Tell Us Dammit

It seems as though it's been a while since I've had that feeling, the feeling when you play a game for the first time and you're completely blown away, either by the mechanics or the visuals. For me at least, that 'wow' factor tends to occur closer to the start of console generations. What are some of your 'wow' moments in gaming?

I'll never forget playing Mario 64 for the first time, or Half-Life 2. Donkey Kong Country on the SNES was another one for me, and Shadow of the Beast on Amiga. Man so many...

But enough about me, what about you? Let us know in the comments below.


Comments

    The first time I took off flying in Mario 64. Yah, Wah YAHOO! I'm not sure anything will top that.

    A close second though is when I first stepped into Ashenvale in World of Warcraft and began to process just how big the world of Azeroth was, and (almost) NO LOADING SCREENS! I was excite.

    Probably my biggest 'wow' moment of modern gaming was the first time I encountered the soldiers in Half Life. Back on my old Pentium 233MMX with a 12mb Voodoo2 on a 2mb Trident onboard graphics.

    The AI had me literally sitting in front of my PC going 'HOLY SH**T!!!' Seeing an AI enemy tossing grenades at me while I was in cover, splitting up and flanking me, and sometimes retreating when outnumbered was absolutely mind blowing at the time. Previously, we'd only been privy to enemies that walked in a straight line at you, or around things in a highly predictable fashion.

    This was a whole new level. Still makes me smile to this day. God bless you, Valve.

    Doom. My 13 year old brain convinced me it was photo realistic.

    Shadow of the Beast on the Amiga was a good one. Seeing Elite in colour and filled polygons was neat, but Beast pretty much left our jaws on the floor for weeks.

    Watching To Kill A Mockingbird on the couch with Jenny in The Darkness had me giddy for weeks. And games still aren't doing stuff like that on a consistent basis.

      yer doom scared the shit out of me to, i couldn't play it!

    That moment in the first Metal Gear Solid when you realise whfg nsgre lbh vachg gur guveq CNY pbqr gung lbh'ir orra urycvat gur greebevfgf nyy nybat.

      For those wondering, no he didn't have a seizure mid sentence. In unwritten Kotaku rules, spoilers are written in ROT13, and can be deciphered at rot13(dot)com

        Well in that case:
        Onfuvat gur rireybivat cvff bhg bs gevnatyr gb znxr Byq Fanxr penjy qbja gur zvpebjnir pbeevqbe gb fnir gur jbeyq juvyr pngpuvat favccrgf bs nyy gur fhccbegvat punenpgref svtugvat gb gurve irel ynfg juvyr gur znayvrfg grnef va uvfgbel fgernzrq qbja zl snpr va ZTF4.

    The moment in Heavy Rain when I realised how much I cared for my characters - the fourth test the dad was given.

    The beginning of my journey in Ocarina of Time.

    Bioshock being as good as it was. I knew it was meant to be good, but DAMN.

    Putting characters onto the portal in Skylanders.

    More too, but I'm hungry. *waddles off*

    Mirror's Edge actually managed to have this effect on me the second time through, when I actually paid attention to just how well they crafted things. Particularly how they handled the first person perspective.

    I honestly cannot think of a game that better handled first person and made it feel like you were actually occupying a body instead of being a floating camera with a gun.

      Sticking with recent examples:

      Uncharted 2. It's just so damned pretty.

      Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. The combat. It was just so damned fun. Weighty and visceral, you felt like you were actually wading through the orks that you mowed down with your chainsword.

      So much fun. So satisfying. Loved it.

    Playing Command and Conquer for the first time. Hearing the Cruiser shooting at the Nod turret as it patrolled the coast for me in the first GDI mission. I was instantly hooked on CnC.

    Then came the EA 'games'... and sadness.

      Too true, however I did particularly enjoy Tiberium wars, but CNC4 and RA3 are my least favorite ever, in fact I never played CNC4 past the first mission, no point..

    The cutscene opening A Link to the Past. It ended with Link in his room and it took me ages to work out the cutscene was over, that this was actually the game, and I could control it!

    Getting a sword for the first time in Skyward Sword is probably the best recent experience.

    I AM SHOOODDAAANNNN. (System Shock 2, for all those people who thought Bioshock was actually a good game.)

      Amazing game.

      Back when you could actually play SP game campaigns in co-op without the devs insisting "it doesn't make sense" is a legitimate excuse not include the feature despite the fun factor.

    Descent 1. The shareware version was on a PC powerplay CD and I installed it not knowing what it was. Mind blown. The cut scene after you blow up the reactor and escape the mine as the flames chase you out was breath taking as a youngster.

    Ocarina of Time (stepping out into Hyrule Field for the first time). Magnificent.

    And mirrors edge... To a degree. I think that was mostly the clean cut, futuristic, glass and steel design mixed with the epic soundtrack that gave you an awed feeling when playing.

    Doom was my first experience (As Gooberman said, back then it was pretty incredible, even scary!) and the exploding plane scene in Uncharted 3 was my last one. It wasn't because the graphics were anything new, or the special effects, it just happened so quickly and was a stunning, real-time in-game sequence...

    Leaving the Imperial Sewers, walking down the gangplank in Seyda Neen, and getting completely lost in the first dungeon of Daggerfall.

      Walking out of the office into Seyda Neen, looking at the physical map, looking at my surroudings, looking back to the map, realising the scale of the world... My 11 year old brain turned to mush.

    when i played Soul Reaver 2, the first time you exit the Sarafan Stronghold, HOLYCARP it blew my mind how nice it looked.... nothing compared to todays standards, but they did so many things right in that game... facial animations, the way that you feet always made contact with a surface so your running looked semi realistic etc...
    BLEW MY MIND

    The opening cinematic for Warcraft 2, the CGI blew me away... At the time.

    GTA4 first game I got this gen. And it blew me away even on my old CRT.

    For me I have a few:
    Playing Banjo Kazooie and have so many different styles of attacks, abilities and ways to kill the different types of enemies.
    Creating a dwarf in Vanilla WoW, walking around in the starting area of 1-5, then running to through the tunnel to get to Kharanos and seeing how freaking huge the world was, plus how amazing the snowy white land was.
    Playing Jak and Daxter for the first time and being engrossed in the story about trying to turn your furry friend back to normal or saving the world. Loving all the characters, having little side missions and no loading screens on a console game.
    Uncharted 2's beginning with trying to climb the train thats hanging off the edge of a cliff was also pretty freaking awesome

    Two games of the late PS2 era:

    Okami, such an incredibly polished and surprising long game, basically a zelda game but better in every single aspect, and has such amazing environments.

    Dragon Quest VII, from the first time stepping out of the village and starting to grasp how big the world is (while getting my arse handed to me by the monsters), to the time i got the ability to fly _anywhere_, so damned beautiful, so damned sublime.

      Actually on reflection, one game topped those two: Tales of Symphonia. Biggest 'wow' moment was, after assuming it's yet another 'find the 8 crystals, save the world' bs plot, being told you're about to destroy the world by doing so. and this was about 1/6th the way in. Amazing.

    Crysis. Jumping out the back of a plane in my Nanosuit onto the tropical Ling Shan islands watching with awe and not knowing what I will face... But knowing it would be a beautiful adventure.

    Recently?

    LA Noire - Realising the the gun play is a secondary importance to the narrative? In this day and age? Shows there is potential for mainstream games being more than just kill the guy with a funny hat.

    Mirrors Edge - Jumping from crane to crane abouth alf way through and realising the game mechanics are easy to learn but hard to master.

    Witcher 2 - Walking around Flotsam. A tiny little village in the middle of knowhere but still full of life. A truly great package that got the blend of gameplay mechanics, design and narrative just right.

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution - See Witcher 2. Showing reboots of old franchies can work with a updated but similiar game mechanics to the originals that made them a classic to begin with. Quality deisgn pays back in spades.

    Fallout 3 - Walking into a subway station (the one with the 'vampires') and seeing how detailed ruins and destruction can be. The game world you wander around in can actually tell a story itself.

    Metroid Prime - Phendrana Drifts. Atmosphere, soundtrack, exploration, wow.

      Agree 100%. The whole metroid prime experience was pretty mind blowing

    There are so many, where to start.

    Dreamcast....all of eeet!

    Jumping off a huge cliff in Crysis and watching the world blur by as you fall into the water below.

    The weapons in the Turok on the N64 where as mind blowing as taking an arrow to the neck(knee!!!).

    I still remember Daytona USA (even with the PAL bars - read "widescreen")on the Sega Saturn and The Panza Dragoon demo Sega sent the mugs(just me I think) who picked up a Saturn on day 1. The 360 degree(ish) environment and sweeping visuals, wow. One of the first times it felt like I had an arcade in the home :)

    Another would be SSX Tricky, it's hard to think of a game where the visuals matched the fun,style and sound.

    Battlefield 1942 was mind blowing. I'd played online shooters and destroyed in them - SOFII double helix and Unreal tournament, but the interaction of BF really took my breath away. To ride on the wing of a spitfire, to parachute into the enemy base to drop a few landmines on the runway following stealing a jeep and roadkilling multiple nazis or playing the game "properly" that really blew me away.

    Also half Life as mentioned above, the soldiers AI was stunning at the time, I remember sitting in my uni digs with about 5 people crowded round a 15" monitor and my mate crapping himself as a head crab lunged at the screen as I crowbarred my way down an air duct.

    Good times.

    Snatching the controller from my cousin to play Super Mario Bros 3 for the very first time was pretty special. I wouldn't give it back.

    Sonic on MD was pretty spectacular at the time, I can't remember a platform game that was "so fast".

    WipEout 2097, I somehow missed the original, but this was originally played on a demo disc and I was completely hooked, the speed (again!), handling and art direction were top notch, again it was a different take on your standard racing games of the time. (of note, the original WipEout was purchased not long after also, and been a WipEout fan since)

    Last time I got that feeling was probably Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It wasn't because of state of the art graphics, but more all these little pieces of atmosphere coming together to create something so damn immersive. I got that feeling with Uncharted too.

    Shadow of the Colossus during the first fight as I was dangling off the back of the giant beast and the score hit its high note.

    Red Dead Redemption for it landscape and believable world.

    Assassins Creed 2. Seeing how much the developers had listened to their audience and fans. IMO one of the bigest leap fowards for a sequal.

      I spent ages just drawing and holstering my revolver in RDR. Was amazed how well done the animation was. It just felt right.

        It reignited my love of westerns.

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