The first time I experienced the high and excitement of gaming was when I was in my early teens and my friend visited our home with the most mysterious thing I had ever seen; a brick game. A brick game was a handheld console which ran on batteries, it had a black and white screen and was basically all about arranging many differently shaped bricks to create a complete brick. The more complete bricks you created, the higher you scored. I know it sounds basic but at the time, it was all we had and it’s what I specifically begged my parents to get me for Christmas.
For me, I think I gravitated to gaming a lot because I was quite withdrawn as a kid and I didn’t enjoy being in crowds as most of my peers did. I found all the running and jumping a bit exhausting. Rather than feel like I was the odd one out for not participating, I sat with my brick game for hours and hours, blasting through all the levels until my thumbs got sore and numb. It was my little happy place.
After the brick game, there was a water pump game that we were hooked on. Unlike the brick game, this was not powered by any batteries, it was basically a small container filled with water, inside the water were two small horizontal pipes and a couple of circular objects shaped like hula hoops. Two buttons on the console acted as a pump that whisked the hula hoops up in the water. The goal was to get as many hoops as possible inside the little pipes. Again, simple but very entertaining.
The age of electronic gaming took us by storm with the Play Station and Xbox; since then, nothing has ever been the same again. When these consoles hit the market, they retailed for 30k onwards and at the time, that was a lot of money to spend on a toy so only a chosen few had the luxury of owning the earlier series of either the PS or Xbox.
For the rest of us who couldn’t afford to buy the electronic consoles, we settled for computer games which in hindsight, were just as good. Computer games would be programmed on discs because flash disks weren’t available then. We would then buy the discs and upload the games into the computer. In my case, my parents had bought us a big desktop that weighed as heavy as a small pig. On the desktop we had the most popular games the time; GTA (Vice city, Liberty City), Mortal Combat, Midtown Madness and Need For Speed. In most of the computer games, there was an option for multiplayer so my cousins and I would take turns competing to see who would outwit and outrace the other.
Someone then sat somewhere and had a stroke of genius. PlayStations represented the best in gaming but not everyone could afford it. So, people started setting up shops with big tv screens and play stations where people could pay to play. Genius. By the time the PlayStation 2 was coming out, this trend had started getting popular. They would charge KSh. 20 for a 10-minute football game and one shilling per minute for the other games that couldn’t be quantified with a specific time limit.
PlayStation 3 was a huge win for gamers as it boasted better graphics, crisp images and an overall step up from the previous version. The most popular game was without a doubt FIFA which is a football game base upon real-life football players, teams and leagues. The game gets a new version every new as the real-life season begins. In many ways, PlayStation has influenced lots of people into watching and following real-life football. Besides FIFA, other popular games for ps3 included; Tekken, God of war, Call of Duty, Mortal Combat and Need For Speed. I was lucky enough to get one and I have had lots of late nights trying to get through levels and set new high scores.
Sometime around 2014, the PlayStation 4 landed in various parts of the country. Though it wasn’t as groundbreaking as its predecessor, PS4 was superior in terms of graphics and overall game experience. It came with a sleek new design and a significant change in the dual shock controllers. Just like the PS3, the PS4 had an internet connection where players can participate in online tournaments or even use the console to surf the web. Gaming lounges charged thirty shillings to play a game on the PS3. That amount went up to fifty shillings a game on the PS4. It has since become an attractive business venture for young people around our country and new gaming shops are being opened every day. The creation or release of the next generation play station have not been confirmed but we cannot wait.
Many people believe that gamers are rather immature and lazy. While I cannot entire dispute this fact, I think gaming is a good way to make use of free time when carried out in moderation. It is how young men and some young women actively connect with each other on a surprisingly social level. Rather than discourage it, Young people should be taught not to let gaming interfere with their lives and productivity.