The different ways in which games have shaped our lives
To all of us here at Doublejump, and probably to all of you reading this, video games evolved from interactive toys to wonderful experiences that have made a significant impact on our lives. For this month’s collaborative effort, the Doublejump crew got together to write about everyone’s fondest gaming memories in this nostalgia-filled, starry-eyed flashback.
Abir: Battlefield 4 nights with the squad
There’s something to be said about enjoying good times with friends, especially when the activity you share is as fun and entertaining as a round of Battlefield 4. Hauling ass from point-to-point in Guilin Peaks and gunning down unsuspecting foes in Pearl Market with Adin, Michael, Shanu, and (sometimes) Andrew was a hell of a lot of fun.
Our squad often acted as a personified rallying cry for our team, as our unorganised colleagues would begin following our lead in making concerted efforts to capture certain points or to act as diversions for our assaults.
Needless to say, I really miss those Battlefield 4 nights with the Squad. I ventured alone into World War I’s battered fields and bombarded deserts in Battlefield 1, and it just did not feel the same without my squad mates. I hope that DICE’s upcoming Battlefield V evokes the same balance of modern weapons and skill that Battlefield 4 did, so that I can reunite my friends for some more multiplayer missions. I’ll see you on the battlefield once more, Squad.
Ayden: Playing Tekken 3 with my sisters
Tekken 3 was one of the main games I played as a child with my two sisters on my diligent and tireless Playstation 1. Through it, we were able to explore some of our natural and insurmountable sibling tensions; it brought us all closer together by allowing us to beat the living shit out of one another.
Whenever a new Tekken title is released, i think back to the good old times when simple disagreements could be vented and settled with a fist-fight between a Japanese cybernetic gangster and a tiger-faced wrestler, or a capoeira fighter and a pop idol. Tekken was the gateway to so many fun times spent gaming with the family; from taking turns on Crash Bandicoot 2 to eventually playing Midtown Madness 3 on the Xbox, it brought us all closer together and I’ll never forget that.
Cav: Playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic after my father died
To say that the death of a parent is a momentous occasion is simultaneously a truism, and not even close to conveying the impact of the moment. When my dad passed away in 2013, life basically stopped for a few months as my family and I gradually felt our way through enduring past the unthinkable.
Enter BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR), which released the day after his funeral. At first, still in a state of shock from the loss (and a pretty epic post-wake hangover) I couldn’t see how a mere video game could provide any kind of solace, even one as keenly-anticipated as this one.
Thankfully, BioWare had it covered. My love of Star Wars has always transcended mere nostalgia. As my first introduction to the power of myth, the franchise has grown, morphed and diverted just as I have as a person, serving as a constant source of inspiration in my life. Never has this been more crucial than at this time, with BioWare allowing me to inhabit this universe like I never had before, creating an island of sense in the tumultuous, fickle waters of life. Not a retreat, but a place for me to disassociate myself from the painful, confusing events around me, helping me begin to unpick and process my grief.
The KOTOR series has continued to be good to me, with a hugely underrated sequel and a late-blooming MMO coming later. Neither of those games, however, have achieved what that first game did. It was a refuge, a place of peace, and kept me together at a time when my world felt like it was coming apart. That’s what many people miss when they criticise games for being a form of escape. Sometimes escapism isn’t always about a place to hide, but a place to recover, to rebuild. Sometimes, it’s the greatest gift to mental health you could need at times when reality is just too crushing for one heart to carry unassisted, and can bring inspiring memories even at the worst times.
Damon: Social Warfare 2 in High-School
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is essentially what solidified me as a hardcore gamer. I was in the middle of high school when it was released and it was all the rage for everyone — and I do mean everyone — at my school. I have such fond memories of Modern Warfare 2 specifically because it feels like the pinnacle of not only Call of Duty as a series, but of my online gaming experience. I still remember how keen I was to get home every night after school just to jump on Call of Duty; there would be 8–10 of us in a single Xbox Live party chat, just hanging out, talking shit and trying to outdo each other, to the point where it was a social event that you just couldn’t miss.
The game certainly had its flaws — most significantly in terms of balancing — but it had a jaw-dropping campaign and arguably the best multiplayer maps the series has ever seen (outside of the original Nuketown, of course). The maps were so fun and memorable that I can still name every last one ten years later, which isn’t something I can say for any other game, let alone a Call of Duty. Hell, I can even remember the vast majority of the weapons and perks off the top of my head (including the nightmarish Akimbo Model 1887s with Commando Pro).
It could just be nostalgia that’s leaving such a great impression of the game on me, but outside of Pokémon it really was my quintessential gaming experience. Ten years later, I still haven’t ever seen as many people in a PSN or Xbox party since Modern Warfare 2, and I’ve never spent as much time on a game with my friends as I did on Modern Warfare 2 — hell, I still occasionally pick it up to play with friends. Yes, I still suck at it, and yes, it’s still just as awesome.
Emily: Playing Ocarina of Time with my brother
My favourite gaming memories always, always involved my brother, Dan. As a child, I enjoyed sitting with him and watching him play through Resident Evil 3, Banjo-Kazooie, The Sims, and so many more games, but the best part of it all was annoying the hell out of him while he was playing, because that’s what younger siblings do.
The best and earliest memory I have of gaming with my brother was watching him play through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which I still play on my Nintendo 64 to this day. It was also the first video game I ever played myself. I loved the adventure of exploring Hyrule, meeting (and destroying) its inhabitants, and finally defeating the evil Ganondorf; funnily enough, though, my first playthrough didn’t happen in that order.
The first time I played Ocarina of Time, I simply loaded up my brother’s save and killed Ganondorf over and over again, which was so satisfying for young Emily but so frustrating for Dan, who’d always tell me I wasn’t playing it right; deep down, he didn’t mind, because his sister was enjoying herself. When I finally did play through it properly, I had Dan there to help me through the more difficult parts of the game, which was a wonderful experience that led to so many more like it. Like Ayden above and Jake and Natalie below, video games helped bring my family closer, and that’s something I’ll never forget.
Jake: The big test of endurance
Gran Turismo 2 felt well and truly ahead of its time. With an incredible selection of cars and tracks, a brilliant soundtrack, stunning graphics (for its time, of course), and so many different things to do, it came as no surprise back then — and still to this day — that it was released to universal critical and public acclaim. Sure, being well before the days of the day-one update, it had its fair share of bugs and glitches for players to contend with, but it was a phenomenal title that came recommended to any gamer, regardless of whether they were motorsport fans or not.
My father is a huge, huge motorsport fan. He’s also the person I credit with getting me into video games in the first place, so playing Gran Turismo 2 together was a no-brainer; doing literally everything there was to do on that game together, however, was quite unexpected. By the time we were done with Gran Turismo 2 (we moved on to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit), we’d collected every car, earned every license and won every race — including those dastardly, brutal endurance races that took hours at a time, during which we’d even have to leave the PlayStation on while Dad was called out to work.
Gran Turismo 2 wasn’t the first game Dad and I played together — that honour goes to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — but having played it together in its entirety, with my mother and sibling joining us at times as well, it was absolutely the one I remember most fondly. We still talk about those “enduros” whenever we see the PlayStation at our beach house, and it created a tradition, really, that has seen me bonding with so much of my immediate and extended family through gaming. I genuinely can’t thank video games enough for the part they’ve played in building so many wonderful family relationships.
Now, if only I could ever beat Mum at Tetris…
Natalie: Bonding with my brother
When it comes to gaming, my greatest memories simply can’t be narrowed down into one singular experience. A variety of snippets come together to produce what was perhaps the best part of my childhood, yet they all encompass the same elements, and that was bonding with, and occasionally (metaphorically) kicking my loved ones’ asses.
My passion for gaming was born on one particularly fateful night when I was merely eight-years-old and playing The Simpsons Hit & Run on PlayStation 2 with my younger brother, Luke. As a kid — and even now — I never did well with the whole ‘horror’ scene; Kang and Kodos gave me the creeps, seeing cartoon heads get ripped off freaked me out, and zombies were just a no-go zone. Well, the final level of the game took place in a Halloween-ish version of Springfield, rather than the average suburban world from the previous levels. Imagine how well I dealt with that. That was when Luke, who was always eager to prove that he could do something I couldn’t, would step in and save the day. Just picture a small, five-year-old boy in a Spiderman costume swaggering in, ready to beat Principal Skinner back to Springfield Elementary School. That was him.
As the years progressed, Luke and I picked up a variety of games to taunt my sister with — she wasn’t the competitive type — and he continued to play saviour when my (very particular set of) skills just couldn’t quite reach the requirements for a specific mission or boss fight. Of course, there came a point where I grew up, got better and didn’t need my little brother to save my ass — and let’s be real here, that was all thanks to spending hours on Over the Hedge and Buzz Jungle Party — but I honestly enjoyed it when he did.
Siblings, especially brothers and sisters, tend to drift apart as time goes by. They develop different interests, hobbies, beliefs, and circles of friends, and it can be hard to maintain that connection. Luke is a nineteen-year-old Fortnite-obsessed kinda guy now, whereas I’m more into MMORPGs, but we still find ourselves not only reminiscing on the games of our childhood, but also excitedly discussing the future of gaming, comparing consoles (we have a PlayStation vs. Xbox relationship), and tagging each other in dope memes.
Rhys: Being introduced to Dungeons and Dragons
I’ve always had an over-active imagination and often find myself daydreaming about a grand adventure involving characters that I created in a world I built from scratch. As such, it’s genuinely surprising that I never played Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) until I was 21, when I was introduced to it by former Doublejump General Manager Alex O’Neill. Since those first sessions back in 2016, I’m perfectly fine with admitting that I’ve let D&D consume a pretty major part of my life, and it’s not just because of the freedom of choice and imagination that the game grants its players.
D&D is the epitome of a social game, with my current group meeting weekly to adventure through the world of Hyrule (Alex’s chosen setting), and I know that the friendships within that group — be they new or old — are stronger than they’ve ever been. It’s also introduced me to the Critical Role webseries, in which a bunch of voice actors play D&D; the welcoming community that emerged from that series is one that I won’t be leaving any time soon, and the 127 3–4 hour episode run it’s on is just incredible. Some of my fondest memories and friendships have come from Dungeons and Dragons, and it’s given me another avenue to express my imagination and love for storytelling.
A bit of a more personal twist to this month’s collaboration, but it’s one that we feel has made for an awesome read! We’d love to hear your fondest memories of video games as well, so please feel free to leave a comment below!