The memories of my life are all largely centered around which games I was playing at any particular time. Since I've been playing games for as long as I can remember, and I've been playing games continuously since then, it's a strangely scientific-seeming means by which I can record the timeline of my life. It goes something like this:
-Combat, Gyruss, Gauntlet, Space Harrier: memories of being five or six years old in San Francisco
-Phantasy Star, Super Mario Bros., Ultima IV, Ultima V: being seven or eight years old in Walnut Creek
-Break Thru, Kung Fu Master: vacation in Hawaii for my 10th birthday
-Double Dragon, Gauntlet II, Yie-Ar Kung Fu: vacation in Russian River when I was 11
-Golden Axe, Final Fight, Contra: moving back to San Francisco when I was 12
-Ultima VI: getting ready to move again
-Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition: first two years of high school
-X-Wing, Dune II, Doom, Star Control II, Ultima VII: high school highlights
-Street Fighter II Turbo, Mortal Kombat II, Samurai Shodown: next two years of high school
-Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Samurai Shodown, World Heroes Jet: my first trip to Japan
-Crusader: No Regret, King's Field, Quake: starting work at GameSpot
-Killer Instinct, The King of Fighters '96, Marvel Super Heroes: "socializing" in my first two years of college
Mind you, that's a small sample of games that are important to me. But that's how my life pans out--what was I playing, and around which circumstances was I playing it. For any notable point, there are one to three to go with it. My trip to Portugal in 2002 is Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis. Christmas of last year is Fire Emblem. Christmas the year before is Panzer Dragoon Orta. September 11, 2001 is Red Faction.
That's really the point of this story, but I felt that it needed an introduction. That's what I did on September 11, 2001. I spent the whole day playing through the PC version of Red Faction, which ended up being a pretty good game. I especially liked the railgun that could shoot through walls, but the "geomod" stuff wasn't all that interesting. Anyway: I contacted all my colleagues and asked them to not come in to work after what happened that morning, and what I proceeded to do was, with the TV turned on nearby and with news anchors hypocritically swearing to me about how life will never, ever be the same--I knew this to be false even then--I played through Red Faction, knowing that I needed to review it, glad that I wasn't dead, and quite certain that the world was going to carry on.
A couple of weeks later, when the highly anticipated Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor was released and disappointed game players were screaming bloody murder against the developers of the game all over gaming message boards on the Internet, I knew things were already pretty much back to normal.