RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jun 3rd 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Gaming, comfort, comraderie, friendship, community


I apologize up front to those who come to this site for an escape, but the coincidental timing of my piece this month leaves me in an incredibly difficult position. You see, I wracked my brain the last few days trying to think of a subject, but as I sit here at my computer on Monday evening, none of the topics I came up with feel appropriate. I won't comment here on my thoughts about the past week's worth of news, and I genuinely feel bad about even bringing it up in these digital pages, but with recent headlines so raw in my mind, I've discovered I'm literally incapable of writing an article that suggests I'm oblivious to them. Eventually, one of the podcasts I watch gave me an idea, and I decided that if I couldn't force myself to write as if current events haven't deeply affected my headspace, maybe I could use the opportunity to remember the things about this hobby that has brought people together.



One of the earliest memories I have of my family gaming together was when our dad got my brother and I a Sega Master System. I don't remember what holiday it was, or exactly what age we were at the time, but I remember the three of us absorbed in the bizarre, colorful land of Fantasy Zone, trying our hardest to protect the military medic in Rescue Mission, and laughing our faces off at the comically poor scream when our character died in Alien Syndrome. At a time when our parents were going through a nasty seperation, to me this was a welcome moment of familial happiness.

I've written before how our dad actively encouraged our interest in games. Whether it was programming his little TRS-80 pocket computer to play games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Star Trek, teaching us to play early text adventure games on our first PC, or working to help us solve puzzles in The 7th Guest, my childhood is filled with happy times of gaming bringing my family together. Come to think of it, I still have that old TRS-80 of my dad's in my closet, along with all of his old program cassettes. It would be fun to learn how to program for it one of these days.

My dad is still shocked I saved this relic

There was also the time when I discovered Super Castlevania IV. My brother and I were in Florida with our mom, visiting our cousins, who had moved there some time earlier. They'd just gotten a Super Nintendo and the aforementioned game. I still remember my uncle Jeff reading the opening story crawl, narrating it with as dark and dramatic a voice as he could muster, complete with evil laugh at the end. I was so impressed with the game that I did little else that entire weekend. By the third day, I'd gotten all the way to the end. My entire family watched as I faced off with the Grim Reaper, which was possibly the most thrilling video gaming moment I'd ever had to that point. Then, as I came to the final showdown with Dracula, they all started chanting my name in support as the battle came to a close. When I took him down, everyone cheered in victory as we all watched the ending together.

The battles are kind of so-so, but the music and sound design really make this a great sequence, especially when people are cheering you on

As I got older, most of my family's interest in games fell by the wayside, so I became primarily a single player gamer. When Burnout Paradise came out though, I became interested in online multiplayer like I never had before. The game had a much more cooperative focus than I was used to, and I quickly made friends with a couple people in England. They were the most friendly strangers I'd ever met in an online game, and we would frequently meet up to complete team challenges. Eventually, we moved on to other games, but we remain on each other's friend lists to this day, and I'll always look fondly upon that time as one that proved to me great online interactions with strangers is possible in games.

Several years later, I would meet a small group of people through mutual friends that had their own video game website called Pixel Perfect. In the process of getting to know them, they came to invite me to write for the site. The readership was small, but it gave me a place to talk about games and interact on a more regular basis with other gamers. In a way it was a bit of a dream come true. As someone who grew up reading Nintendo Power, GamePro, and GameSpot, it was a huge thrill to be contributing and collaborating in the larger discussion of video games.

One of the few games I've spent hundreds of hours playing

Some time after Pixel Perfect shut down, I saw an open call for writers on a site called RF Generation. It was a site I'd followed for years, but never really interacted with much beyond the Collectorcast (and this was back in the days when those podcasts were 3-4 hour marathons!). I'm not the most social person in the world, especially remotely, but I had no idea I would come to meet many of the people here in real life and participate with them at events like Retro World Expo and the Cleveland Classic Console and Arcade Gaming Show. In the years since going to events like those, I've never experienced anything other than friendship and acceptance with open arms, and it's times like these that make me grateful for those interactions.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't take time to remember the two biggest video game charity events. Games Done Quick and Extra Life for Kids, raising money for cancer research and children's hospitals, respectively. They've been a constant source of inspiration for me, and it's extremely moving to see so many people come together to use our favorite lifetime hobby to help others in need.

Part of me knows this probably isn't the kind of crowd that needs to be reminded of how video games can bring people together. I'll be the first to admit this piece is primarily for my own benefit. I'm generally a pretty happy, positive person, and there are few things I love more in this world than to laugh, but I'm finding it really hard to be happy or laugh right now. Fortunately, it's made me smile to think back on the times in my life where video games have improved my relationships with others, and that's something I sorely need at the moment. I'm not sure if anyone else out there has had trouble keeping their spirits up lately, but if you're in need of some smiles in your life, I hope you've gotten a few with this article, as I have. Take care, friends, and look after each other.


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Comments
 
I enjoyed reading this. We all need a reminder, from time to time, that we often have more in common than we might realize. Things like gaming can bring us together, and often do, as they should. I'm much the same, in that I'm mostly a single player gamer, but I do enjoy couch coop, and with the right game, even online multiplayer can be a fun experience for me. One of the reasons I started streaming is to engage with other gamers more, in hopes that I might be able to branch out, and get out of my shell/bubble somewhat. I'm hopeful that continues, and that I can help provide just that small ray of light to someone after a bad day at work, or down circumstances.
 
Well written and received.  Thank you.

I was so disappointed (though of course, I understood) when CCAG was canceled this year. Part of that was not getting to hang out with you again at our repair table.  That said, next year's will be all the sweeter for it.

I don't pin my hope on 2021 having to be a better year (many said that about 2020 during 2019 Wink but I always believe in making the most of the moment.  I am closer to my family now than I ever have been, between quarantine and other events.  Real conversations are happening between my friends and family, and we have been overcoming much fear together. 

Online co-op games have been such a blessing lately.  My Beloved is even playing the card game version of Magic: The Gathering via teleconference with friends on a weekly basis Cheesy Just a few days ago she joined a pen-and-paper RPG game run by a friend of ours, also via phone.

I do so love hearing 'lore' stories of gaming and all the good it can provide, past and present.  I hope you have a good support structure for times such as these, and of course you are always welcome to give me a ring anytime. Smiley
 
@MetalFRO: I'm glad you enjoyed it, and hope that streaming has done you some good like you'd hoped. One of these days I want to catch one of those streams. Gaming has been the furthest thing from my mind the past week, but I'm sure that will pass. Not the pain of current events, of course, but the indifference towards games. Thank you for contributing.

@slackur: I was disappointed as well, but it was the right decision. I've pretty much written off 2020 in terms of any kind of travel, events, etc, sadly. But I agree with you, when events start happening again, I'm sure we'll appreciate them all the more. I'm looking forward to the next time we can hang out at CCAG! I'm happy to hear that recent events have brought your family closer; that's really important in times like this. I've heard similar things from other members here. Thank you for the kind words and for the offer.

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