When I was fairly young (young enough not to remember very well) my Dad got my sister and I a N64. The reason for this I believe was twofold, my parents could not deny that video games were a thing that kids did and that they didn't want us playing computer games (note the difference between computer games and video games). This is pretty smart in hindsight, to make the distinction between playing games and using a computer. That way when you are just sitting there trying to work on an essay or something, you are not tempted to just fire up Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago and play for a 'little bit'. Back in the day the internet wasn't really a thing so while that point is currently kind of moot, it was valid at the time. Additionally my parents had control over how long I could spend gaming and what games I could play (to an extent) since I had to play them in a pretty central part of the house.
This trend continued with GameCube (which I regret in no way, GameCube was freeking amazing) and when the Wii came out my sister and I saved up to buy one. When we finally managed to get our hands on a Wii (since when they came out they were super popular and consequently sold out) we held onto that as our go to console even to this day (since we could play GameCube games on it if we wanted to). This means that I have never owned a non-Nintendo console and until the last couple years had not really played computer games.
One of the funny things about this is that I am terrible with two control sticks. Any FPS on a console is just a bad time for me, imagine aimbot had a child with Math.rand() and that is how I feel playing console shooters. Nintendo console has some FPSs like Metroid prime 1&2 for GameCube and StarFox Assault was a 3rd person shooter but both games had aiming tied to movement (you always aimed the way you walked), sideways movement was achieved by locking onto an enemy and vertical aiming was automatic. You could always stop and shoot wherever you so desired, but that was uncommon. Bit of a tangent, but the point is, me and headshots don't go hand in hand on a console.
After high school I took a year off school to cross country ski competitively and work part time. During this time I picked up my first computer game: Portal 2. Now I had never played Portal and totally didn't get all of the 'the cake is a lie' jokes fully, but I watched a little video on the plot of Portal so at least I knew what was going on (in the wise words of GLaDoS, I am a horrible person). I totally loved Portal 2! I am a big fan of puzzles and Portal 2 even had a good story so it was a pretty excellent starting choice. Interestingly I bought it when it came out making it the only $60 computer game I have bought to date. Additionally I had no clue what Steam was at the time and was very unimpressed that I needed it to play a game I had the disk for (I use Steam more than Facebook now-a-days). After this I had a friend give me a cracked version of Minecraft (note, I have since bought the game). GG the next year. Not quite, but it might be my most played game ever with competition only from Pokemon. Minecraft truly is a game like no other and with no one to play with and no instructions, it was great to see my progression from dirt hut to mountain fortress and fist to diamond pickaxe. The ability to play the game in so many ways was really what made it for me, with the option to build 'cathedrals, entire cities... Things that don't exist in the real world, things that couldn't exist in the real world'. This consumed more of my year off than I am proud to admit but the is nothing like stress to stem the amount of time spend in a sand box! Once I started at uWaterloo the amount of time I had plummeted dramatically reducing how much Minecraft I played. A number of my friends played the game and I got even more of them into it. The rest of my first term and first work term continued like that, playing Minecraft occasionally with friend. When the summer school term came around we actually got together for big LAN games (all 8 of us!) until midterms. After 1B midterms it was clear that the term was not going well and I realized that if I didn’t pick it up I was going to fail. I stopped playing games altogether for the next month and a bit until…
Suddenly: A challenger approaches! Steam summer sale. Let’s just say my friends talked me into this Steam thing and by god did I ever go for it. For those who don’t know, during the Steam summer sale 50% off is normally a bad deal. I got quite a few games during the sale and as the term drew to a close, I started playing Sanctum 2 and Borderlands 2 with my friends. This sealed the deal, I was sold on PC gaming right there.
For the next year things continued on like that, lots of amazing Steam games including Borderlands 2 (240+ hours), Sanctum 2, Bioshock infinite, Tomb raider, Goat simulator, Transistor, Torchlight 2, Antichamber, and the Stanley parable being some of my favorites. I have put in about 580 hours in the last year and don’t even regret it! (okay I feel a little bad…).
I will post part 2 later to describe how I feel it has affected me as a person (spoilers, it’s for the better).