Mark’s Video Game Biography

I was born in 1977 in a country far far away where sand dunes were my playgrounds and 100 degree weather was mild and pleasant. I started gaming at the young age of 3 (I have pictures to prove it lol) when my dad bought an Atari 2600 for us to play. I grew up playing that Atari more than anything else in the home, much to my mother's dismay. She claims that after a while, the Atari had me so mesmerized that I wouldn't even step away to eat so she used to make milk, sugar and egg shakes for me to drink while I was playing and apparently I drank them happily to get her to leave me alone. My favorite games on that machine were Kaboom, Breakout, Pitfall, Space Invaders, Combat, Missile Attack and River Rapids.
My most pleasant memories of gaming however came when my parents finally bought me an NES when the Zelda bundle hit $99. This was back in Fountain Valley and after playing Zelda, my perception of gaming changed and I became a lifelong gamer. My favorite games on the NES were Zelda, Zelda II, Rygar, Metroid, Mike Tysons Punchout (I literally can finish most of this game blindfolded as well as enter the Mike Tyson code by tone), Mega Man, Super Mario Bros II, RC Pro Am, Castlevania II, Karnov, Baseball Stars, and Tecmo Bowl. Unfortunately I did not know about the great RPG's on that machine till I was older but I did finish many of them later (some had to be translated to English) including Final Fantasy I, II ,III, Dragon Warrior I, II, III, VI, Crystalis, Star Tropics, Wizardry II, Fire Emblem I & II, and Ys.
Other console systems I owned and loved include the SNES, N64, PS2, and Xbox360 but by the time I got the N64 I was already a huge PC fan and spent very little time on consoles despite my nice PS2 RPG collection and love for Disgaea. My first gaming PC (I hijacked my parents work computer for gaming lol) was a 33 MHz 386 with 4x 128k RAM. On this I played Tony La Russa Baseball, Wolfenstein, and most importantly AD&D. I had three of those AD&D gold box sets including the Krynn trilogy which I loved. I even kept my old 386 board, floppy+hard drives and power supply just to play this game again in the future because it is unplayable on anything today no matter how slow you try to make it. Unfortunately my parents never bought a dedicated video card nor sound card for me to enjoy anything better during the 386 to 486 generations. As a closing note, my favorite games of all time are, in no particular order:
Morrowind - The game itself was great but it also included the most powerful construction set ever released to the public in history up to that point. I later authored the popular mod known as the Mori Mountain Estate, as well as several smaller mods like the Infinity Bow Collection, and the very ambitious Marc Vampire Mod that I never completed which was just as well because it was unplayable on most computers at that time. It allowed you to create permanent minions and summon huge armies as well as issue them commands both individually and as an army (ordering them to make shadow clones killed the CPU lol) as well as measures to fix pathing. This mod was created long before most of the companions mods were thought up of on Oblivion and Skyrim. It also changed leveling progression for the character as well as adding a new backstory to the players character but alas, it was never completed because of college and work.
Everquest - Not much needs to be said about this game except that it went quickly downhill after the authors at Verant were bought out. The 2nd expansion (Planes of Power) essentially removed all non-hardcore gamers from Everquest leaving only the hardcore crowd. But for almost 2 years, this was my addiction when not in class or when not at work. It was the 1st fully 3D MMO in existence (as far as I am aware) and I almost lost a quarter of college when I first got a copy. I needed about 8 full pots of coffee and a 72 hour study session to catch up on my O-Chem during finals... it wasn't pretty. My main was a Druid that I played on a team PVP server named Sullon Zek and I played other classes as well on both Quellos and Tunare. This game was brutal with very limited fast travel and costly deaths and was not for the feint of heart but this was also part of the challenge.
Baldurs Gate II & Planescape Torment - These games were/are amazing. I group them together because they are both AD&D using the same game engine. Both had great stories, memorable characters, good RPG system, and fun tactics. Planescape was especially well written with good humor in an interesting world. Baldurs gate gave you more companions and builds.
X2 - This little known game from Egosoft is probably the best space combat simulator ever made. It also has a very comprehensive economy and building system that took up just as much of my time as combat and capturing ships. I still remember buying my first M2 capital ship and taking it into Paranid sectors to wipe out their entire annoying race. Great fun. The newest game is X3 with much improved graphics. Capitalism II - My favorite economy sim of all time. Very old but very deep. I recommend this to anyone who wants to learn the basics of business and economy. Its much better than a book especially if you grind into the details. Not 100% accurate and there are a few bugs (especially in the stock market system), but good fun if you ever want to build a business empire and dominate all other corporations to become a monopoly.
Rollercoaster Tycoon II - Nothing like creating an all underground theme park and keeping the tunnels clean from trash and puke. Galactic Civilizations II - Easily and by far my favorite civilization building game. I have spent hundreds of hours playing this game and it never gets old. I even created my own set of ships some resembling an old anime that I loved back when I was a child (Grendizer). Its also made by a very pro-player company in Stardock. Check them out if you don't know who they are. Honorable Mentions: Diablo I (didn't like D2 very much), Warcraft II, Starcraft, Anno (they are all the same), Civilizations (all are fairly good), SimCity (except the latest 2013 which I uninstalled after a day), Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Fallout (all of them are great), FFIV, FFV, FFVII & FFVIII (everything after that I found boring and gimmicky), Half Life, Guild Wars 2, Leage of Legends, Heavy Gears II, KotOR I & II (incredible games), Neverwinter Nights I & II (though II was very buggy), Sacred, Titan Quest, Skyrim, Forza (love them all), Dungeon Keeper 2 (cant wait for the new one), Plants vs Zombies, Defense Grid, & Tropico 3.
Other Stuff I like: Valiant Comics (pre-Deathmate), Sandman (Neil Gaiman), Vertigo comics, Marvels (Busiek & Waid), Kingdom Come (Waid & Ross), Uncanny X-Men (pre issue 300ish), Watchmen, Infinity Gauntlet, Fatal Attractions series (Wolvie loses adamantium), Knightfall series (Batman and Bane), Death of Superman series, Age of Apocalypse series.

Leave a Reply