My introduction into computer gaming was not what would be considered normal for someone who was brought up in the 90’s. Most family homes had a games console whether it was a PlayStation 1 or 2, a GameCube or a Nintendo 64… I didn’t; in fact, the only time I got to experience a games console was when I had to go to an after-school club. For me my introduction was with a console which I feel was way better than anyone gave it credit for; especially as the console was doing things that other consoles hadn’t even started thinking about. I am talking about the PSP. These are the games of my past.
First, we’re going to look at the first game that I ever owned on my PSP. Juiced: Eliminator; this was a racing game developed by THQ and released in 2006. The whole concept behind the game was that you would enter races with your basic car, start modifying it make it better and keep winning races until you have enough money to be able to buy a new car. It was a very classic example of a racing game. You were presented with a calendar to be able to choose which races you could enter. And to increase realism, events were included on the calendar that you couldn’t access yet, to give you an idea of where your goals for the game should be. What was really cool about that though was that you could go to the event and watch the event, basically watch the AI race itself.
This game was perfect for an introduction into the world of gaming for me and what’s more, pushed me to love the racing genre in general. The thrill of being able to push a car to its limits while thrashing it around a track only to be able to make the car even better so that you can make it go even faster. The issue is that this game (As with a lot of games on this console) has not aged well. While at its time it was pushing the boundaries of what games were able to do, they weren’t good enough to stand up against the test of time. What used to be considered sharp on the PSP’s (Screen resolution) display, just is so far off the mark today with games that are running at 4K at 60FPS.
That isn’t to say that the game isn’t still fun. Having recently played the game again on a PSP, I still had fun with it, the game is a little flawed in the way that the handling feels, but the customisation options where seriously extensive. The game not only featured upgrades to the performance of the car with aftermarket parts made form company’s like Borla, EBC Breaks and Spring Company, but also featured some of the most advanced aftermarket body kits, body dropping tools and graphics tools. This game was one of my favourite pastimes while I was younger; what’s more, the game was the catalyst for almost everything that I decided to do in my life.
Moving on to another game that was prominent in my life. Much to my parent’s disappointment, I had access to Grand Theft Auto much earlier than they would have liked. My first foray was with the game Liberty City Stories. A game that was only released on the PSP and PS2 in 2005. The Stories series where based in the same city’s, in the same year as the lead game (For example, Vice City Stories was set on the same map and in the same time as GTA: Vice City). Telling a different story and seeing events that happen in from a different perspective. This game is a Prequel to Grand Theft Auto III and followed the story of Antonio “Toni” Cipriani, as he works his way through various situations dealing with different crime families, and becoming a made man.
I have some great memories of this game. In particular, there is a conclusion of a mission where Toni’s mum places a hit on his head due to her opinion of his status within the crime families. The result meaning that while on the first island, the game sent people after you to attack you. As a way to avoid this, while driving away to avoid the attackers, I would tap a cheat into the game (Don’t you just miss real cheat codes in games) that enabled me to drive on water. This was especially useful when the only way forward was to drive onto the sea. They couldn’t follow me, but that didn’t stop them attempting it, driving off of cliffs and nosediving into the water instantly dying. Completing the mission in this way was not entirely the way that the game wanted me to complete it. But I’m glad I did as it was one of the best achievements I had after my short length of time in the world of gaming.
And there we have it, a few games from my childhood that kick started my love of gaming, driving, cheating and tech. If you have any memories of your early gaming experiences, why not talk about them below and we can all reminisce together?