Dev Talk: What’re Your Earliest Video Game-Related Memories? (Part 1)

Hello, and welcome to Dev Talk, the weekly iFanzine feature in which I ask a panel of indie game developers their opinion on a topic or current hot-button issue related to the games industry.

This week I posed the following question: “What are some of your earliest or most formative video gaming related memories that stuck with you and made you passionate about becoming a game developer?”

Here’s what the devs had to say…

Trent Gamblin, Nooskewl

I grew up playing Atari and arcades, but video games became magic when I got Dragon Warrior for Christmas one year. I think the game came free with a Nintendo Power subscription, but it really captured my imagination. It was the first game with any real story I’d played. The secrets that you had to learn from a friend or look up in a magazine made it more special.

Jaakko Maaniemi, 10tons Ltd

Now that you ask it that way, I don’t think I have a formative moment about wanting to be a developer. I have a lot of formative moments about becoming a gamer. I think the first console I had was some version of Atari 2600 or equivalent back when I was four or five, and that (or the next one) had a top down tank game called Combat with maze like levels. I loved it. Then of course tons of good stuff on C64, like beating a game for the first time (Commando) and my mind blowing from the realization that games actually end like movies and stuff, and I should probably try to beat them. The original X-Com engrossed me probably deeper than any game had, Final Fantasy VII is probably my favorite game ever, and I still haven’t found a new love like World of Warcraft since I quit… 7, 8 years ago? I guess somewhere along the way I just grew up and had to get a job, and gaming is where most of my expertise is in.

Megan Fox, Glass Bottom Games

First one is modding Doom. There was a tool that let you do goofy stuff like replace sprites, and change bullet parameters. I think I was hooked the second I gave the Doom shotgun explosive ammunition. It was glorious, to 6/7? year old me.

Jinn Karlsson, Pastille Games

I remember playing Sega Mega Drive with my dad, it was our first video game console and he had bought me the game Rollo to the Rescue. The story was that an evil circus director had kidnapped all the animals and locked them in cages, and you played as an elephant trying to rescue them. It was, at first sight, a pretty basic platformer, you jumped on the bad guy in a top hat to get the key, unlocked the cages to get a puzzle piece and that unlocked the next level.

I played it every day and since it didn’t have a save option I played the same first levels over and over. After a few weeks of me grinding the game, my dad realized that you also could play as the animals you rescued and showed me how to do it. The squirrels could climb, bunnies jump really high, moles dig and beavers swim. My mind was blown, I had no idea that games could be that complicated, how did they make it so you could play as more than one character, AND with different powers? I thought that this was the best, most complicated and hardest game ever made. My dad let me keep my console on for weeks at a time trying to unlock all the levels. He helped me with the bosses and I still remember the feeling of complete wonder over how video games worked. Since then I have always played games, always had an interest in them, who makes them and what companies they work for.

Now I work at Pastille and we make colorful fun games. If just one kid plays a game we made and gets somewhat the same feeling I did. That’s the best thing I can imagine.

Ashley Ringrose, SMG Studio

I loved my Mega Drive (Genesis) and was a pro at Mortal Kombat on the 3 button controller back in the day. I remember staying on one at the mall all weekend beating other kids with a winner stays rule. Back then though I never even thought you could make your own games. It wasn’t until I was 19 in 1999 I realised that.

Bradley Smith, Miracle Tea

I’m a 90s kid so I came online into consciousness playing Destruction Derby 2 on PS1 and grew up on games like Starcraft and Halo. My father was childhood friends with one of the founders of Media Molecule and I remember going to the Black and White launch party as a kid. Being exposed to a particularly interesting bunch of game developers definitely left an impression and is probably a big reason why I’m making games to this day.

Robert Jakob, Forest Ring Games

Playing WarCraft III online, especially user-generated fun maps like Line Tower Wars, Hero Line Wars or Dota. In our first game Tower Duel we took a lot of inspiration from these games.

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