Every Friday, if I’d been well-behaved that week, my mum would drive me to The Game Zone, a video game rental shop not far from our house whose stock of retro games I wouldn’t fully appreciate until years after it closed down. There, I would pick up the same copy of Pokémon FireRed each week.
I was very young at this point, and knew very little about how to play. “Saving” was a foreign concept to me. I would simply turn on the file of whoever had rented the game last, walk around until I encountered a Pokémon, throw Pokéballs at it until I caught it, then turn off the game without saving my progress, ready to happily turn the GameBoy back on and repeat the process tomorrow. Many weekends were spent this way.
I wouldn’t learn how to play the game until I received its counterpart, Pokémon LeafGreen, at a subsequent birthday, and it quickly became (and continues to be) my favourite game in the world.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a marvellous game and the first to make me fall in love with gaming. From the initial view out of the Imperial Sewers, to the journey across the Gold Coast to the port city of Anvil, the game never failed to immerse you in the land of Cyrodiil. Granted, the graphics nowadays are dated, and the character models are notoriously bad, but that’s part of the charm.
One thing the game has over Skyrim is the class system. You can’t just do anything, which in my mind is somewhat anti-RPG, so you have to develop your character with strengths and weaknesses like in the classic RPG games.
Also, if you have yet to experience the Dark Brotherhood questline in Oblivion, then have you really lived? It’s one of the best questlines in all of gaming, and I remember it fondly. The daedric and side quests are equally well-written, and you’ll always find plenty wherever in the world you might be.