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Comments Off Formative Gaming (3)


It’s been a while since my latest article in the series and, judging by my list of Things To Do, it’s probably going to be a while before I reach any conclusion. It’s not so much the amount of influential games but the lack of time to sit down and nail their importance in an honest yet fitting way. Regardless, here’s part 3 of Formative Gaming. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. Hope someone besides spam bots is enjoying.

The final gray stretch of the Callahan Bridge giving way into Staunton Island is usually calm, even when civil unrest is close by. I’m being chased by the FBI and the last minutes have seen me dodge against oncoming traffic in an effort to thwart off law enforcement. Of course, even infested with roadblocks the place is filled with incidental details worth seeing. People passing by, the sun setting, small traffic jams and –

Things get trickier when a Colombian gang member whips out his Uz-I and opens fire on my Cheetah, which suddenly bursts into flames. I barely have time to hit the brakes and run away before the sports car explodes. Officers swarm on my position with loud, chrome nightmares. Surrounded, I try to buy some time with my flamethrower and incinerate everything in a 360º degree arc. The moment of relief doesn’t last long when I notice I’ve just triggered the next alarm level. A tank comes around the corner.

It’s gonna be one of those days.

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Comments Off Formative Gaming (2)

What started out as a planned series of posts regarding the games that influenced me the most has dragged on for so long that it barely makes sense keep writing about them, or me. But trips down memory lane are always fascinating, even if just to understand how you’ve como to look at games and yourself. So here’s part 2 of Formative Gaming. You can still read part 1 here.

“Careful with what you wish – you just might get it”

That always seemed a weird adage to me until I started playing videogames seriously. Not seriously as in refrain from smiling when plonking down Goombas or stop from laughing as I kept hearing Ultrakills being announced, but playing them with determination. At some point, entertainment and personal investment got terribly close and I would spend days hunting for excitement in digital format. Secret stars, secret paths, secrets doors, secret techniques, secret places, secret thrills. They would all be mine.

I began to realize excitement is bankable. Some developers know this – they’ve been reinventing the webs of competition, success and peer pressure, from old arcade game score tables to achievements and online leaderboards. But excluding the occasional bragging rights when surviving – and scoring – longer than whoever played cooperatively with me in games like Contra, it was never something that I chased after. Some part of me wanted to find out why others enjoyed confrontation so much but having fun was a much more pressing concern than impressing or humbling adversaries.

Until the day my father picked up a gamepad and said “let’s win this”.

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2 Formative Gaming (1)

The coolest gang of british pubs, the folks behind Rock Paper Shotgun, have written over the last days a series of articles about formative gaming, all the games that contributed to them becoming gamers. Distinguishing our favorite games from those which influenced us the most is a good exercise and as such, I’ve decided to explore my past and will try to talk about the games that made me the kind of gamer I am today.

If all goes well, this article will be the first in a series.

The end of the game is well in sight. A series of careful jumps, inventory juggling and exploration landed me a trip out of the cursed island. Now the rickety boat that’s leaving towards the right side of the screen is the only thing that stands between me and freedom. I think about the implications. What if it disappears and doesn’t come back? Is this really the end? Did I forget something back there? But time is quickly running out and my uncertainty isn’t doing me any favors. I hit the Space key.


I barely have time to wipe the smile off my face when I realize I missed the boat and plummeted into the water – I let my confidence undermine all my hard work. This would be a good time to smash the keyboard, howl in frustration or mourn over the dozens deaths I have been through. Instead, I sit silently and watch as my corpse begins floating upwards. There is some warped sense of justice.

It was clearly the egg’s fault. He was rotten.

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