It’s time. You’ve given us your memories, your hearts, and your poems. So many poems.
Now it’s time for us to give back.
Some people shared us their stories of reliving World War 2 with their grandparents and Call of Duty. Others regaled us with their sessions of Goldeneye 007 on a CRT. Mario Kart. Donkey Kong. Metal Gear Solid.
Lot of Halo LAN parties.
We can’t highlight everyone’s excellent posts here, although there is almost 4000 words of beautiful, heartwarming memories here. Please, go read those.
For now, it’s time for the runners-up.
As you’ll see, there were some exceptional entries. And this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the wonderful moments everyone put in.
James and GoldenEye 64
GoldenEye 64 multiplayer. We were playing a Golden Gun match and it was down to two of us – me and one of my best friends. My friend had full health and an AK-47, while I had virtually no health left but I had the Golden Gun.
We were playing the Temple level where there is the big central room that has several offshoot hallways. He parked himself in the central room, but faced the wall so I couldn’t see his screen to tell which side path to come in from.
So I sprint in. He sees my screen, sees which path I’m coming in from and turns to shoot me. I see him out of the corner of my screen and turn and shoot him with the Golden Gun to win the match.
It wouldn’t have been particularly notable in and of itself, except that it ended up as an almost perfect recreation of the opening to every Bond movie – I come in from the right of his screen, and his crosshairs follow me until I’m right in the centre of the room. I turn and shoot a just a split second before he shoots me.
So basically, this, except with really chunky 90s polygons.
Alecia’s Singstar Christmas Eve
It was Christmas Eve when I was a kid,
With my family having laughs…
I remember them all wanting to play a game,
In between their drunken barfs…
So we told them we had Singstar,
And of course that sounded fun…
So we turned on the TV to start,
And that’s when the giggles begun…
They couldn’t work out how to sing in tune,
Or in time with the beat…
I mean it probably didn’t help too,
That they were so unstable on their feet!
But the competition was indeed on,
And they battled it out (so loudly)…
And even though they were pitchy,
They sung passionately and proudly!
So it’s become a yearly tradition,
To enjoy a festive singing battle…
And it’s even more important to me now,
Without my Dad’s voice here to rattle!
Angus and his mate falling asleep to Breath of the Wild
Me and my best mate Brady were so excited to play Breath of the Wild before it came out. I was the only one with a Switch. So, on release day we went together to pick up my preorder. The plan was to do an all-nighter at Brady’s parents’ house and play the game on their big TV. Both of us only had crappy group house TVs to play on, and we wanted to experience the new game in all its glory on a worthy screen. It was going to be a straight up Zelda-thon.
We agreed to play until the sun came up. On the way home we picked up a bunch of snacks: chocolate, corn chips, ice-cream and soft drinks. Our ambitions were grand, but I don’t think we made it far past midnight. Both of us fell asleep on the lounge room floor surrounded by discarded snack packets and Zelda still running in the background. Brady’s mum covered us with blankets at some point in the night. In the morning we woke up and played for most of the next day, feasting on the left-over snacks. Good times, good mates, good game, on a good screen. My favorite gaming memory in front of a TV!
Arseny meeting his Dad for the first time, then playing Halo 2
My favourite gaming memory in front of a TV was playing Halo 2 split-screen with my dad. It sounds simple enough, but my parents split up before I was born and until I was an adult, I didn’t really know my dad. Sure, I’d see him every few months when I was little, but that dropped off in my teenage years.
So, when we decided to make contact just after my 21st birthday, it was pretty awkward. We were like two people meeting for the first time. The first time I visited dad’s house I noticed he had an Xbox and asked him what games he owned. He told me he’d bought it to play Halo but hadn’t really gotten into it. We ended up playing through the campaign together on split-screen over a few weekends.
It was so much fun and even though its corny, playing Halo was a big part of how we initially bonded. We laughed and had fun together blasting Covenant. I’ll always remember that experience and how happy it made me.
Brett’s mission against Super Mario 3D World
It was the best of times, it was the worst of timed… Once there was a pair of average joe gamer mates who set to task to conquer Super Mario 3D World in 25 days. Colin and Brett battled and enemies rattled, destroying level upon level, night after night.
Some days Bowser’s minions dropped like flies, while other days brought baddies and perils too strong, hindering our progress. The final night approached, and so did the final level of the bonus rounds. It was stormy, rainy and thunderous. The perfect night in for gaming. We had finally made it… we could see the finish line.
Our work was about to pay off… we would sleep peacefully tonight. I remember it so vividly… Our characters Mario and Luigi bounced through obstacles gingerly like we ourselves were inside the games. The two comic Italian brothers slid down the rainbow slide and arrogantly began collecting meaningless coins without grabbing the Finish flag.
And then it happened… A flash of light, an instantaneous peal of thunder… Then bitter irony as natural electricity cuts man-harnessed electricity. The power died… In shock, both of us burst out laughing, tears streaming down our faces and stomachs burning with exhaustive giggles.
What could we do? We were helpless. The game would’ve saved anyway. Wrong… Forever engraved in the neurons of our brains is the incomplete objective caused by a Wii U dying completely.
Melissa’s Atari memories
My favourite gaming TV memory takes me back to 1983. This is when I played my first game of space invaders on our Atari. I loved the sound of the aliens moving across the screen and the sound of the spaceship moving across the top of the screen. It was so much fun to play against my dad. It was a great bonding experience.
Such a great bonding experience that I searched high and low to find a vintage Atari with vintage game cartridges to play space invaders against my own children and my husband. We have the occasional Atari game nights and they’re something we all join in with. I love that the game is simple and that our special needs son can join in. The moment of playing Atari together is usually an hour or two, but the memories last a lifetime.
Karen, her brothers and a brutal session of Pokemon Stadium
Playing the Nintendo 64 was one of the only ways I bonded with my brothers Mat and Dan while growing up. We dragged it everywhere with us playing on any TV we could. Sitting around playing on which ever old CRT we could find are some of my fondest memories. Once when we were on holiday at our grandpas house on the NSW south coast.
The lounge room opened onto a 2nd story balcony with a beautiful view over the ocean. Of course we were ignoring the view and playing Pokémon Stadium. It was a sad fact of life my level 100 Charizard painstakingly raised in Pokémon Yellow could never beat Mats level 100 Alakazam.
Smash bro’s was up next and Dan was getting impatient to play as he was left out of our epic Pokémon duel. “Hurry up or I’ll tell dad” said Dan. “We’ll only be a minute” replied Mat. “Stop being such a crybaby”. “I’m not a crybaby” exclaimed Dan. “Yes you are you’d cry at the drop of a hat!” said Mat.
I stayed quiet, I had a feeling a knew where this was going. “I WOULD NOT” yelled Dan. Mat proceeded to grab Dan’s hat and throw it off the balcony. Dan started to cry…
Bet Dan still hasn’t lived this one down.
Tony’s family bonding over Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger
I’m the youngest of five kids. Growing up, we were all very strong-headed and never really got along with each other that well. We would constantly bicker and argue and fight. My brother is a very quiet person so it would also be extremely rare to hear him say more than one or two words at a time. The only time we all got together as kids and interacted and had fun together was when we’d sit in front of the TV and play Final Fantasy Tactics or Chrono Trigger on the PlayStation.
They’re single player games, but we would always sit around and watch, talk and give each other tips, no matter who played. This led to us all playing Final Fantasy 7, 8, X (please god not 9), X-2 together over the years and actually getting along with each other. My 3 sisters, and my brother and I all bonded over games, and we still discuss the latest games now when we get together (like the FF7 Remake, which they all have but I’m yet to buy). Sitting in front of our little grey box of a TV and watching each other play games changed the dynamic of our lives so much for the better.
Benn’s life of Halo
While living in Kununurra in Australia’s north west,
Little did we know of our ensuing gaming quest.
We had a borrowed Xbox from a mate,
And it was about to keep us up very late.
The original Halo was the game of the season,
And not to play it, we could find no reason.
This game was about to ignite a new friendship,
With my new roommate from the local airstrip.
How quickly we both became completely addicted,
Was certainly not something I would have predicted.
As soon as we walked in the door on would go the Xbox,
We didn’t even stop to remove our shoes and socks.
Only stopping play to sleep and eat,
This game we were very determined to beat.
One night we lost track in the gaming mayhem,
And ended up playing until well after 2am.
Normally a late night would have been fine,
Except we had to be at work long before the sunshine.
When we finally beat the covenant and stopped the flood,
We got some well needed sleep and I had a new best bud.
This was my first real gaming experience,
And I’ve been and avid gamer ever since.
Mario Kart Wii meets a liquid end, Joel keeps playing
Couch co-op Mario Kart Wii. I’d been big-noting myself to a new friend, and he’d done the same. Tensions were high and knuckles where white. It was the second lap of the final track and scores were pretty even. Whoever wins this, wins overall.
Our game room was very share-housey, with the tv setup down low underneath an awkward wall-mounted shelf.
The tense yells and bass of the game rattled a glass of water someone had placed on the precarious shelf. It fell. It hit the front of the TV. Water seeped into the front of the panel.
As it ran along the internals of the display, it caused the backlight to blowout brightly and distort the image. I was first player in the top left, and I was fine. He was second in the top right, his image distorted and painful to look at. We turned to each other for half a second, then furiously back in silent agreement to keep the match going. I decided in that moment that I’d be gracious and acknowledge his handicap, after I take first.
But even with half his viewport shining like a beacon, he took first, turned silently and nodded. Son of a gun. Hands were shaken, praises were given.
In my youthful ignorance I scattered rice around the TV that night. Turns out if you leave it a few weeks it can come good.
Alex’s love of Secret Command
My favourite gaming memory is undoubtedly the long road to obtaining Secret Command on the Sega Master System, followed by many hours of playing it with my father. After playing the game at friend’s house in 1988, I knew this was the game I wanted above all else. It took me most of a whole year to save up my pocket money, which was $2 per week as a 6 year-old in 1989; earned by picking up rubbish from our front yard on the way home from school each day.
I thought my dad would take pity on me at round the six-month mark after saving $50, but I was told the wait and hard work would make me enjoy it all the more (classic parent trick). When I finally hit the goal of $79.95, we made the drive to the Gamesmen at Penshurst, which was the unchallenged Mecca of video games in late 80’s Sydney.
After exchanging my hard earned cash, we went straight home and I hurriedly shoved that sucker into my Master System and I was away. My dad watched for all of about 5 minutes before wanting to get in on the Rambo-like action. After weeks of playing, practice and teamwork, it ended up being the first game I (and my dad) ever finished, starting my love of gaming.
Now, as a father myself, my original still-working cartridge was the first game I played with my 5 year-old daughter.
The stories of people sharing their first loves (of video games) with their family is incredibly sweet.
Brandon and Tony Soprano
That time Tony Soprano somehow managed to play Mario Kart 64 with one hand.
If you haven’t seen the scene, it’s legitimately very funny.
As promised, however, there can only be one winner.
But the winner is…
Annalise’s The Boy and The Bear
One of my earliest memories, since I was three,
Mum, Dad, and myself in front of a nineties TV,
Playing Banjo Kazooie on the old Nintendo 64,
Those so-called ‘Banjo Nights” I will always adore.
My parents transformed the lounge into a pillow fort,
While I bounced on the mattress like an Olympic sport,
Mum made hot chocolate and got the popcorn ready,
While Dad went hunting for my pyjamas and teddy.
Then in front of the television, we’d all reconvene,
For the most epic gaming night you’ve ever seen.
Defeating enemies alongside the Bird and Bear
In our household, meant a whole family affair.
Dad on the controller, Mum scribbling down codes,
Me buzzing from excitement and sugar overload.
I can’t begin to imagine how many times we died,
With no online tutorials, just a thick paper guide.
I’ll never forget Talon Trotting with such precision,
From across the lounge on a nineties television.
Somehow navigating narrow ledges in a cinch,
Eyes squinted at our (then impressive) 25 inch.
Or the sheer euphoria that came with winning,
When six year old me replayed from the beginning.
And that opening melody still stuck in my brain.
Now it’s decades later, but the memories remain.
Technology may have changed the ways we play,
But I can’t wait to game with my own kids some day,
Recreating old nostalgia with new memories to share,
Those countless family nights with the Bird and Bear.
Thank you all to everyone who entered. Again, I’m sorry we don’t have more prizes to giveaway. The response was just exceptional and I’m hoping we can do a lot more of this throughout the rest of the year.
Again: thanks to everyone for offering their memories and wonderful moments. They were beautiful to read and just a wonderful reminder of what makes gaming so special.