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Retro Gamer Crate

Recently I was introduced to Man Crates, a website that sells crates that were made to be tough to open. The company sells awesome gifts for men which you open with a crowbar, but only once you get past a lot of wrapping. Even their website has to give advice on how to open their tough to open crates: Try harder.

distressed-no-text

If at first you don’t succeed; Try harder.

 

One of their latest campaigns is a Retro Gamer Crate, the chance to have a blast from the past and play video games from the past and it got me thinking: What was my game of yesteryear that really got me going as a gamer?

As part of a series of articles, I thought I’d share my story; the story that really defined me as a gamer.

Many of you who have read my blog and thoughts will be certain in their minds that the game that made me a gamer is Final Fantasy IX. You’d be right saying that is the game that helped to define me, but not the game that helped to define me as a gamer. That honour goes to a way more prestigious game. A game that’s so well known, so recognisable world-wide that if you didn’t know of it, you’d probably have been living under a rock.


 

Pac-Not

This is a really accurate representation of Pac-Man.

I’m on about Pac-Man; the one character who frequently tops the polls on the most recognisable characters in gaming. The first time I played a version of Pac-Man I must have been a young child. I was in an arcade and this very same arcade featured a beat-‘em-up machine! All the cool kids were hanging around this machine, looking like they were tough, so I got bored waiting for that game… So bored, that I saw this really old looking, almost collecting dust machine. It was a little table which intrigued me greatly but I was upset that it wasn’t turned on. I went to play some other games.

One day, I went back to this arcade and I decided enough was enough! I looked around and found the plug, along with an empty socket. I booted it up, inserted my coin and lo and behold, I was greeted with this rather un-explanatory “1 Player” or “2 Player” options. The screen said Pac-Man, a whole heap of numbers and something about Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. I distinctly remember feeling like this was going to be a boring game. The title screen didn’t make noises like the other machines and I felt an immense disappointment… But I had come this far… and the man who ran this place was staring at me as if daring me to play it.

The table looked similar to this one

The table looked similar to this one

Play it I did, as I pressed the “1 Player” option, I felt proud of my accomplishment. Simply just stepping outside the normal boundaries that children take, stepping against what felt like the norm and the accepted. Much to my pleasure: Pac-Man the game started and it made some delightful noises. I’ll always remember when I first took control of Pac-Man, who was a ludicrously simple character, especially when compared to the beat-em-up characters. I felt a sense of glee at moving this little yellow dot, who seemed to never endingly obsess over eating smaller white dots. As I moved him around and noticed the ghosts, it all made sense to me: Ghosts are bad. The ghosts were really bad!!

I made sure to stay away from the ghosts, as they tried to chase me down. But they would chase me to no avail, as I would dodge around corners, eating dots. I then eventually ate the big dot and suddenly: I was in power. I realised the ghosts were running away from me, scared… Blue-bellied and scared of me! So I chased one down and ate it. I felt good. I noticed they started to flash and as I approached one of the other ones, the power pellets effect stopped and the ghost returned to normal. It touched my yellow avatar and Pac-Man proceeded to implode, which I was a bit confused about. I figured that must hurt and of course: My life count went down. That made me determined to beat the stuffing out of this game.

It's On, Pac-Man

I sat there for a good 2-3 hours. Eating ghosts, avoiding ghosts, eating dots, eating power pellets and eating fruit: This was my purpose! I even attracted a small crowd of kids from that beat-em-up machine… And that’s when it happened. I was on my last life and everything was going great. I had a score of around 100,000 and even the owner of the arcade was interested in how well I was doing. Suddenly one of the bigger, nastier kids pushed me and the joystick, making Pac-Man go into a ghost. Was I angry? Yes, very angry at him.

That’s when I called him out. I said to him: I’ll beat you at Pac-Man. He challenged me back: I’ll beat you at Street Fighter. We got 2 shiny 50 pence pieces out and we agreed to do this. He wanted to do his game first, so naturally I accepted his challenge. Kids and even the owner were keen to watch this as this boy had become very good at Street Fighter: and I had never played it at this point. I saw a character that I felt like I associated with – Blankaa. He seemed like an outsider to the group of fighters, a bit different. So I picked him… and I remember the first round, the bigger boy kicked my butt. But as I was going down on the second round, I found out about Blankaa’s electric attack. This gave me round two… and Round three? It all made sense.

I learned how to do this.

I learned how to do this.

I had beaten the guy who always played as Ryu and the kids were all somewhat shocked. Of course the reality is, I was sort of just spamming that powerful lightning attack: But it was the timing and the thought behind it. The boy was in disbelief and as we went to sit down for Pac-Man… The boy took his coin away and he said “I’ll pass. You got lucky on Street Fighter.” The boy chickened out of playing a game with me! The game that really helped make me become a gamer.

So if you ever help yourself or a friend to a Retro Gamer Crate, spare a thought for all of the people in the world who as a child got to play the games you’re pulling out of that crate. Be it Super Mario Bros. or Tetris… It doesn’t matter what you pulled out! You’re getting a great game, along with lots of delicious sweets. You get to feel manly by opening the crate with a big ol’ crowbar (Hi there, Gordon Freeman!) You tear it open and get your new console along with 2 games and sweets. Yummy, those are some delicious memories.

Just look at all of these awesome things!!

Just look at all of these awesome things!!

Now it’s your turn. Share in the comments below what made you a gamer. We’d love to hear what made you a gamer too and don’t forget to check out Man Crates. It’s for men or women who just want to open a box in a macho way… With a crowbar.

3 responses

  1. Congrats on your “shock” win over the SF2 pro.

    Like

    January 12, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    • *groans* but thanks. I think the adrenaline is what did it for me! :)

      Like

      January 12, 2015 at 6:51 pm

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Boxes | GeekOut South-West

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