Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VIII, video game, box art, faces

Games that defined my way of life

Terry from gamingatheart has written his first contribution for us! Here he discusses those classic games which have left a lasting impression on him.

Terry, face, glasses, beard, contributor

Contributor overview
Website: gamingatheart
Description: From before fond memories of Alex Kidd and Kid Chameleon, Terry has had a biological need for gaming in his life. Nowadays an eclectic mix of genres now fills his time, even if RPGs and MMOs keep a very special place in his heart – and beard.

Terry says…

There’s nothing wrong with loving a whole load of games and a melody of genres probably makes up the collection of many, depending on what mood you fancy. But there are those that simply make you tick, that as soon as you see or get your mitts on know that reality will fall away as you tumble into something that will consume many hours to come. There are those titles that define us, that will forever bring a sense of nostalgia just by seeing or hearing it again. For me, these are those games that defined my ‘way of life’.

Final Fantasy VIII:

Name: Final Fantasy VIII
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square
Release date: February 1999
PEGI rating: 16
Genre: RPG
Platforms: PC, PlayStation
More information: Final Fantasy Wiki

The only one I actually completed and even though Final Fantasy IX took over 120 hours, VIII was probably the first big RPG I spent hours into the night playing. Released in 1999 it had a lot to live up to with Final Fantasy VII being such a big milestone in gaming history. From the free-roaming ability to having awesome weapons like the gunblade (Lionheart anyone?) it hit all the buttons for my early pubescent years. And the cut scenes were a pure delight with the final space scene, including the soundtrack, instilling that sense of completion achievement I’ll never leave behind.

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Name: Half-Life
Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve
Release date: November 1998
PEGI rating: 16
Genre: Shooter
Platforms: Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 2
More information: Half-Life Wiki

When a theoretical theorist turned action hero by the name of Gordan Freeman becomes one of the few survivors of an experiment in a secret lab, what is there not to love?

This wasn’t the first first-person shooter (FPS) I played, but it may have been the first I played on my PC – the heap of junk it was back then with its 256MB of ram. This was one of those games that paved the way for its predecessors; the story depth was layered so well even the science-fiction nature of it, pushing the boundaries of how real it could be, scared the bejesus out of me at times. This was mainly down to the entire title being from the viewpoint of Freeman – all the scripted scenes, all the conversations. You were Gordan from the start to end, through the labs to a teleportation to an alien planet. Simply awesome – and the long-awaited sequel did a similar job at breaking rules!

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Dungeon Siege


Name: Dungeon Siege
Developer: Gas Powered Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release date: April 2002
PEGI rating: 12
Genre: RPG
Platforms: Mac, PC
More information: Dungeon Siege Wiki

A Dungeon Siege wallpaper was possibly my first ever desktop background – that I can remember at least. Released in 2002, this RPG was another of my early PC gaming experiences and an early third-person RPG that most follow today.

This time it’s a farmer, not a scientist, so the chances of being transported to an alien planet is instead replaced with bumping into a fellow farmer needing help along your story. Farm-sized arachnids do make a guest appearance. Experience, gear, potions: it was all here with yet another example of seamless play and no loading – what every new release seems to struggle with these days. It was an open-world game with the odd bit of humour and it just tickled me pink.

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Unreal Tournament:

Name: Unreal Tounament
Developer: Epic Games and Digital Extremes
Publisher: GT Interactive
Release date: November 1999
PEGI rating: 16
Genre: Shooter
Platforms: Dreamcast, Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 2
More information: Official website

Another PC FPS and my first ever experience of a LAN centre when I was 14, but what this brought to the table was a competitive multiplayer experience. The whole game is based around multiplayer action with some bot rounds to help practice with or if your dial-up connection was taking longer than it’s usual 20 minutes to connect.

Although the original was fantastic, my fonder memories were of the 2003 edition. Other than a massive graphic and mechanic overhaul the highlight of the title was the announcer for the characters. It was just hilarious and ‘Mr Crow’ and ‘Romulus’ became a regular call sign for a college mate and I. I watched the video below and the juice in my mouth at the time only just missed my laptop after hearing it for the first time in ten years or so – blimmin’ priceless!

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Halo Wars:

Name: Halo Wars
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release date: February 2009
PEGI rating: 16
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: Xbox 360
More information: Official website

Jumping forward a little but also to get a strategy game in the mix, Halo Wars has become one of those new-age cult title. Set in the Halo universe 21 years before Master Chief’s first appearance, the detail in keeping to the original story and a few familiar faces alongside some impressive cutscenes make this one of my all-time played games. Real-time strategy (RTS) had been tried on consoles before but the controls were both easy to learn, impressive to master and fantastic to battle with.

What was so surprising to me is that there never seemed to be that many players online when on the Xbox 360, but now that backwards compatibility has announced its arrival (even though it has been delayed!), the request votes have reached about 50,000 which is a ridiculous comparison to the 2,000 players maximum I probably ever saw on the multiplayer. You can pick up a copy from eBay for around Β£5 at the moment and if you’re interested, the long-awaited (on my behalf) sequel is released later this year – developed by Creative Assembly, the guys that brought us the Total War series.

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That’s not it of course: there are plenty of others to ramble on about such as an Endless Setlist Achievement or progressive raiding on World of Warcraft – that will need a whole article of its own – but these games have created fond memories that will stay with me forever.

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5 thoughts on “Games that defined my way of life”

  1. FFVIII was awesome – loved the junctioning system. It was super well thought out, if a tad tricky to get into! FFIX was a game that defined me – I try to take Zidanes motto into my every day life, seriously~ πŸ™‚

    Unreal Tourny rocks! Simple, easy, no fuss FPS with some of the best arena action. Love it!

    Great article ^_^


  2. Thanks Tim!
    Yeah, I loved 9 too and again, the cutscenes were so gorgeous it really made you connect with the characters.

    Unreal was just so good at so many levels. I saw that they’re remaking the original too which could be pretty sweet, especially if they move over to the consoles too – a definite buy for me.

    Many thanks πŸ˜€


  3. I must have lost so many hours playing LAN matches of UT with my friends. All Hail the Flak Cannon and its smiley face projectiles!

    FF8 is the only Final Fantasy for which I still have the original disks. I had to leave them behind during my last move but they’re in safe hands until they’re back in my posession. I dug the story and most of all the storytelling/plot effect of using the Guardian Forces. It was a fantastic union of gameplay and story. Also, Liberi Fatali, that opening, is AWESOME!

    Still, FF6 is my favourite πŸ™‚

    Did you ever play System Shock 2? I played it before I ever did Half Lfe. Maybe tha’s why I like hybrid games πŸ™‚

    Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! Sorry for my bad english, I’m learning and I make some mistakes yet.

    Yeah, it’s true. There are some games that mark our hearts and lives. I love Final Fantasy VIII too, that game is pure art, pure love. I’ve been playing six months ago and I was delighted by the story, characters and its world.

    Half Life is amazing too. The atmosphere is like a horror film mixed with scifi. One of the best things is what you have said about to be Gordon Freeman every moment in the game. It’s like to live the experience on our own (I don’t know if I wrote well xD, sorry).

    I haven’t played Dungeon Siege, but I saw it many years ago and I liked his visual design. Your post cheered me to try it. I’ll try to get it and play it.



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