Video games have only been recently pushed into the mainstream, but they have been a major part of my life. During my early childhood, my dad was heavily into video games. My first gaming console was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES. My cousins, siblings, and I would spend hours playing Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Donkey Kong Country, and Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge. Yoshi's Island was ridiculously hard and the crying baby Mario always made me so frantic. Donkey Kong Country was my favorite. Awesome music, funny characters, and mine kart mania, what more can a gamer ask for?
Despite Daddy saying that we had a Sega Genesis, I don’t remember it. I honestly remember playing the Sonic games at my god-brother's house rather than my own. The next console I actually remember having at home is the Nintendo 64. We had a wide variety of games on the 64: WWF WrestleMania 2000, Pokémon Stadium, Ridge Racer 64, Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt. One of my favorite memories was Daddy finding the character customization codes for recreating Eminem, probably my favorite rapper at the time, in the wrestling game. I was so excited he managed to find that online. The original wrestler I made and Eminem were tag team partners and won the championship in the campaign mode. Being a close second is the bragging and smack-talking between my siblings and me while playing the mini-games in Pokémon Stadium.
Next up was the Sega Dreamcast, a system ahead of its time. Sonic Adventure 2 is the best 3D Sonic game, hands down. And I cannot begin to count the numerous hours I spent in the Chao Garden, raising chao and unsuccessfully figuring out the competitions they could enter. Space Channel 5 created my love for rhythm games. My sister and I would switch off levels and imitate word for and word and pose for pose as we played. Crazy Taxi brought the arcade stands found at restaurants home but kept the same wild fun. Tennis 2K2 (also known as Virtua Tennis 2) is the best Tennis game, allowing for creating your own custom characters and playing with and against the best tennis players. So many memories created by that beloved system and I really wished it didn't get snuffed out by the PlayStation 2.
But speaking of the Playstation 2, we had both the original Xbox and the Playstation 2. I have never been picky with my systems. I'm more partial to one that has the better games. Favorite games during this generation were Need for Speed: Underground (the soundtrack and the speed! ), the Dead or Alive series, Burnout, SSX Tricky and SSX 3, Tony Hawk's Underground, Dance Dance Revelation (especially MAX2), Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii, and Rock Band. My cousin Isaiah screaming "Living on a Prayer" and being banned from singing in Rock Band, tricking out my car in Underground, pulling all sorts of crazy tricks while snowboarding or skating, and finally beating some of the harder songs on Standard in DDR are just the beginning of the memories built playing the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Wii.
Around this time, I started to become more involved in computer gaming. Most of it was spent playing Sims and creating long generations of families. I did become bored with Sims and wanted to branch out and try some of the games by smaller or independent companies featured on the YouTube channels I watch. Recently, I have been playing Stardew Valley with the newest update of 1.4. I've also been playing Into the Breach and Autonauts. I got my eyes on an early-access game called Space Haven, a colony management simulation set on a fleet of spaceships.
I'm looking forward to PlayStation 5 and the new generation of games. But I'm just as excited for the next update of Stardew Valley, a game made by one guy. From humble beginnings to the advancements made in the industry, it's awesome to have grown up together.