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Three Games That Warped Me Forever (In a Good Way)

Written by: Ron Bricker


ImageEach era of video gaming has produced memorable titles, some important historically, some just plain fun, some both. For me, there have been three games that have stood out, that have epitomized the best of their time, that have impacted me deeply, in all ways – spiritually, mentally, physically, cosmically. Those three, each from different decades, are Robotron, Doom, and Psychonauts.

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Remember Robotron? We’re in like 1982 here, the age of the stand-up arcade games, the age of Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man and the like. My pals and I would go straight from school to the nearby bowling alley to play these games, and while all of them had their appeal, Robotron was different, different in it’s controls, different in it’s speed, different in it’s brutality. In this game, you’re a robot charged with defending the last family of human clones (Mommy, Daddy, and Mikey), thereby defending human existence itself. Simple enough, but watch it! As the boards get harder the game becomes a blur of moving and shooting, and death becomes a certainty. There is no finishing this game, no winning. But the exhilaration, wow! You’d finish that game seriously charged up. Unparalleled, at the time, for me. The bar had been raised. If I still had the quarters I pumped into that baby…

 

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So lifee goes on  but nothing grabs me, nothing, that is, until Doom, on the PC. I’d seen it’s precursor, Wolfenstein 3-D, and admired the graphics, but that was about it.  Didn’t get hooked. Then I got Doom, in 1993, and watch out. I didn’t play it at work, but at home, in the dark, till all hours, I’d go at it. Loved the bloodiness of it, hadn’t seen anything like that ever. Some primal charge was given off whenever I played it, some sort of reversion impulse, like cave man shit, kill or be killed. Engrossing, addictive, that was Doom. Seeing screen shots even today gives me flashbacks, happily.

 

Then I finished that (a sad moment), played it’s sequels, it’s spin-offs, like Heretic, but nothing was like that first Doom go-round. Changed forever how I looked at games, what I expected from them. Bar raised yet again!

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Come 2004. I finally break down and get a console system, the Xbox. My first game? Psychonauts. A mind-melter. Here was a game as ART, as surreal, funny, exciting, complex, ingenious. I had never seen anything like it. It had a good script, challenging yet do-able tasks, incredible, weird artwork, pulse-pounding adventure, hey, everything, ok? Psychonauts blew me away, mouth agape. Far, far, away, and seriously agaped. Wish more games were like this, ‘cept if they were, I’d never leave the house.

 

 

Robotron, Doom, and Psychonauts. The three high-points so far. Glad I lived to see ‘em.

Author: Ron Bricker

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