About Me - I have been involved with videogames ever since 1982, as I went from classic Game&Watch gaming to my first home console in Christmas 1984 : an Atari 2600!
Actually, I must say that it was more of a family appliance than a game console exclusively for me :) I remember playing games of Phoenix, Pac-Man and Defender with my dad and my sister and I also remember being the youngest and worst player of the bunch! In these early days, the world of videogames was opening up to me and everything I played seemed unbelievable. Through time, my Dad and my Sister abandoned gaming altogether since for them it had just been a short parenthesis while on the contrary, my passion for digital entertainment never really faded as I switched to classic personal computer gaming with the Commodore 128, and its eliterian 5"1/4 disk drive.
Compared to the expensive Atari cartridges, C-64/128 software was incredibly cheaper also because one could find tons of pirated software anywhere. Games usually sold into huge compilation tapes or disks and the names of the games were almost always altered (see my Camelot Warriors review for more on that). Gems like Doctor Who and the Mines of Terror, Denaris, Savage, Zamzara, Defender of the Crown, Barbarian and Barbarian II among others reinforced my passion for the machine.
Later on, it was already 1990 and my best friend got himself an Amiga 500, with jaw dropping games such as Space Ace, Dragon's Lair, Menace and Rocket Ranger. I must admit that after witnessing the "arcade-like" graphics and incredible music and sound-effects of the above mentioned games, I basically turned green of envy (humans are baaaad). I just could not accept the fact that my recent acquisition (C-128) was already so obsolete!
In typical teenager fashion, I always would look on the back of multi-format games such as Turrican, Cybernoid II or R-type and I would compare the screenshots of the 2 versions, trying to convince myself that the c64 version was Amiga-like :) After that, the inevitable happened. It was my turn to get Commodore's powerhouse. Piracy was still very much spread at that time and although I preferred always to get original games, It sometimes happened I could not get a hold of them so I had to resort to pirated software on occasion. These were days where the action adventure fantasy or sci-fi themed games were fashionable so I was the happiest gamer since it's my all time favorite genre! Anyone remembers the likes of Sword of Sodan, Shadow of the Beast, Jim Power, Unreal, Wrath of the Demon and the king of them all: Lionheart ? The passion I have for multi-layered parallax scrolling action adventure games is beyond repair. I understand most of them were unplayable demos but nevertheless, they were technical achievements that have hardly been reproduced on any other gaming platform (possibly with the exception of the underrated Shapeshifter on Duo).
Following this period, I was attracted back to console gaming and I received for christmas (again!) a Megadrive with a bundled copy of Altered Beast (which I unashamedly played to oblivion with my friends). Then followed a Super Famicom with Super Castlevania IV and Chomakaimura (SGNG), a Game Gear, a Neo Geo home system with Magician Lord and Crossed Swords, a Super Gun with Knights of the Round, the King of Dragons, 3Wonders and Nastar (I didn't know anything about Nastar, except that it was Rastan's sequel...), a Sega CD with...hum...Sewer Shark, a used CD32 with many games for dirt cheap, an Amiga 1200 taking advantage of Commodore's offer (turn in your A500 and you get a huge rebate for purchasing an A1200). I kept accumulating games and systems until 1995, year where I felt I was literally done with games and I decided to trade in everything (except for the Super Gun, the Atari stuff and the other few gaming machines I had previously sold which anyway weren't many) to get myself a brand new Japanese Playstation which at the time costed an arm and a leg and which I thought I would use on rare occasions. I was fed up wih games that looked all the same plus, I thought I was gonna get out of gaming for good.
Toshinden, Ridge Racer, Tekken and Philosoma convinced me to do otherwise plus they seemed to have been a good reason enough to get rid of my collection. 3D gaming was good, and for a time, it satisfied me. Shortly after, I inexplicably decided to trade my PS for a SS with Golden Axe the Duel...Golden Axe has always been a favorite of mine, but I sure wasn't expecting such a lame game! Could it be that I was having a "2D withdrawal"? In early 1996, I was striving to get my old systems back.What was happening? I thought I was through this! But I just couldn't resist! Taking advantage of the fact that many people were trading in their old gaming systems and games to get the "new" 32 bit machines, I slowly got back many 8bit and 16 bit machines. I also felt like exploring the Pc-Engine scene, since it had already by then reached its cult status, and it was something I didn't know anything about. A used Turbo Duo with Devil Crash and Dracula X among other titles seemed to be a good start.
After that, I started looking at other games (and consoles) that I never heard of, games that were considered legendary. Games that represented the pinnacle of videogaming, games that any serious gamer should at least play once. And that's what pushed me first to expand my horizon to exotic stuff like the Marty or the LaserActive and then to create this website. I think that in this young industry, memory and recollection of forgotten treasures must be carried on to give more dignity to our favorite past time. A past time that transcends its initial purpose of being an entertainment medium and becomes an expression of Art.
As of me, I have often asked myself if I lean more towards gaming or collecting. Frankly, I think that being so enthusiastic as a gamer made me want to walk the collector's path rather than the other way around. There is something intrinsically cool about playing a game on its original format. That explains why I bothered getting into pcbs (printed circuit boards) for instance. There is something magical about how all this works. A bunch of electric signals generated by chips and CPUs give birth to outstanding graphics and sound effects. Random pixels suddenly acquire a shape and often give birth to something similar to beautifully animated paintings. I hook up my all time favorite arcade game Rastan Saga and while the magic is taking place, I put my hand on the warm board, feeling the heat generated by the Motorola 68000 and all of its little helpers. I can almost "hear" its huge effort in trying to deliver the vision that the programmers, the designers, the music composers all had. And then I say to myself: look at the amount of chips and silicon they had to use to create a side-scrolling 2D platformer...Times change, technology changes and gamers change. But does that mean that we can live in blissful ignorance of how all came to be?