We are all over PC gaming this week, but what do we know about PC gaming? Each day, one Kotaku editor will reveal their PC gaming knowledge and share some memories. Yesterday you read about Totilo's experiences, now it's my turn.
Are you a PC gamer?
Yes? Deep down I am a computer gamer, but the reality is that I hardly ever play games on a computer anymore. I'll still choose to play shooters and strategy games for fun on the PC, but I have so little time to play for pleasure these days that I feel increasingly like a console gamer. That's because of the disproportionate number of games for review sent to us on a console. But over my life, the platform I've gamed most on is the computer. It's also still the platform I am most defensive of and expect most from. One of the highlights of my year is judging for the IGFs, which is still very PC-centric.
What was your first PC Game?
That's a hard question to answer. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house with computer before they were available to the public. My dad worked for the US Department of Defence and used to bring them home for us to play on. I'm pretty sure my very first computer game was Tic-Tac-Toe in the early '70s. But the game I remember most fondly, the first computer game I played on my very own computer was Star Trek III.4 on the TRS-80. Yes, I owned and adored a trash-80. I spent countless hours playing the game, which was essentially a collection of menus and a few low-grade graphics on the TRS-80 set up in our den next to the fireplace. The computer sat on an old wooden desk of sorts, more like a stool, and plugged into our family television. Eventually, after I managed to get a TRS-80 COCO in my room, I spent my afternoons after school playing text adventures like Pyramid 2000 with a tattered thesaurus by my side. But the TRS-80 went out the door when I saw my dad's 8088.
Did consoles ever get in the way of your PC gaming?
My first gaming system, not counting Tic-Tac-Toe, was a Sears Ping Pong machine. Next we moved over to an Atari 2600, where I tried my hand at programming using those little bubble-button add-on keyboards you could buy for the console. But once I got that TRS-80 there was no looking back for me. Sure, we owned a NES and SNES and eventually I bought myself a PlayStation, mostly because I loved Tekken. But the console was never a deterrent to computer gaming... until we had Tristan. Suddenly, gaming on a couch made much more sense. I'm happy to announce, though, that after buying Tristan his first laptop for his birthday, I'm slowly trying to convert him over to PC gaming.
Best PC gaming memory?
My parents divorced when I was 12 and, as with most divorces, it was pretty rough. My dad bought my brother and I a TRS-80, maybe it was just a present, but I think he meant it as something more, as a way to form common memories and interests. And it worked. I think back on my early teen years and I remember moments like the visit to my dad's house where I discovered that 8088 and its glorious 20-bit memory. Or the time I came to visit for the summer to discover my dad had meticulously collected stacks of tapes for us loaded with games, games like the forbidden PC version of Donkey Kong and a bootleg Joust. So I guess my best PC gaming memory would have to be how my love of personal computers helped me get through a sometimes painful childhood and maintain a bond with my dad.
Worst PC Gaming memory?
There were fried memory sticks, blown motherboards, lost game saves, bad purchases. But none of that adds up to the time when a Windows Vista transfer to a new rig I was building pushed my frayed temper to the breaking point and led to me stupidly punching a wall and breaking - seriously breaking - my pinkie knuckle.
Which PC-based game series should they bring back?
Wing Commander, Magic Carpet, X-Com... a real X-Com? I think I'm going to have to go with Bullfrog classic Syndicate. I loved the cyberpunk aesthetic, the blending of real-time tactics, action shooting with a touch of role-playing. And trench coats. Games need more trench coats.