I bought a few single player video games recently, and much to my dismay I haven’t really touched them since my money and I parted ways. I noticed that this was becoming a trend, so I decided to take a look at the games that I am playing. Currently, my gaming time is divided between League of Legends on my PC, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on my Playstation. What do these two games have in common? They’re competitive. The multiplayer aspects were designed for player vs player. Sure I may play them on my own from time to time, but what really makes these games awesome is playing against other people.

I had to ask myself, what did I play before I got into video games?

When I was a child, I loved to play chess. I was ranked second in my junior school, and only regularly lost to one other kid. I’m not entirely comfortable with naming him, so let’s just call him John. I only beat John once, ever. And when I did, he flipped the chess board over at me because he’d never lost a game. It was a great feeling beating someone who had never been beaten.

I lost interest in chess when I got into high school and I started to play video games like Starcraft, Command Conquer, Blood and Duke Nukem a lot more. Sure these games had single player, but what really made them exciting was the multiplayer. And it’s not like you played the game and that was it. Multiplayer games gave you stories to share with your other friends who also played, more so than single player games.

Like the first time I played Duke Nukem against one of my friend’s sisters, back when I was about 13 or 14. Very few people took me by surprise the way she did. I was doing particularly well in one game, and she decided to take over for someone else. I was chasing her with a shotgun when she jumped and took cover in a crate. Here I thought that she’d done something stupid, trapping herself like that. I ran up to the crate and jumped in. As I was jumping in, I saw her jumping out. I managed to get a shot off, but I missed.

As I landed in the crate, I heard a single beep. I remember thinking “Oh fuck.”

I jumped and barely managed to get clear. I took a ton of damage from a trip mine. She’d waited until she heard me jumping in to plant it, knowing that I would land inside as it was about to arm. Like I said, to this day, very few people have caught me off guard like that.

Then there was the classic Starcraft game on the 8 player map Hunters, which we’d modified with much greater resources than the default map. We were playing a 3v3 game at our school as part of a fun day, and unfortunately one of my friends wasn’t very good at the game. He was quickly over run. My other friend was closest to him on the map, so he tried to help him but ended up losing most of his units. He was also quickly disposed of.

Being a Terran player, and seeing the writing on the wall, I had already bunkered in good and proper at this point. I had set up a solid anti-air defence around the edges of my island, mixed with Ghosts equipped with lockdown. I had bunkers packed with ghosts and marines at the only point that was accessible by land.  Any enemy units that wanted to pass on foot would have to first destroy the bunkers. Behind the bunkers I had a wall of siege tanks, ready to rain fire down upon anything that stepped into view. A few SCVs were close at hand to repair the bunkers or the siege tanks, if something got close enough to actually do any damage.  3 vs 1, it took the enemy team about 2.5 hours to break through my defences.

Another classic memory is of the original Carmaggedon. This violent driving classic had a game mode called Fox and Hounds, where one player/driver was a fox, and the other players/drivers were the hounds. The point of the mode was to become the fox by ramming him with your car, and then running away from the hounds. The person who lasted as the fox for five minutes was declared the winner. We started one game, and some dummy had set the players to a grid start instead of a random start which puts all the players at different starting points. So there I was as the fox, at the back of the grid, with 5 eager friends all waiting for the light to turn green so they could ram into me and become the fox.

Beep. Red light. Everyone’s engines start humming.

Beep. Amber. Now people are really gunning their engines.

Beep. Green. Tyres squealed and all the cars on the grid blasted foward.

Well, almost all the cars. I had reversed as quickly as I could, did a quick 180 and headed in the opposite direction. It took everyone about 15 seconds to figure out what I had done, and by that time I had found a nice little hiding spot. It wasn’t until there was only 30 seconds on the clock that someone found me. I managed to dodge his attempts to ram me until the clock hit 0.

And these are just a few of my favourite gaming memories. I could sit here and write about this trip down memory lane for days on end.

Unfortunately that will have to wait. Someone just sent me a challenge in Tekken.

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