Your best gaming moments

I was recalling yesterday with an old friend some of our best gaming moments. I thought I would share three of them with yous (that’s the tough mobster yous). Feel free to chime in three of your own if you are feeling the gaming goodness or feeling a bit jaded and cynical and looking for the passion again. In no particular order, either chonologically or rating wise:

  1. A 4 player, all night game of M.U.L.E. I think it was the Atari 800 version. We had the 2 liters of Mt. Dew going constantly, bags of Funyons, pizza ordered. Two guys kept doing collusions on the trade screens (you could do this I think, if you both held down the joystick button at the same time at the same price … it was kind of a hidden feature). My mules kept running off because I was trying to place too many too fast and missing the sweet spot of placing on your claim. Finally the fourth guy (as in, not me) started to pull ahead economically. Suddenly the next turn he gets one of those “pirates have raided your stash” random event messages. He hurls the joystick at the screen and screams "This game is Communist! (it’s the mid 80s). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard, I still remember thinking the phrase “I died laughing” probably came out of the feeling of laughing so hard you couldn’t breathe.

  2. My first night of X-COM. My parents and brothers had left on vacation and I was home alone all summer from my first year of college. I was working the day shift at some summer job and one afternoon after work I stopped by MicroCenter and bought a brand new CD-ROM and X-COM. What followed was my record, a 16 hour marathon session of pure gaming joy. I finally went to bed at 11:30 in the morning (not Quarter to Three) and dreamed of little red boxes in the corner of my vision.

  3. The original Teamfortress at a friend’s office. He was working for a small startup and I was working for a large corporation. I was in town and had a rental car. We played TF for hours and hours at his small office after everyone had left, screaming down the halls and drinking the finest microbrewed beer that we could finally afford. The pinnacle moment came when I was a spy who had just captured the flag and he followed me all the way back to base, frantically chasing me, yelling “Kill the Spy! Kill the Spy!” down the hallway. After we were done we got in my rental car and had not gone 50 feet when one of the tires blew out. While we waited for AAA we went back inside and played until 3AM. I can still remember the gagging sound your opponents made when you threw the spy’s gas grenade.

It was the final mission on LucasArt’s X-wing. The infamous Death Star run. IIRC you had to handle a few waves of Tie Advanced first on the Death Star surface before heading down to the trench. It was a pain in my ass as I kept trying and dying with all the obstacle dodging, destroying turrets and general laser fire avoidance if I was lucky enough to get past the previous surface dogfight. The final mission was unique in the way that once inside the trench R2 would boost up your speed I dunno 300% or so which made things even more crazy. Anyways after countless failures I decided to just Fuck it and divert all power from shields and weapons to the engines and punch it. Ignored all fighters and shot straight to the trench. R2s boost was insane and now I had no lasers to fight off the incoming turrets while shields were going down as their power dwindled. So all I had was speed to defend myself. Time ticked down as I approached the core while incoming fire took my hull from green to red. All I heard was the crunch crunch of hull damage while sparks flew through my nearly destroyed cockpit as my target came to visual range. Radar was shot, energy monitor was just a bunch of exposed wires, I was lucky to still be moving. R2 screamed in pain as I took aim as quick as I could, fired, yanked the joystick back blindly and climbed out of the trench.

A few seconds later I was treated to the final cutscene in disbelief. One more shot and I would’ve been a goner. I literally fell off my chair.

Hidden? No! That was the whole point of the game, or at least the fun ones. We were always colluding, and trying to corner markets and buying out the store to create an artificial shortage.

For me:

[1] Finishing Impossible Mission on the Commodore 64 with no deaths and no need of dialling for clues in solving the password puzzle. I was the first to do it amongst my room mates and caused much playing by others to beat my high score.

[2] The first time I played Civilisation was a true Quarter to Three experience. I looked up at the clock and realized it was the wee hours of the morning.

[3] Privateer. I had a WTF moment when the alien green egg jumped me for the first time.

That is a cool moment, Jazar.

For me, my first great moment was playing Master of Magic for the first time…I must have played for about 13 hours straight. I just coudn’t stop.

I also remember when my acrophobia activated while playing Half-Life. It was the first time a game had illicited a genuine physical response from me.

Similarly, Silent Hill had my wife and me terrified at times. The sound of that radio static is something I will probably never forget. None of the other Silent Hill games have ever captured that for us again. But that first moment, when you hear the radio go off, and then some hell hound burst out of the shadows and attacks you…amazing.

cyberdeamon

Wow. That’s pretty impressive - I don’t think I ever managed to finish Impossible Mission more than once, and I needed every clue I could get. I usually ran out time, but I think that had more to do with simply being electrocuted, a lot.

That was such an amazing c64 game. It was also the first time I can remember seeing a pause button that looked like little paws…

I’m with y’all on Master of Magic. I had no idea previous to that game how addictive computer games could be.

One of my most memorable gaming moments, for some reason, was playing Origin’s old adventure game Bioforge. Which was not a fantastic game, really… the combat kind of sucked, among other things. But there was this one section where you had to adjust control rods in a reactor before it exploded. Complicating this was the fact that some kind of weird-ass alien busted into the reactor room. You had to activate the energy bridge, lure the alien onto the bridge, turn it off, turn it back on, run over to the control panel, and input a series of commands to adjust the reactor. All in I think 90 seconds. When I finally got this right the clock on the reactor countdown kept going(???) and then stopped at about .2 seconds remaining. I can remember sitting in my chair and suddenly realizing that my heart was pounding, and thinking “Wow, I had no idea I could get this worked up over a game!”

Other good memories:

  1. Beating Blazing Lasers (AKA Gunhed) for the Turbografx. I’d never beaten a shmup before (and haven’t since), and near the end I reached this weird zen state where I was totally untouchable.

  2. Playing Thief for the first time. Basically everything about that game.

  3. The scary “future Earth” section of Mission Critical. One of my favorite parts of a Legend adventure game. Just staring up at that black tower for the first time and thinking, “Well, damn.”

QWTF for me, easily. A friend of mine and I played all the time. He went to UAB in the engineering department which had an Internet 2 connection. We found a server in Georgia that was also on Internet 2 and I logged in. I always played as sniper and I was damned good for someone who had an average ping of 250. On this server, however, I had a ping of 6. Before people could hit the ground on 2forts from the upper deck they were dead. I had achieved over 100 kills and no deaths in the first 5 minutes of the game.

Now THAT ruled.

In no particular order.

  1. Defeating 8 T’s on Italy with an MP5 after they’d wiped out the rest of my team in seconds and not being called a cheat for it.

  2. Playing syndicate after buying a soundcard for the first time.

  3. X-Wing

  4. Buying Railroad Tycoon on a whim and playing it for 18 hours solid.

  5. The mission planner in Tornado

  6. Doing a Memphis Belle in B-17:The Mighty 8th. Shot a german fighter from one of the turrets only to watch it plough through the wing of the B-17 below me.

  7. Bullet time in Max Payne.

  8. Co-op Quake at 3am with the lights off.

  9. Getting Elite rating at Elite for the first time.

  10. Taking part in the “Amananth Reconstruction” RP on the EU Jumpgate server. I was still pretty new to the server and had just levelled to get the Tow, a cargo ship. Then being chased through unreg(free for all space) by GM controlled baddies, pirates and other nasties having lost the rest of the convoy while laden with vital commodities for the RP scenario.

Oh yeah, this one time in CS, there was a “clan” (the quotes to emphasize sadness) who was talking shit about me. This was during the time that the clan I was in was at the top of the Proving Grounds. The next round begins and I buy a scout. It’s been a long time since I’ve played, but the map was the one with a parking garage and a little bunker the Ts start in and the CTs start across a bridge and can go up an elevator or across a bridge to a large open area that leads to the garage.

So, I was a T and I bought a scout. The three guys that were talking shit about me come charging across. I head shot the first one with a scout. the other guy jumps off of a large container to my right and I no scope headshot him to death in mid air, then I pull out my pistol and headshot the third.

Another favorite was a 2 on 2 ladder match when my team mate got killed immediately, we had pistoled the hell out of the guys as they came in (in assault) and I was up in the office overlooking the warehouse. I threw a grenade and right as both came around the corner it went off and killed them both.

When Valve released Team Fortress Classic for Half-Life I downloaded it along with everybody else. I’d never really played online much other than some Quake II CTF. Once I figured out the classes and the controls I was lost. I played that solid for probably 3 months - usually until 3 or 4 a.m. I’d wake up at 7 a.m. bleary-eyed and trudge off to work.

I’d look around the hallways at work and think “I could place a turret there and hold down this hallway for the rest of the night.”

Memory’s getting a little hazy now but (in random order):

  1. Star Wars: Dark Forces - Must have played the demo a thousand times before the full version came out. I have more vivid memories of this game than just about any other. Nothing quite like walking around in the familiar SW universe for the first time. Stormtroopers, droids, rebels, blaster rifles, Boba Fett! Awesome.

  2. Thief - Cathedral level and many, many other very vivid moments.

  3. X-Com, of course. First terror site just rocked! It was in Mexico City…

  4. Jagged Alliance - I can still remember some of the colorful personalities and their little quips.

  5. Doom, of course.

Many many more…too many to list…

TF without a doubt, although I quit competing when everyone migrated to QW. There was such a wonderful community feeling, the game was intense and involved. My most memorable match was a 2forts lineup, heh… this was our first match on the “new” 2fort5, and the stakes were high. The enemy clan had approached us individually to try and get someone to defect, but nobody wanted to break up our squad. If our clan lost, we’d give up bragging rights on the enemy server and join their ranks. We ended up losing 2-3, but it was all in great spirits and we enjoyed having new clan mates and a great server to really call home.

I’ve got a lot of great Doom LAN memories as well. I was fortunate enough to have access to 4 machines that were capable of running Doom 2, so I’d have a few guys over and we’d run through as much of it as we could. I’d dash ahead of them on level 15 and bait the Cyberdemon into the elevator shaft, and eventually he’d get stuck in the spawning room. It was absolutely absurd trying to make an exit… half of the time you could see your death animation finishing up as you respawned in a salvo of rocket fire. I still remember laughing for hours as well all clambored over each other trying to get the hell out or kill this thing with pistol rounds.

There was also a map later on where you were seperated from a Revenant by a chasm of lava, and we’d all get him to fire a homing missile at us before we started running around in circles. He’d keep firing them at us and we’d all have a stream of 6-8 of these rockets blazing after us, at which point we’d attempt to cross streams and nail each other in a general bout of chaos.

Off the top of my head–

  1. The moment I realized that if I rotated the starmap that came with “Starflight” 90 degrees, it looked like stars as seen from earth (“The Axe” becomes the Big Dipper, “The Staff” becomes Orion’s belt, etc.). Of course this makes no sense, but it was an awesome moment for me.

  2. Similarly, finding the Sol system in Starflight and scanning Earth. Whoa.

  3. Showing up at Ben Sones’ house for a visit, and him telling me he just picked up a new adventure game, “Amber,” an adventure game / ghost story. We played the game straight through, IIRC, an all-nighter. What a great game.

  4. As part of that, walking through the empty house in Amber and fooling around with stuff, we picked up a Magic 8-Ball. “Answer Hazy, Check Again Later.” I thought, ha ha, that’s funny, they actually duplicated the messages, so tried it again. “Yes.” Chuckling, I clicked on it one more time before putting it back–somehow it was just kinda fun using a Magic 8-Ball in a computer game–and it said “HELP ME.” We slammed the thing back in the desk drawer, hesitated a second, and then slammed the desk drawer shut for good measure.

  5. Emptying most of a clip into the corpse of the guy who hanged himself in System Shock 2.

  6. First time with Civilization.

  7. First time with Wing Commander.

8 ) Spirit’s death in Wing Commander 2.

Most of my greatest gaming moments come when I just wonder at what developers manage to do with computer games. “They can do that?!” is one reaction.

Flying over the front in Falcon 4 at night, watching all the explosions and fire on the ground, through my reflection in the canopy, while listening to AI pilots talking about targets and a downed friendly as I’m scanning radar and launch detection systems because there’s no friggin’ telling what’s going to be out there in a dynamic campaign of this magnitude - that’s a “They can do this?!” moment for sure.

The second kind of great gaming moment tends to be when I just get so lost in a game I lose track of time. You can call it just-one-more-turnism or immersion but I’ve just started thinking of it as the “Qt3” factor.

My ill-fated time as Henry II of England in Crusader Kings. I had a huge amount of territory to manage so I, somewhat foolishly in retrospect, immediately divided a number of my counties into dutchies under then-counts who seemed competant and loyal. One duke of a unified Norman duchy ended up with a son that was not only competant but a good deal more valorous and ambitious than his father. I’d just finished removing a couple extremely incompetant counts from other counties. There was no way I could just attempt to remove this fellow’s inherited title without provoking a civil war. My forces were recovering after battles to unify Ireland (under Prince John) and southern France and parts of Moorish Spain (under Prince Richard). The only healthy force in reserve, and it wasn’t going to be enough, was under my Moorish Marshal (the exiled son of a ruler whose kingdom was usurped by a foe of mine). This last champion nearly cost me an excommunication from The Catholic Church but he ended up justifying my faith when the Duke of Normandy rebelled on his own and allied with King Phillip of France. To make a long story short this was a tough, tough, war with many complications and emergent subplots. I couldn’t put the game down for many, many, hours…

The last is some specifically clever move of mine or neat series of events that doesn’t necessarily relate to great design or gameplay. I guess you can call this “Cool Shit Happens”.

Star Wars Galaxies. Alot of the early hype made this out to be, indirectly and demurely albeit, something of a roleplayer’s paradise. Here’s a famous setting, realistic and balanced levels of power (rather than power inflationary levelling systems), and a focus on player interaction through in-game community building and PvP warfare. The design ideas and the settings brought together the best community of MMO roleplayers and organizers I’ve ever seen in a group called Vagabond’s Rest. The idea was to plan for and colonize a city for hundreds of roleplayers and a score or so of PAs. We actually managed to pull it off for a while and I’ve never seen anything this good or with this many really creative people involved in this kind of setting before. But, ultimately, we didn’t plan adequately ourselves for OOC interpersonal disputes or good ways to handle chaotic storylines and initiatives. Folks on powertrips made everyone miserable as they fought amongst each other. And the game itself never did measure up to what we’d hoped to find despite having some very good ideas it never quited jelled and, today, it’s EQ2 with Jedi and a great space sim that’s got little to do in general and less to do with any recognisable Star Wars setting. But, for a time, there was a roleplayer’s Camelot called Vagabond’s Rest. I done seen it with my own jaded eyes.

First PC game I ever played (I was around 30, I think) – Civilization. I sat down at about noon to try it on my brand new PC, and I don’t think I got up except to pee until Midnight. That experience is what made me into a gamer. All I remember is my buildings getting sold off because I wasn’t generating enough tax revenue (I had no idea how the game worked).

First time I played X-COM, I was on a base raid when suddenly a missile flies around the corner, KA-BOOM! Welcome to blaster bombs! I finished that mission with about 1 guy alive, I think. First time I met Chryssalids was about as terrifying.

Daggerfall. Despite the fact that the game crashed about every 5 minutes, I was just mesmerized (and terrified) while on Dungeon crawls. Morrowind was technically leaps and bounds ahead, but just didn’t capture the spooky atmosphere, mostly because its dungeons were too small.

Everquest… too many great experiences to describe. The first time I went through the tunnel in BlackBurrow up north (level 5, I think), I got lost in the tundra, wandered for about an hour before something killed me. It was a really immersive experience.

Finally beating Might and Magic 2, after going through my 4th grade history textbook.

The first time I played Civ2 at my friend’s house, and stayed up until 5AM, eventually getting smacked down by the Greeks. I never lived down losing the pink guys.

The first time I played Master of Magic as the halflings and steamrolled the world with an army of slingers.

Seeing my (former F16 pilot) dad’s eyes light up when I was done installing a Voodoo2, CH joystick, and Falcon 4.0 on his computer, and started the game.

The first time I stomped a friend in Duke Nukem 3D after hitting him with the shrink gun in deathmatch.

Losing an entire Soviet fleet to a single Seawolf sub in Harpoon. It didn’t help that my friend (who had played this scenario) was feeding me misinformation about there being an American fleet in the area. Still, I should have had more ASW out there.

Those many flight sim moments when I had to fly a very wounded vessel back home.

A very long Civ2 war against Carthage. They were obviously preparing for war since they were parking tanks on our border. So I built some forts right on the border and packed it with tanks of my own. The arms race was crazy. When I finally drove them off the mainland, I had to cross a sea that they had superiority in, but kept losing transport after transport. I finally had to resort to finding large concentrations of enemy ships and nuking them.

Fighting the Spanish in Europa Universalis II as Portugal, with Iroquois allies. When the Spanish government collapsed, the new Iroquois empire stretched from Quebec to Honduras.

Troy

-Living in Brooklyn, NY in the mid-90’s, late night, I’d hop on some random server from Ironman’s Quakeworld Server Listings. After fragging for a while and things calmed down and I’d just shoot the shit with the other players using the in-game text chat. It always blew my mind when it turned out one of the other guys was in Russia, Europe, or middle of nowhere Kansas. This is one of those early Internet “wow” moments more than a game moment, but it was Quake that got me there.

-Surviving a gauntlet of about 6 straight levels near the end of Deus Ex, with health that never broke 25% was a rush. One level I had no use of my legs and was dragging my ass around on the ground yet somehow still survived.

-Return to Castle Wolfenstein: playing as an engineer there were some exhilirating moments were I either detonated or defused TNT just before the buzzer to win a match.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!

When I saw the title of this thread that was the first thing that came to mind! I’ll never forget pulling into orbit around this planet, doing a scan and noticing the hard drive working a bit harder than usual. Most scans took several seconds or so, but this one was lasting quite a bit longer. Soon a map of Earth was revealed and I just about had a heart attack at the tender age of 12. I was completely floored by the experience and for the rest of the week at school that was all I could think about.

Ok other experiences . . .

  • getting a Soundblaster for the PC and hooking it up to the stereo. The sounds from Battle of Britain, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, WingCommander 1/2, Falcon 3.0, Xwing/Tie Fighter rocked the house!

  • Orchid Rightgeous 3D card and experiencing GL Quake for the first time.

  • Crack like addiction to Quake 2 CTF, LMCTF, and Jailbreak while at college. Playing Warcraft 2 and eventually Starcraft against roomies.

  • Thief: really the first computer game to scare the crap out of me. Doom was scary fun, Theif was shit your pants scary.