Meh, never done one of these before, but I figured everyone seems to be into this self defacation thing these days so what the hell. I still remember my first gaming experience when my brother brought home a shiny wooden box, some of you may remember it as an Atari console - we connected it to a 10" black and white portable TV, and the rest they say is history. After that I moved to an Amstrad CPC464, wait for it, WITH A COLOUR SCREEN!
That's right, I was now the "posh" kid on the block, with my built in tape loader, colour monitor and a million games - unlike the "poor schmoes" with C64's and Spectrums, Everyone wanted to be my friend...cept when we were on our BMXs' - I sucked on that and couldn't keep up with anyone. (yup, I was the fat kid)
Once I started high school, I got myself a part time job at a video store (my OTHER obsession), and heard stories about a little thing called a Commodore Amiga. I made my dad take out some ridiculous finance agreement with Dixons, with a million promises of "I'll pay it EVERY month dad I swear" and walked out the store with the "Batman Pack" And so began my obsession with collecting Amiga packs - I went on to buying the Back to the Future II pack, the Nightbreed/movie pack, the cartoon pack and God knows what else. I even bought the A600, the A1200 and even the CD32 despite knowing Commodore was slowly dying. At the same time I was still upholding the console side of things with a NES, the SNES and the Mega Drive, which then I upgraded to the Mega Drive II, with the 32X, and also the Mega CD (1 & 2) I still remember playing the pack in games like "Sol-Feace" and Golden Axe and thinking I couldn't tell the difference except for the fancy cut scenes. (I still played the hell out of Sol-Feace though!) Was it just me who imported the *** super famicom that overheated constantly by the way?
After that I dabbled in the "darker side" of gaming with the floppy drive for the SNES, along with really getting into the whole hacking scene with the old BBS' etc. but got bored pretty quickly. (I sucked at it, big time) Once a little console called the PlayStation came out, my obsession intensified big time, I think especially since all the codies from the Amiga days were either porting games, or creating sequels to existing franchises for the PS1 - so it was like the Amiga was getting a second lease of life - especially through Psygnosis. I knew that Sony were serious about their console once they bought Psygnosis and turned it into their in house dev team for Europe. I had visited the Psygnosis offices in Liverpool once for a "Shadow of the Beast" competition when I was younger, and I always used it as the benchmark of my dream job, I never thought many years down the line I would be returning...
So, after the PS1 and N64 days, I had a whirlwind romance with the Dreamcast - I went in hook line and sinker - two games - Shenmue, and Phantasy Star Online, I completed Shenmue I at least 12 times - I kid you not, I loved the game - and racked up well over 200 online hours on PSO , remember in the UK we didn't have the BB adaptor - everything was dial up, my missus at the time was not impressed with our phone bills! So, once I had played the swan song for the DC (Shenmue II) for the fifth time, I started to move back over to the PS2, which hadn't been used since it was purchased on launch day, despite me buying EVERY SINGLE launch title, and many many subsequent games (I was really just waiting for FFX)
I was at the time a bit of a lurker on the PlayStation UK forums, and noticed a post to get onto the beta trials for PS2. A pack, with the Network Adapter, headset, and a copy of Socom all for a bargain price of £39.99 - how could I resist (also with a promise of more free games later!) This was online gaming - 12 hour sessions with 16 people you now know everything about, why? because you could actually speak to them (yes it had already been done on the DC and on PC for years, but there was something different about this for me, it just clicked) I became truly obsessed. After a couple of months all the so called "l33t" gamers started their own little cliques (clans) and would only recruit the very best gamers into their ranks. I pretty much held my own, constantly keeping within the top 20 on the rankings(before people started to exploit it) and was getting offers all the time to join clans, but I just didnt like the way they excluded people just because they weren't as good, or were new to the game. So, in the spirit of that I set up my own clan - The Federation of United Fish.
For some reason people really seem to attach themselves to the ideals of the clan, and became one of the most popular clans in the UK. (We even got a few mentions in the official UK PlayStation mag, which I was well chuffed with) After running the clan for a while in 2005 I was offered the Community Manager role for the UK for PlayStation - I thought I had died and gone to geek heaven. So, I quit my well paid job, and took a £7000 drop in salary to work in the games industry. In the process I managed to lose my girl (she'd had enough of gaming, the job was the last straw) my house, everything. BUT WHO CARES - I WORK FOR SONY!! I loved it, I got to travel, I got sent 4 copies of EVERY SINGLE GAME that was released on PS2, and later PSP - and my name started to appear in the manuals and also in the credits - I was finally a celebrity... heh. The first game I got a mention was Socom II - you wouldn't believe how that felt to have that in there - it was amazing. Sheesh, this has turned in to one long ass vomit of information, and most people have probably got bored and clicked elsewhere by now. I'll probably finish this story some other time
But if you did endure this outpouring, thanks!