Infancy in Gaming

Zyngor | Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Today, I'll be taking another writing prompt from the esteemed Blaugust emcee, Belghast.

"What is your earliest gaming memory? We all have to come to gaming from somewhere, what brought you into the fold?"
As I may (or may not) have mentioned before, I was not a very heavy console gamer. As of now, I have only owned a couple of Game Boys (regular and pocket), a Dreamcast, and a Gamecube. As such, my earliest gaming experiences probably came from playing educational titles in the computer lab during my elementary school years. Specifically, the two that stick in my mind were Math Blaster and Word Munchers.

To some, perhaps they were a bit drab for their tastes. Perhaps some preferred the creative playground that a painting program offered, or possibly a music-creation program more suited their tastes. Since my artwork was rather limited to stick-figure drawings, and I'd rather go to the music room and bust out the recorder, the brain-swelling programs that were veiled as gaming platforms seemed to suit my needs.

Trash Alien, antagonist of many a child gamer
I think it must have been the fact that upon loading a game like Math Blaster (if you want to go into specifics, I think it may have been Math Blaster Episode 1: In Search of Spot, 1994), I was now whisked into another word (or in this case, space). Unlike the other programs, the games were able to utilize avatars to help detach myself from my physical space. I was no longer a small, four-eyed kid in the suburbs - I was now Blasternaut, a keen math-wranglin' space explorer, out to save my droid, Spot, from the environmentally unfriendly field, Trash Alien.

While they were a form of entertainment escapism, games like these certainly provided their educational matter, all wrapped up in a nice visual display. I always preferred being able to see my problems at hand - so be it that they were wrapped up in an interactive presentation. While Math Blasters was likely my mathematics program of choice, Word Munchers acted as my literary option.

Just like West Side Story, but with Munchers vs. Troggles
Along with phonetic cards strewn all about the classroom, Word Munchers gave me the hands-on tools to devour words in frenzy, and strengthen my lexicon at the same time. I'm sure it also made me look like a fool at times, audibly speaking out the lingual pronunciation of a word ("oooooo, uhhhhhhh, errrrrrr") while scanning the checkered board for similar-sounding words. I suppose this was my first "twitch" gaming experience, where I had to complete the level while avoiding the roaming Troggles. Every couple of levels, you were also rewarded with a short video clip of a Muncher and Troggle interaction, which somehow stuck in my mind.

I'm sure there were more educational games that I played, but none have likely stuck in my mind more than the two aforementioned titles. It was games like these that helped introduce me to virtual worlds filled with interactivity, of which I have been hooked since.

Interested in blogging during the month of August? Feel free to catch up with Blaugust, a month-long daily blogging challenge!

Are there any educational games you played as a kid? What were they like, and have they had any impact on your life since? Feel free to share in the comments below!

No comments:

Post a Comment