Who Am I, Where Am I And Why Do I Feel This Way?
First of all, let me start by answering those three questions. I am Greywolfe. I write opinion pieces and reviews – mostly about old games. Where am I? Well, you can find me here, quite obviously, but I also run a Let’s Play channel over on Youtube and I have a Twitter account where you can contact me.
The real question, of course, is why do I feel this way?
The Saga Begins
I don’t remember where I played my first video game and – as this is some thirty five years ago, now, I don’t really remember which game it was [though it was probably Asteroids or Space Invaders] but the second my eyes made contact with those pixelated ships and their plight unfolded before me, I knew I was sold on this new form of entertainment.
My fondness for video games – and video game culture along with it – has grown over the years into a grand hobby that I pursue and enjoy alongside other media that sort of ties into my gaming side. I’ve loved board, card and mind games for the longest time and many of the games I adore have fantasy or science fiction roots. Likewise, I greatly enjoy reading, movies and music. While my music tastes veer away from science fiction and fantasy, [because there really isn’t a lot of that and most of the stuff I’ve stumbled across seems a little twee] all of it ties together in a great, big whole.
I got my first real home computer in 1983 in the form of a Spectravideo Home Computer. I also had access to an Atari 2600, so my gaming formative years were spent in a little bit of a tussle: while the 2600 was mostly hassle free, the computer could do so many more things that – in the end, I became a lifelong fan of personal computers and have stayed that way ever since.
I was finally sold on this idea when I saw my first IBM PC – a computer that – ostensiably – could do it all: play games, track your finances, write your letters – it seemed like a world I wanted to live in. True, the games looked primitive back then, sporting four [or sometimes sixteen] colours, and yes, PC speaker music absolutely made my ears bleed, but what I gave up in terms of presentation, I got back in terms of complexity.
We got adventure games aplenty – moody text-or-graphics based story-games in which you navigated a protagonist around a collection of puzzles that you had to solve using your wits and keen observation alone. We also had hardcore RPG games – games that didn’t think twice about killing you on the next-to-last floor of the final dungeon in the game with no hope of redemption unless you’d made a backup party.
And all these games required thought and planning – something that seemed rather at odds with the console experience, which seemed to reward very visceral play – jump here! collect a hundred of these things! The red stuff is fire, don’t fall in!
Kansas Just Went Bye-Bye
As gaming began to come of age, the landscape of gaming began to change in irrevocable ways that I wasn’t crazy about. We started seeing the words Microtransaction slotted into every other PR blurb. The future was going to be digital and in this digital future you would have no rights as a customer. And these things started slowly steering me toward indie and less mainstream games, because those games still wanted to be for the fans. Often, too, they were made by the fans.
It didn’t really help that the golden age of adventure gaming was over – the press having pronounced “Adventure games dead or dying” in 1998 or so.
So, now, I have developed a fondness for small-scale gaming that takes the kind of risks that AAA-gaming refuses to even try.
This is the kind of thing I write about – for the most part – well, that and super old games that I’ve either gone back to play as an adult or encountered during my youth.
We’ve Only Just Begun
I rather hope that you and I will have a great time together, discussing both games of old and indie games anew – games that have formed our idea of how things should be, but also games that can shape what might happen next.
To that end, I am looking forward to sharing my writing with you.
Fonts for images came from the Open Font Library
In particular, I used:
Crystal by Felipe Munoz
Hi by Mew Too and Robert Jablonski
Pictures of games, et al were either captured or snagged from the internet.