The winner of our LG CX OLED TV giveaway will be announced later today. But before that, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the truly incredible memories everyone has shared.
As we often do with our competitions, some of the runner-ups will be highlighted along with the overall winner. But there’s not enough space in that post to highlight all of the good memories. Over 1500 of you entered. And at a maximum of 250 words an entry, you can see the issue.
So this post is for sharing some of those memories here. Just so we’re clear, if your memory appears here, it doesn’t mean you didn’t win. This post is just to share the wonderful experiences that you’ve passed on with all of us, because so many of them are beautiful, touching moments that everyone should enjoy.
They’re why gaming is such an incredible medium. They’re why we all do this.
So without further adieu, let’s begin with … Secret of Mana.
Someone discovers Secret of Mana at Big W
Year 6 1995, at BIG-W I got my mum to buy a game that was on discount. I got home, the box looked neat, but I wasn’t sure what it would be like… I plugged it in to my SNES and turned it on…. SECRET OF MANA!!!
From the opening moments of that game through to the end I was awestruck. I had a friend over the next day and we played co-op, two pals challenging the game. We had a separate save and played from start to end together.
Everything I played before was either turn based or action-adventure so this game was revolutionary to me. There was story, but it wasn’t too heavy (though dark and foreboding),
It’s not flashy by today’s standards and sure there were better games out at the time (Terranigma FTW)
But I made friends with this game. My circle of friends at school chatted about SoM and afternoons were spent playing through. The first video game to make us to do. We would go on to play Diablo, Baldur’s Gate and many others together, but SoM is where it started.
To this day I feel overjoyed and occasionally tear up to the sound of the score and memories of a younger me come back, and for that reason, Secret of Mana is my favourite gaming TV memory.
The first annual Super Nintendo-A-Thon
The first annual Super Nintendo-A-Thon was held in 1995, in our living room. The players? Three boys aged ten: me, my twin brother, and a friend from school.
The game? Secret of Mana. The SNES was rented from the local Blockbuster. We’d got permission to stay up all night. We had chocolate chip cookies and homemade pizza. What we didn’t have was a decent TV. Our home set was outdated even for 1995. A swollen grey screen protruded from the box like it’d been stung by a bee. There was no remote.
You had to tune the television into the game using a dial on the set, twisting it like a combination lock for which you didn’t know the code. But when the screen finally snapped into life, none of that mattered. We played as long as our eyes stayed open, sharing frustration at our (many) defeats, cheering each time we somehow defeated a boss. And at the centre was that old set, glowing and warm. A modern day hearth around which food was shared, stories were told, and friendships formed.
Televisions have come a long way, and the annual Super Nintendo-A-Thon hasn’t run in decades. Now I have a kid of my own, and little time for games. But when I do, I play the same I did when I was ten: huddled around the warm window of the screen, looking into another world, sharing it with friends and family.
Man, I don’t miss shitty TVs, but there was something special about tuning a box and getting it just right.
You know what game this is
The author for this formatted their post very specifically. You’ll understand why.
The year is 2015.
You’re sitting on the couch, hunched in front of your 37” TV, absorbed in the opening chapter of a Gothic nightmare.
Your hooded avatar darts and rolls through desolate Victorian streets. The fog chilled atmosphere is so thick, you could cut it with your Trick weapon.
The first few enemies rise slowly, and go down easily enough. Their movements stiff like theme park animatronics.
So far, so good.
But as you descend toward the centre of town, the dreaded mob appears.
“You are not wanted here!”
“I’ll mess up your brain!”
A not-so welcoming party brandishing pitchforks and torches.
You can’t take them all on – not like this – and try to escape.
Your stamina flagging, you turn a corner, only to be greeted by a horrid pyre.
And more villagers.
“You plague ridden rat!”
They cut you down in next to no time.
And then those two words appear.
Set in a narrow serif font, a shade of crimson.
And now, seeing them, experiencing them for yourself, it all makes sense.
The memes and the t-shirts.
The fear and the elation.
This isn’t Game Over.
This is something new.
A brand new nightmare.
One you’ll keep coming back to again, and again, and again.
In Yharnam, Drangleic and Lordran.
Two words that, no matter how many times they appear, will never lose the sting – or thrill – of that first encounter.
Beautiful way to bring Dark Souls back to life.
Parental gaming gone wrong
Our son was a very sick little boy who had to stay inside a lot. He was also extremely intelligent. To keep him amused and occupied, he played different games on the consoles and TV. By the time he was 1, he was a whizz on the Sega Master System. He loved Alex Kidd.
When he was about 18 months old, he challenged my husband to a game of race cars, one of his other games. My husband loved playing games with him. My husband thought he was doing well in the game.
Our son continued playing until the game ended with him winning. My husband was wondering why the game was taking a long time to finish, until our son told him matter of factly: YOU WENT AROUND THE TRACK BACKWARDS.
My husband never lived it down.
That joke will go to that poor bastard’s grave. Without a doubt.
I loved when Good Game (ABC) unveiled the fabled Ouya Games Console. Even back at its initial launch, they seemed less than enthusiastic.
I love that Bajo and Hex getting frustrated at the Ouya’s controller, and not being able to see the price of a game until you’ve started playing, is someone’s favourite memory.
The Commodore 64 days
When my uncle came over from Holland on a holiday back in 1985 for two weeks, and we spent till way past midnight every night playing Gauntlet on my Commodore 64 (yes, with the tape drive).
It was long, laborious, but oh so satisfying when the tape drive would start spinning again meaning we had completed yet another level. I remember it was part of a 6 tape pack with 4 other games. I can’t remember who published it but I saved up for months.
I saw him again in 2017 when I flew back to say goodbye to my Oma who was terminal, and even though with his accident he’d lost a lot of memories we both reminisced about that holiday and what we were doing way past my bed time. There have been some excellent TV gaming sessions since then with my wife on a PS1 (Tekken) and my kids (Mario derivatives mainly), but the Gauntlet one is most special just because of the circumstances then and now.
I haven’t actually thought about it in 3 years but with this particular question you’ve asked of me, it was actually really nice remembering.
Getting your non-gaming partner hooked on The Last of Us
My wife is not a gamer, I am. Getting agreement on a PS4 purchase was one of the most challenging conversations of my life with superior reasoning eventually winning out. I was able to pick it up along with several games I wanted to play including The Last of Us.
One Tuesday night as she pulled out her laptop to get ahead of school work for the week (high school teacher) I fired up TLoU with only a few eye rolls from the chair next to me. Getting into the introduction I noticed the sounds of typing from next to me were getting less and less frequent and even a few soft gasps were let loose (seriously that game had one of the most intense intros I’ve played).
Eventually culminating into my non-gamer wife putting her laptop away 30 minutes into the game and avidly watching, commentating and being completely immersed until we looked up and realised it was 2:00am. I was immediately banned from playing TLoU without her there to watch.
That is the turning point for my wife becoming a casual gamer, we have since shared countless hours across God of War, Black Ops, Borderlands 3, Jedi: Fallen Order and Spider-man among others. I’ll always credit that night for bringing her into my world in a way which left her eyes sparkling with excitement and wonder, never again have I enjoyed a gaming session as much as that one.
Games are for everyone — even if you’re not playing.
Don’t watch P.T. in a hotel room
I was at a work retreat showing a bunch of friends P.T. (The Silent Hills Playable Teaser – A horror game being produced by Hideo Kojima with help from Guillermo del Toro) because they had never gotten to experience it before it was removed from the PlayStation store.
We were on the couch in my dark hotel room. One of my mates claimed he was getting bored, yawned, and “went to bed”. Turns out he had worked out you could go from one bedroom to the other via the balcony. He crept out there, made his way along, silently got into the bedroom, snuck up behind the couch we were all sitting on, waited for the tensest moment he could, then made a loud moan sound like the creepy Lisa ghost in does.
I’ve never before seen a group of grown men spontaneously leap into the air and shriek at such a high pitch as I had that night. Needless to say, we all needed a change of pants after that…
It’s almost criminal that P.T. was cancelled.
Discovering Call of Duty: WW2 with your grandfather
My absolute favourite gaming memory in front of a TV is from about two years ago, when I bought Call Of Duty: WWII and spent the day on my PS4, playing it with my Grandfather! It took him a while to get the hang of the controllers, but once he got it, he was a machine!
The graphics and sound in this game were so advanced, just amazing to play. Hearing my Grandfather yelling “take that” and “die you bastard” was just so much fun!!! I had to convince him to take a break, for us to have lunch, then we were right back into it!
Anyway, we played this game for the entire day and it’s a memory which has stayed with me and we both talk about “that day” with misty eyes of joy!
This reminds me of a story I’ve been meaning to write for years about the one time my grandfather watched me play Counter-Strike. Now I’m getting misty eyed.
“The Bird 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.
The Pac-Man Prayer
Our 90’s TV,
who art in heaven,
Donkey Kong be thy name;
thy Jungles come;
thy Banana be done on barrels as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily cage;
and forgive us our peanut popguns
as we forgive those who challenge against us;
and lead us not into more bananas,
but deliver us from Mario.
A lot of people got real creative with their entries.
The year: 2010. Nine lads in their late teens. One’s parents are away leaving their bitchin’ two storey house available for mischief. What do you do? Halo 3 LAN party between three TVs. Headsets on!
Plenty of AA batteries? Checkeroony.
The main living room has a huge wall-mounted smart TV and folding window doors overlooking the backyard. The upstairs Xbox is chugging away with a loud fan. We prayed to the Microsoft gods we wouldn’t get the red ring.
Favourite game mode: Juggernaut where they have 300% movement speed on Sandtrap. Nothing but rocket launchers is also a classic. I’m the worst player there but it’s still loads of fun. Hijacked a Banshee from the top player once, spinning it into rocks and exploding him; I survived.
Now kids online swearing and telling you they showed your mother a good time is not a good time, but your friends hurling insults and expletives? Hilarious. This one friend Myles is especially funny.
The fun’s going on for a while and all manner of things are said. Then the shenanigans are halted when a man taps on the backyard window. The smart TV can be set to send audio to outdoor speakers to play music for parties, and the host had accidentally broadcast all the headset audio to the neighbours. Myles and the rest were keeping them up late at night with our colourful commentary. We’re now in stitches.
Best. LAN party. Ever.
It’s almost time to get the Halo 3 crew back together again too. That’s gonna be so good on PC.
Virtual Richie B
My favourite gaming memory around the TV,
we recreate most summer eves, my family and me,
all of us joining in, controllers readily in hand,
together filled with happiness in our gaming wonderland!
You see… even at night with head on pillow,
what fills our dreams is leather on willow;
cricket truly is a family obsession,
played throughout summer without suppression!
And when the sun fades and indoors we come,
we’ll continue the action with fingers and thumbs;
“welcome back to the Lounge Cricket Ground”,
I’ll say and like Richie B. I’ll try to sound!
Then the on-screen battle fiercely begins,
as parents and kids strive for Ashes Cricket wins;
the children give as good as they get,
and the grown ups are made to work up a sweat!
So much fun, joy and laughter from this play,
memories are made and lived out every day,
not a mere ‘once off’, it’s even more than habitual,
indeed, it’s our ultimate family gaming ritual!
I realise this tradition the kids will someday outgrow,
but forever, these special times will leave a treasured glow…
‘Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust,
if mummy don’t get ya, daddy must’!!
Extra surprise points for being a modern cricket game and not something like Super International Cricket, which I was totally expecting.
“… it’s not a critical”
I was 9 and just got an N64 and Pokémon Stadium for xmas.
I didn’t know much about how Pokémon worked. I had only ever seen the anime and basically thought that anything Ash had was the best.
I was in a 6v6 lvl100 battle against a com. We were both down to our last Pokémon. I had Charizard (the GOAT), on 80hp, and it had a Gengar which was frozen from earlier.
Mum was watching me play while waiting for the News to start.
I thought it would be awesome to finish Gengar off with a big ol’ fire-blast and win in a blaze of glory.
Right before I picked fire-blast mum said ‘don’t do that, you’ll melt the purple thing and might lose’’.
I replied with a cocky ‘Yeah right, that’s not how it works’ and hit that C button arrogantly and said watch this.
Fire-blast hit… excellent!
Oh no… It’s not a critical, Gengar didn’t faint…
The announcer’s voice said something like ‘Oh! It thawed out’…
My heart started to race, but it’s okay, I’m faster, I’ve got this.
Next turn, I pick fire-blast again… Here comes the win!
Thawed-out Gengar uses night shade… never misses…
I looked at mum, switched off the Nintendo and ran to my room crying.
Mum changes channel just in time for the 7 o’clock news.
Right to the gut, this one.
When esports finally went mainstream
The League of Legends Worlds was streamed on Twitch during PAX Aus and was played at Hoyts across the road at Crown Casino. It went from midnight to dawn. I am a fan of LoL but had never really watched esports till that night. I had come to PAX in Melbourne alone (being from Sydney) and most of my friends at that time weren’t really gamers. I was pretty lonely.
What happened that night changed my life. I experienced an unbelievable show (best of 5 matches that ended with a 3-2 win to SKT T1) that played at a competitive level I had not imagined possible. I gained a life long love of e-sports. I experienced it with a packed audience that screamed and cheered the roof off. I shared comrarderie. And most importantly, I met new friends and my now best friend.
That night was a real turning point in my life where I went from feeling like a real loner (and TBH, a bit of a loser) to now being surrounded by people that I know accept and care about me. I am happier than I have been in years.
This is really sweet. I was talking to a mate the other day about when we went to one of the first Barcraft events in Sydney’s Circular Quay. We’d both been playing Counter-Strike together for years, and we had this almost surreal experience just turning around, watching everyone cheering. Was almost like we knew this day would come, where games would break through the rubicon. But to actually see it and experience that moment is another thing altogether.
Wii Sports casaulties
I was playing Wii Sports bowling with my younger brother years ago and all was going well until my brother decided that he did not need to use the wrist cord for his Wii remote.
As he swung his arm in a full rotation, I watched in slow motion, the Wii remote leaving his hand on full extension and sail directly at my step-dads 55 inch LG HDTV and smash into the top right hand corner as if shot from a crossbow.
The force of the bowl caused the Wii remote to stick out of the TV. I immediately started howling with laughter at the scene, however we both began to realise how much of our pocket money was about to be used to replace a broken television!
Seen this before, but usually with Wii Tennis. Christ I miss that game.
Halo takes over the local youth centre
When I was 12 I lived in a small town named Dampier in WA, my mate and I would bring our Xbox’s down to the youth centre every Thursday night. They had two old school, but big TVs there and we would play LAN together. We were the nerds, so we always got the TV room to ourselves.
But as more kids started hanging at the youth centre, they started to watch and wanted to play. We let them take turns, as we didn’t have any other controllers and neither did they. Eventually, we gave up trying to have a turn and it was just us setting up our Xbox’s every Thursday to watch them have fun.
One Thursday night, a few of the kids managed to convince their parents to buy some controllers, and all of a sudden we had enough for 4v4, which was INCREDIBLE for us. It got so popular there that all the other facilities (basketball court, arcade) became deserted. I think it was around 20-30 kids all crammed in inside (aged between 11-18 I think) just for Halo, which was originally, just for us nerds.
The Youth Centre was only open for 3 more nights after that.
But I thinking about it now, watching the cool kids have so much fun together playing Halo, that gaming isn’t a just a hobby, its a manifestation of joy that can break down social barriers that we didn’t know we had.
It was great.
That social element is something that so many people still don’t understand about gaming. They see it as a set of images moving on a screen, rather than a shared experience with friends. It’s those shared experiences that people carry through their lives, ones that stick with you until the end of time.
It’s why we keep doing this, day in and day out.
There are so many more memories that could be shared, but even posts like this must eventually come to an end. I honestly wish there was more we had to giveaway, more we could provide to say thanks for offering some of these truly special, touching moments of your lives.
But I will say this.
Something I get asked every now and again is to explain what gaming means to people. Why do people spend so much time playing video games? Why aren’t they watching TV? Doing something with friends?
It’s always a question with subtext. “Aren’t you losing something by spending your time with video games?” That’s the implication here, that gaming is a lesser form of entertainment, somehow a less legitimate enterprise than watching Kardashians or Married at First Sight.
What that question never understands is what’s truly possible in the world of video games. There’s an accessibility, a connectivity that playing sports, or going to the movies, or watching TV just doesn’t have.
You don’t get emergent stories watching reality TV with your friends. You can’t play a sport generations apart. The experience isn’t the same. It’s fleeting — which can make those moments in their own way, but it makes them more limited as well.
Gaming isn’t constricted by that. This is why gaming matters. It’s a cultural phenomenon that connects people in ways that simply was never possible before.
Thank you all for sharing your precious moments me, and everyone else.
We’ll be back later today with the winner of the LG 65-inch CX OLED competition.