Childhood games

The first experience of technology could vary from person to person. Commonly different experiences people have depending on their demographics or generational group. I can differently remember my favourite experiences at the beginning of digitalisation.

The first time I worked on a computer was in 1999, in a computer class for eight years old kids. It was a curious, somehow natural and at the same time mesmerising experience. Everything was in English, so the teacher had to fly around the room and help out the lost kids. The actual games I can’t find, unfortunately. They were probably part of an educational package that back then came with a physical object a floppy disc or a CD, and you had to install it.

The one I remember most was a game on the same principle as Deliver Pro. A conveyor type where the objects coming in had their names lower on the screen, and we had to match the objects to the words in English. Language learning applications these days are working on a very similar principle still.

The games played at school were very tame and primarily educational. The exciting part came when I was old enough to attend a Computer Club, which was around 13 years old. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Computer clubs were the places where people were going to use PCs to play computer games like Counter-Strike, Quick, and Need for Speed and use chat and email given that they were not available all the time. Nothing like you can imagine, it was a filthy place filled with sweaty, screaming teenagers, and creeps smoking cigarettes. Nothing more nothing less.

Need For Speed Underground by EA, was my first actual, long-term encounter with a computer game. I was so hooked to the adrenaline this game was bringing I was going almost every second day to play after school. I was not speaking English yet, so whenever I was in trouble, I had to ask the guy taking the money (per hour for the use of the PC) to come and help me out. It was an excellent stimulus to learn the language.

The incredible thing about this kind of game was the music. Pop music for this time was also included in the game’s soundtrack. It added a whole another layer to the experience. I was so impressed that further on in life when GTI became a thing and also pulled out a fantastic soundtrack, even though I was not a fan of the race, I still played the games.

The other game that shaped my whole being, I would say, is DIABO II by Blizzards which was remastered in 2021 FOR A GOOD REASON. This epic RPG game stays very dear to my heart even today when I can play it in the comfort of my own home and on a Nintendo Switch. Again, the most incredible soundtrack ( no wonder I became a musician) and an enchanting story, great mechanics and character development. There are also the books written inside the world.

The unique thing about playing Computer Games back in the 2000s was the collective experience. At the time, when online servers were not as developed to play a game together, we had to create a local server via LAN cables. This makes the whole experience an event of significant importance and long duration.

I keep this tradition of the all-night game night now and then. Embracing my 13 years old by slaying monsters all night and drinking cola to keep me alive. A small token of nostalgia.