Have you ever had such a desire to play a video game that to soak up every column inch of information and to repeatedly tap F5 on the developer’s blog is simply not a good enough fix?
That need eventually becomes a permanent itch, where the first thing you do at 6am as the alarm sounds isn’t to say good morning to your partner/girlfriend/lover/cat/other, but is instead to leap onto the computer and check the latest forum posts and news threads for any potentially new information you can get your hands on.
You’ve experienced this you say? Oh good, read on then.
There have been very few games over the course of my gaming life that have gripped me in this way. Many have given me a tickle of excitement and countless have been desirable, but only a handful have had a magnetism so powerful it becomes an all encompassing obsession. When I was younger the draw of screenshots for an up and coming title was seemingly much more important than any written content (although it must be said CVG and GamesMaster were hardly heavy on the word count). Now though, while screenshots are still the visual nectar everyone craves when bitten by the bug, without in-depth accompanying written content, it simply becomes a tease to further drive the hordes of like minded obsessives wild.
In our mind-bank of games played, craved and ignored, the images can flicker through like Polaroid snaps, yet to pluck one out and say “Yes, I was obsessed with that game” is a hard task indeed. If you think hard enough there will be certain key games that jump out at you, whether they’re still in development or not (see Dwarf Fortress or Revenge of the Titans).
It wouldn’t take a genius to realise most of mine have been massively multiplayer online games, specifically Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2. But, the first game I truly I became obsessed with before and long after it’s release was Pokémon Red. I was so obsessed in fact, that I used to carry a Pokémon bible with me everywhere. It was a guide filled with every map, Pokémon, moves list and item that the game had to offer, but had been used and abused for such a long period of time that it was held together with duct tape and luck alone. I still begrudge handing it down to my younger cousin to carry on the mantle. He just didn’t appreciate it like I did.
So my question to you is, what games in the past have had you hooked up to a drip and which are currently making you tap the F5 key day and night?
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For me it’s often sequels. Especially when I was a kid – Zelda 2, Mega Man 2, those in particular. Both were delayed for long periods and my childish enthusiasm was really more than I was able to contain. Plus, since it was Before Internet, I had to depend on Nintendo Power magazine for all my updates. It was horrible.
I’m currently free of obsession, but I’m sure that will change soon…
Free of Obsession Steerpike? I’m honestly surprised! Not one game is making you twitch with excitement? 🙂
(Oh and check your emails ;))
The first was Fallout: Tactics. I was 11-13 years old during my tenure as one of the most vocal and active members of the game’s pre-release community, a thriving conglomerate of viciously opposed clans and original Fallout forum communities, including Vault 13 and No Mutants Allowed.
I joined first a clan of five people with a site that was functionally a black background with some low quality jpgs on it. They were named ‘The Road Raiders’ and were led by a mentally retarded Finn named Jussi Rytkonen. We didn’t get on well. I had ambitions, he had the word lol and a tendency to wander off in the middle of conversations, apparently distracted by the invisible doctors.
My travels took me through a long and illustrious career with The Black Company, the most motivated, militaristically organised and beautifully presented gaming organisation I have ever witnessed – then in bad blood on to their mortal enemies, The Khans, who in some form still persist today I believe, over a decade later.
I spent over a year of my life among 35 year old Gulf War veterans and crazed scifi authors chatting and planning every night while downloading -every screenshot ever released- in order to use LivePix to cut and paste pieces of them into different configurations, effectively creating ‘new’ screenshots to thrill the other lunatics.
It was 2001, don’t judge us.
I spent the rest of my time downloading pictures of dead bodies and turning them into propaganda posters parodising and viciously threatening other clans.
I was banned from an IRC chatroom for throwing imaginary molotov cocktails at Fallout: Tactics’ Art Director during a live developer chat.
… my memories frighten me, Lewis. Why did you have to bring back the past? ._.
Pre-release communities seem to have died down since them old days. And we don’t get excited by screenshots like we used to – now it’s gameplay leak videos or nuttin.
But no, there’s nothing anymore. Nothing for many years. I’ve been trying to find some excitement for Guild Wars 2 in the last few days, and felt a shadow of the thrill for all of three seconds after reading the Necromancer Reveal article. There was one last surge of interest a year or two back for Darkfall. We don’t talk about that anymore.
Check the Frequency, Kenneth for a thread on a similar note earlier this afternoon.
I try not to entertain pre-release hype because it only unrealistically raises my expectations. I am British and as such I crave disappointment but there’s only so much disappointment I can handle.
Dwarf Fortress and Revenge of the Titans were two of the examples I threw at Lew with regards to games that have been ‘released’ but are still in a state of development flux. I was obsessed with Dwarf Fortress for about a year despite not playing it for more than two days. I love it from a distance and until the UI and controls get streamlined I’m quite happy to do so.
Although I’ve got to say I can’t wait for Dead State and Brink. I loved Quake Wars and Brink looks like a mash up of it and Mirror’s Edge with a peppering of TF2’s distinctly shaped characters. Dead State looks like it’ll scratch that zombie survival horror itch I’ve had for all these years.
Lewis has been tapping repeatedly. Har har!
I’ve loved a lot of games…legitimate obsession, however…I don’t think that happened for me until Diablo 2. If there is an invisible space clock being kept somewhere by invisible pink unicorns I think it would tell you I’ve spent more hours with D2 than any other game for sure. I honestly don’t know what else comes close. Perhaps Worms 2 or NHL 95.
I’m glad all games don’t track hours played. I fear that number.
In terms of pure obsession, Pokemon is probably the big one for me too. I also had Red, but the obsession went way beyond the games. Pokemon trading cards pretty much became a currency in school, traded for other cards or just your lunch.
In terms of pre-release hype? Gran Turismo 5 has had me by the bollocks for 5 whole years until release last year, to the point where I could never truly enjoy the PS3 as a console until this final piece of it’s pre-launch puzzle was fitted in. Now I can finally enjoy the PS3 as a system knowing that every major franchise from my childhood has appeared on it in some form or another. Everything from this point on is a lovely bonus.
My pre launch PS2 hype was pretty bad, too. I had several huge guides, pre order bonus booklets etc, magazine subscriptions all before it even launched. I was stoked as hell for that.
Funny you wrote about this topic, as I was thinking about which games had the most impact on me just the other day.
Civilization and Civilization II
System Shock 2
Myth and Myth II
Team Fortress 2
Heroes of Might and Magic III
Medieval 2: Total War
There’s probably more, but there’s what’s coming easy, for what it’s worth.
How could I forget Descent: Freespace and Freespace 2? Gripping storyline, beautiful graphics, awesome gameplay–it had everything.
I started getting into consoles pretty late, with the original playstation as my first. The games I waited agonisingly over the most were those that I wanted new consoles for.
I remember clearly Shadows of the Empire on N64. Man, I thought it was going to blow me away. It was to be my flagship N64 purchase.
And after that, Deathrow and Munch’s Oddysey, two maiden voyagers on the good ship Xbox.
They were both games that I knew I wanted well in advance, enough to download wallpaper after wallpaper, and to read every review I could.
Actually now you mention it Jarrod I think me and Lew were like two N64 Kids who never got their N64. We so desperately wanted one but we couldn’t afford it with our pocket money savings. In the end we got a Playstation for Christmas after a friend showed us Tomb Raider, Resident Evil and Wipeout and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tomb Raider on the original PS was a real eye opener – it certainly seemed like one of the hugest games ever, with its sprawling dungeons/tombs. Certainly enough to tempt any kid with =)
I never understood the appeal of Tomb Raider. I think I was spoiled for games early – I was lucky enough to be young enough that the parents could shell out, and old enough to dominate the debate with my little sister so that we’d vote ‘unanimously’ on our ‘big shared gift’ for Christmas – so I had GoldenEye and Shadows of the Empire to play with, which made most playstation games look small, weak and quite detestable. Then we acquired a PC, and I found Grand Theft Auto, Unreal, and Fallout.
I don’t think Lara really ever had a chance. Even when I was on the PS1, I was more than satisfied by Gex 3 and Future Cop LAPD ^^
I just remember trying it once, witnessing a human enemy running back and fore firing a pistol the size of his own ribcage into the air with a ridiculous waving motion, and all of the bullets fired into the sky inexplicably perforating me as I swam in a pool beneath him, as though they were ricocheting off passing woodpigeons. Never again did I make the attempt.
I’ve anticipated (feverishly I might add) many, many games in my gaming life, but I’ve never been one to check for daily updates on these titles, or scramble for every morsel of info, screenshot, or video.
Once I know enough about a title and my mind is made up that I want it, the wait absolutely kills me, but I also want to go into the experience as fresh as possible so I shy away from getting too much info on it.
From experience, I’ve had many surprises spoiled because of following a game a bit too closely pre-release.
I can totally relate to you there tanis.
Hey Tanis, does your name reference the Dragon Lance book series?
Leave Mr Half-elven alone =P
I have to admit that I’m starting to get excited about Skyrim, and I’ve been keeping my eyes out for screens and videos, and ‘liked’ their Facebook page…
It’ll be a long wait until November.
Dragons of Autumn Twilight was the first novel I ever read. I was probably 9 or 10 years old, and still not great with English comprehension. Took me 4 months to read it all.
Seeing the name just brought back a flood of memories. I hadn’t thought about it in years.