game was one of the more memorable gaming experiences that I’ve ever had. The music was on point. The eerie atmosphere of the game and the morality choices made you cringe and get even more interested in paying attention to the story. The gameplay was exciting in that you could use the environment and ‘powers’ to defeat your foes in many different ways. It had all the right elements for the perfect game and so many others agreed with me at the time. To this day, I’m surprised I never wrote a review. Still, Bioshock Infinite was a serviceable return to the love of my gaming life.
And yes, people. I do choose this over epics like Skyrim and Mass Effect mainly because of my affinity for the story and atmosphere that it created. It pulled me in much more than Bethesda’s epic leather bracer crafting sim and Bioware’s omage to Star Trek-a-Wars. I loved both of them as well but not as much as Bioshock. It was even more influential than the all-mighty Halo which essentially gave me the name, Bunneh3000.
With all that said, who I am today as a writer AND a gamer is defined by them all. I love gaming and it holds a special part in my heart. It allows my imagination to escape the ills of my life and drift away. Whether online, against or with, all of my fellow gamers, or offline in my own digital bubble, gaming will forever fuel and complement my expansive imagination.