Hello dear readers. Some of you may know me from my stream on Twitch, some of you may have only heard of me, but I guarantee that none of you actually know me. I am the infamous Tronic20. My dear friends here at GSC approached me to write game reviews for their site. My initial reaction to this proposal was F*%K yeah!!
However, upon reflection, I quickly pondered who would care about what I had to say about a game?!?! Who the am I? So with that in mind, I wrote this piece to give you fine people an idea of where my opinions and background in gaming comes from. So lets get started shall we?
My love of gaming was instilled in me at quite an early age, and mostly handed down to me by my father. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of playing with my father’s Pong Machine. We’re talking like 1979 at this point. Yours truly, less than a year old, already obsessed with this crazy mechanism attached to an old school console TV set by insane wires and adapters. These are my roots, my gaming foundation if you will. My old man, a federal agent, a gamer?!?! Insanity.
Soon afterward, I remember my old man purchasing an Intellivision game system. Being about 2 years old at the time, this device was simply mind blowing. It was very similar to the Atari system but not nearly as well known. This is where my love for the underdog was born, as well as my introduction to console gaming. It would become my entertainment for the next 5 years and it was nothing short of fantastic. No save features, no memory, just pure balls-to-the-wall fun! I’m sure some of you might be familiar with a handful of the titles: Asteroids, Space Hawk, etc. My pops spared no expense. I think we probably had 100 of the 152 lifetime titles released for the system!
I remember vividly, my father coming home from a long day of work, shedding his suit, and coming down and plopping down next to me on the floor to play games with me after dinner until it was bed time. Honestly, I think he was just waiting for me to go to bed so he could have the console all to himself, but he never let it show.
So now let me just nerd out on the intellivision for a minute. They released an add-on for the console called the intellivoice. This was a device, that when paired with certain games, allowed the system to talk to you. Lets reflect upon this: 1982, Console, Talk. Mind BLOWN!!! We owned 2 games with compatibility: Bomb Squad, and B-17 Bomber. “B-17 BOMMMMBER!” the game would yell out with the most ridiculous southern drawl you’d ever hear. Brilliant!
PC Gamer Born
My next exposure to gaming would be on a PC. It was probably 1984, my console exposure now in full bloom. My old man came home one night with a desk, a crazy looking ergonomic “chair”, and a Zenith Z-150 PC.
The monitor was tiny, but it had phenomenally good graphics for its time. It also had the crazy novelty of featuring not one, but two 5 ¼” floppy disk drives. This thing was straight out of a low budget sci-fi flick.
My first love born from this machine was, hands down, Ms. Pac-man. What an unbelievably addicting game! I never got bored of the game. Yet the real masterpiece that came out of my fathers purchase was, no contest, Microsoft Flight Simulator. I have logged so many hours into that game series that I am fairly confident I could land a plane if the need arose. I can still picture 5 y/o me “sitting” in this ridiculous “chair”, flying my stupid plane aimlessly. Landing and mashing on that “.” key for the brakes. There was no greater feeling of freedom and achievement ever!
The 8-bit Era
Fast forward to Christmas 1985, the most amazing day of any child from around my generation. Of course you already know what I unwrapped as a gift. It was labeled for me, but it was definitely for my Pops. The pinnacle of gaming consoles as far as I’m concerned: the Nintendo Entertainment System!! Nothing really has to be said for the system, so I’ll just tell you a little bit about my favorite games.
Obviously, SMB/Duck Hunt was the best release game for any system of all time! Castlevania, and Ninja Gaiden will always have a special place in my heart. Double Dragon, BattleToads. Bubble Bobble, was a fantastic puzzle game. The Adventures of LoLo, frustratingly amazing as well as amazingly frustrating, quite the combination. Hudson Soft’s Adventure Island, so underrated it’s not even funny! Speaking of Hudson Soft, Milons Secret Castle is another game that I wanted to smash to bits, yet, I always kept coming back for more. Honestly, I could go on and on and on, but just wanted to give you all a brief glimpse into some of my NES favorites. How could I forget the Zelda’s or even Metroid? I have to stop though because this list would take forever!
The 16-bit Era
Now on to the release of the highly anticipated Sega Genesis.
Again, I was a lucky little brat, because I received this gem for my birthday in 1989. I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but the games on this system never really appealed to my preferences.
Of course there were a few standouts. The second best release game for a console, Sonic the Hedgehog, had level designs like no other! The 3-D beauty of it all, breathtaking for a 10 year old! The way the backgrounds moved as you moved your character was just simply incredible to me. However, beyond this, the ports of Altered Beast and Golden Axe just never felt as satisfying to me as pumping my quarters into the arcade versions.
What the Genesis did do for me at this point in my gaming life was expose me to quality sports games. This system is where my affinity for sports games was born. Titles such as Joe Montana Football and Mario Lemiuex Hockey came first, but then, GODS BLESS EA! Fifa, Madden, Lakers Vs Celtics which eventually became NBA Live, NHL, PGA Tour Golf, Rugby, and Triple Play Baseball. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on what it was about EA’s version of all these games that made them better, but they were always leagues above the competition and they never got boring, EVER!
Beyond the sports titles though, there is one game that will always stick out to me. It is the main reason why I love the Sega Genesis. You all are going to think I’m bat shit crazy when I tell you the title– Toe Jam & Earl. What an amazing game!!
The creativity and open aspect of this game will always be my favorite memory of the Genesis. It was unparalleled in its time, and few have come close to its genius since. While the single player aspect was amazing in its own right, it was the Co-Op Gameplay that stole my heart. I remember inviting a friend over to stay the night and we played this shit until the sun came up. WOW! Caught hell for it the next day too, when my mom found out, but damn was it worth it! Kids of this generation, I hope you have all have found your ToeJam & Earl.
At this point in my life, I had begun to mature a bit in my adolescence and as well in my gameplay. The onset of puberty and the release of the Sony PlayStation kind of coincided. With the PlayStation, also came an introduction of titles that I had been unfamiliar with up to this point.
To say that my exposure to the Final Fantasy series, specifically VII, stole years from my life would not be an understatement in the least. I immediately fell in love with the genre, especially the way Square and the Final Fantasy series pulled it off. It was during this time where I lost my need for sleep and/or eating. I would forego sleep; skip meals, and even fake being sick just so I could log more and more hours into this game. Like 20 hours at a time. Obsessive madness, confirmed.
This love and obsession for Square J-RPG’s has carried forward throughout my life. There were also a bunch of notable PlayStation games, but the only other one I want to touch on is Metal Gear: Solid. Pure enjoyment! Could a game be any more fun? And the storyline, so crazy, and yet so captivating. Another game that stole hours of sleep from me. Sneaking around compounds, hiding in boxes, secret 2nd controller tricks, subtle humor and not so subtle sexual innuendo. I simply loved everything about the game.
Tronic’s Off to College!
Freedom! College life is an incredible experience. Arriving with my PlayStation and newly purchased N64, I managed to make a few friends and, of course, was able to get plenty of game time in as well. It is here where I was again introduced to a genre that quickly became one of my favorites of all time. Whereas Final Fantasy and games of that breed are all single player and promote no social interaction, games like Goldeneye are packed full of multiplayer goodness.
Living in a dorm, it wasn’t hard to find 3 other guys to get in a 4 player split screen deathmatch. This game is incredible! The ridiculously awkward n64 controller somehow seemed to work perfectly for this game! But just like always, there was that one asshole who wanted to be Oddjob. Some things never change.
While dorm life was fun, eventually it was time to move off campus to fully appreciate college life. So 6 of us guys ventured off to live together. Between us all, this was a gamer’s Mecca. PS1 & PS2, N64 & GameCube, Sega Dreamcast, and eventually Xbox. Yes, college was the best 6 years of my life! With all of the gaming, when the hell was I supposed to attend any classes?!?!
In 1999-2002, Internet consisted of the dial-up variety. In 2003 we eventually got dsl but at that time my college career was, sadly, ending. So with me being the nerd that I am, I wired our whole house with hubs and switches with a basic pc acting as an Internet connection-sharing server. 6 people sharing a 56k dial-up connection lead to much in-fighting and sabotaging. Luckily for me, my room is where all the hardware was hooked up!
During this period, my 2nd foray into pc gaming took place. We had LAN wars in tons of games such as Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Counter Strike, Black Hawk Down, Wolfenstein, Quake, Medal of Honor, Day of Defeat, Call of Duty 1, & Unreal tournament. Basically any FPS we could get our hands on. Best times of our lives.
Over in console land though, things also couldn’t be any better. It was a golden era of gaming. One game that I want to specifically mention is Metroid: Prime for the GameCube. This freaking game was so beautiful and so fluid it was amazing. Quality story, beautiful graphics, controls fit so well with the controller it just felt like you were part of game. If I had to give this game a rating, it’s a solid 9.8/10. Phenomenal game.
Overall though, social gaming was so much better than independent gaming. We were known to talk crazy amounts of shit while playing NBA Street non-stop. NHL2k on Dreamcast was also a staple. I can still clearly remember the announcer, every time Eddie the Eagle made a save against a housemate, “BELFOUR STONES HIM COLD!” These times will never fade in my mind. College was grand!
But now it’s time to grow up. My 6-year college run has sadly come to an end because somehow, some way, I managed to actually fulfill my requirements and obtain a diploma. Amazing, I know! This isn’t the end of my gaming career though, just time for a new chapter.
Post-College, the Modern Era
So our little TronTron is all growed up now. He has managed to find a job, his own apartment, his own car, and has a newly-built, top-of-the-line PC. Everything is roses. I feel no need to discuss this part of my story. My gaming roots have already been well documented and you know where my allegiances lie and what my likes/dislikes are.
It is in this time frame where I cross paths with our beloved kDoGG, the only Standing Streamer on Twitch, and a fellow contributor at GSC. With this introduction to our dear friend, there is a story I’d like to leave you all with before I finish up here.
At the time, I had become engaged. My fiancé works with our Bearded Wonder. Eventually we end up hanging out together and discover we are both pretty nerdy gamers. Instant friendship. Now my boy kDoGG is of the same ilk as I am, but with a few more screws loose, which is pretty impressive, because I’m flipping nuts!
Anyways, we are nearing the release date of Xbox 360. Mr. DoGG has his heart set on acquiring a console on day one! I have excluded myself from the running because as a grown up on my own, the funds just are not available for such an expenditure.
But here’s where my good friend differs from me. He’ll stop at nothing for his games! During this time, kDoGG is saving up money for a ring so that he can pop the big question to his old lady Mrs. kDoGG. So his funds are even more wrapped up than mine.
Well, it just so happens that a non-gamer friend of mine won a 360 from a Mountain Dew bottle cap contest. This friend is also looking to purchase a ring for his woman. So he asks me if I know anyone who is willing to buy a 360 because he wants to sell it in order to purchase a ring. I said, “yes, perhaps!”
The 360 was set to sell for $400 on release day. However, since stock was projected to be extremely limited, and the Mountain Dew 360 was delivered at least a week before Microsoft’s release date, he said he would sell it for $800. Upon hearing this, I immediately contacted kDoGG with the terms. This freaking guy, without hesitation, says yes! Hahahahaha! He has now completely blown his ring fund and spent DOUBLE what it costs for the system all without any thought or hesitation whatsoever. Needless to say, I earned zero points with Mrs. kDoGG on that day, but it just goes to show you our dear friends gaming dedication! Never doubt it!
So that’s it! That’s my background. Hope you have all enjoyed what I’ve had to share. And with that, now I’m off to actually do a review. Peace Bitches!!! You’ll be hearing from me soon!