My gaming history – Part 2

In the early nineties, I was in possession of two more gaming systems, firstly the much famed Sega Megadrive (aka Genesis) as well as another micro-computer, the Commodore Amiga 600.  Now for a long time, along with the Amstrad CPC 464 computer, I had found my gaming hobby growing, mostly down to having friends who had the same systems as me (mostly the Amstrad), and borrowing games and building a collection.  However it was time to movie on and if memory serves me correct, my parents got me a Megadrive for Christmas one year.  The only real issue with such a console was that compared to what I had been used to with the Amstrad, the games were much more expensive, and well let’s say the at the time bundled ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ was my only game for the system.  Not that I was complaining – I’d never seen graphics like that in my life and it was a firm favourite.


I later with some saving and borrowing was able to get hold of games like Revenge of ‘Shinobi’, ‘Road Rash’ … as well as being able to rent some titles from my local video rental store.  One firm memory I have of this era though was the rather guilty confession of seeking out ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’, which was a later Christmas present and I remember finding it when looking for prezzies in my parent’s bedroom, and having a cheeky play on it when they weren’t at home…then putting it back and acting all surprised Christmas morning.  No, I’m not proud of myself but I was only about 14!.

Road Rash    Sonic the Hedgehog

I think I had the Commodore Amiga 600 a little after the Sega Megadrive and it was one of a series of computers that were all the craze at school amongst my friends.  When I had the Amstrad everyone talked about the Amiga (and it’s nearest rival at the time the Atari ST) both home computer’s which were like a more user-friendly, cheaper alternative to the PC which was more an office system back then and not as widely available.  The micro-computer boom fizzled out in the mid to late nineties when consoles and PCs became more popular (with the success various Sega and Nintendo systems ruling the nineties).  Yet despite owning a Megadrive, to have an Amiga made me feel like I was finally a part of a bigger, more respected crowd, and it was a system I really enjoyed.  I would buy, borrow and (ahem…copy) many games for the system and firm favourites were ‘Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’, ‘The Chaos Engine’, ‘Alien Breed’, ‘Turrican’ (1 & 2), ‘Formula One Grand Prix’ and ‘Syndicate’.  I formed a friendship with a friend of mine that worked in a shop and both owning an Amiga developed a friendship that still exists today.  Good times.

Amiga 600

Monkey Island 2  Turrican 2

In part 3 I’ll be taking a look at the advent of PlayStation … the console to get that was marketed quite unlike other consoles before it.

My gaming history … Part 1

This is a post I’ve been thinking of doing for a while and have been thinking back lately of how video games (and computer games) has affected me in my life and my humble origins in the hobby.  Back in the late eighties and during the micro computer popularity in the UK, I was fortunate enough to have an Amstrad CPC 464 colour computer (colour being something of a novelty at the time … the CPC even came in a green screen version for a little less money).  See images below.


I absolutely loved it.  I remember prior to having it (I think it was a Christmas present) I was imagining the possibilities of actually interacting with a game, rather than say watching a film or reading a book.  You see, I wasn’t really that familiar with arcades as I didn’t live near a Holiday resort, so hadn’t really played games apart form perhaps hand-held space invaders and pac-man systems (before the advent of Gameboys).  So actually having a system to play on and also do other things like word-processing and trying to create your own games (I think I made a un-finished text adventure once) was something I’d never experienced before.

Treasure Island DizzyIt was my first real introduction into gaming and I enjoyed many games with highlights for me being: Dizzy (and Treasure Island Dizzy), Gryzor (aka Contra), Renegade (and Target Renegade – surely the greatest name for a game ever), Chase HQ and Barbarian.  These were primitive days for games coming on cassette and taking an age to load.  The Amstrad however wasn’t as popular as two other machines around at the time, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64.  This puzzled me though, as the Amstrad had much more vibrant graphics to it’s games and more often than not superior versions of multi-format titles.


My first one on one fighter, which caused a bit of a stir at the time for having the ability to decapitate your opponent, and the fact the cover art had big-breasted page 3 girl Maria Whittaker on it.


Not sure why the title was changed for the much more famous Contra to Gryzor and I never managed to get past the first level, and well, that loading screen image is clearly a rip-off of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator.

Amstrad themselves had other versions of the computer boasting more memory and even a floppy disk drive instead of cassette.  They even attempted to enter the video game console market at one stage with the GX4000 but that was a flop.  At this time I realised it was my time to move on, but to what system next?  That’s a story for Part 2…