Anyone else ever had a childhood like me?
I didn’t even start playing games until I was around seven or so, and the first game I ever played was some obscure super saiyan side-scroller that has probably long since been discontinued. I remember all I really did was mash buttons around until I discovered that the WASD keys moved my character and the rest is history.
I used to spend hours on flash games, occasionally played the old Roblox games (Girls vs Boys: Treehouse Wars, that one game where you got into tanks and stuff where the janky physics only made the game better) even up to when I was about 13 or so, and it was seriously only when I was 14 that I began to hear about stuff like CS:GO, which then I learned the hard way not to download stuff from Softonic. I also would pry a mobile device from anyone I could so I could play some mobile games.
My family is pretty well…asian, and I would get a daily allocated amount of time of one single hour, which would also depend on how many math problems I did correctly on that specific day from my mom, who would then let me on a Chinese website, http://www.4399.com/, that was chock full of flash games. At the time I also watched one of my friends play the original Plants versus Zombies for hours on end at his house.
In 2012 we went to China to visit our grandparents there, and there my uncle bought me a book (Yes, a fucking book) on PvZ, and to my surprise, included in it was a mini disk containing a pirated version of Plants versus Zombies. I was thrilled, and beat the game in a day or two.
In 2013 I played my first online MMO other than Roblox,
A game called Clone Wars Adventures (I was really into Star Wars at the time and played a lot of their flash games on their website). A lot of the content was locked away behind a paywall, however, and I spent the majority of my time there playing one of the tower defense minigames (of which I could never beat the second level).
From then on I spent most of my gaming experience on https://armorgames.com/ and https://ninjakiwi.com/, the former for a game called the Last Stand: Union City and the latter for the legendary Bloons Tower Defense 5. Later on, after I beat Union City, I got hooked on the MMO The Last Stand: Deadzone.
This game was really, really the defining game of my experience then, I seriously took on a volunteer position at my local library stocking books for two hours on the weekends just so I could squeeze out twenty minutes of total gameplay before and after my work was done. I also played a lot of mobile games on my grandmother’s tablet whenever we went over to her house, namely games such as Boom Beach and one of the first first-person shooters I had ever played, (remember, on a mobile device) called Into the Dead.
Cut to October 7, 2016.
I made a Steam account when I was 14, because it was then that I heard about the service and wanted to see what kind of games I could find (Wow, I was seriously in my freshman year of HIGH SCHOOL when I started to play downloaded games).
I clearly remember the first game I downloaded from Steam was Bloons TD Battles, which I played around for a bit.
Then I downloaded Unturned in the eve of last year, and it’s been a ride of ups and downs ever since.
My first ever gameplay of Unturned was on…god, it’s been so long that I can’t even remember the server name. In any case, it was a PvE server and I played on there for a week or two until I was offline raided, and I was devastated. From there I swore to never play Unturned ever again.
And as you can probably guess, around a month later the Hawaii update dropped, and then I was back on like nothing ever happened. And it was at this time when I joined the single server that would dominate the majority of my 800 or so hours in Unturned: Tactical Network PvE.
The server was full of friendly players, had amazing and helpful staff, and was overall the single best Unturned server I have ever played on to date. We played through so many map rotations on the server, from Hawaii to Overgrown 3++ to Russia and then to Washington, Yukon, back to Hawaii, New Brunswick, Germany, and then finally back to Hawaii again.
However, our server manager resigned around that time, a player by the name of JohnnyLV, who had moved on to college. John was literally the best admin anyone had ever seen, polite, helpful, likeable but also firm when he needed to be. Our next server manager was Yuan Shikai, and like his namesake he was often chaotic and unpredictable, but was also a nice guy. He also resigned, along with one of the head admins by the name of Christian.
And from then on was the beginning of the end. Our next server manager was a player by the name of Pineapple, and he was also a friend of mine, but we eventually had a falling out due to a dispute over D&D game in Discord when afterwards he blocked me on everything. He also had a brief period of absence in which the server fell into anarchy, which then led to the server owner shutting down the server.
Over the summer of 2017 there was a brief resurgence when a few of us notable Tactical Network veterans pooled together some money and rented a server, however this feel apart too because of funding issues and we moved onto another PvE server.
While on this other server we dominated. We were a 10-man team and due to one of our member’s diligent grinding every single day we had a nearly full metal base withing just four days of us joining the server from the amount of metal he mined from Keryev. Sadly, though, it didn’t last. The server manager was replaced and we had a huge war with the abusive replacement until our base was eventually destroyed and we left the server.
It was from here on out that the old Tactical Network disbanded, and no more than three of us would ever play together in the same server again. Our discussions and stuff are still preserved in the now empty website, which is still up, surprisingly, http://tacticalnetwork.net/.
The rest of my Unturned experience up to this point was chaotic and involved multiple confrontations with abusive server admins until I left the game. To this day I have only played bits and pieces, and my experience has never been the same ever again.
Ah, the nostalgia and bitter melancholy.
Around this time I also got into a WWII shooter called Heroes & Generals, of which I have probably spent the most money on a game to date, totalling around $200 or so. Nothing else is really interesting about it, other than how it is now a floundering game due to recent updates that have nearly ruined it.
I also played (and I admit this without shame), a Roblox title called Phantom Forces.
And I’ve probably played too much of it to be healthy, and was even in the competitive league for a while before I noticed that my performance wasn’t nearly as good as it used to be.
By this time I had developed mild Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from the dozens of hours I spent every day grinding on all these games ever since 2016, when I started playing Phantom Forces. My vision had also noticeably deteriorated, and I’ve been wearing prescription glasses regularly for a while now wheras before I only wore them from time to time when I really needed to see.
Around the turn of the year I also became really depressed from the combinations of factors up to this point, including my health, my terrible physical condition, and a myraid of emotional stresses and guilt over all the time I’ve wasted, as at the time I really had no direction in life and that I was already in my sophomore year of high school. Around this time I comtemplated self-harm and even suicide once in a while, and depended on a daily dose of alcohol just to be able to sleep, and smashed my previous laptop in a fit of wallowing self-pity and rage. However, thanks to a combination of my friends in Naval JROTC and long, sobbing discussions with my family, I’ve gotten over that phase now.
I still play games every once in a while, although not as much as I really used to. I finished my playthrough of Stalker: CoP last week, as I have announced, and really I think that’s all I have to say about my gaming experience.
Thanks for reading through my massive text wall if you did, and I’ll admit I did shed a tear or two after remembering those moments from so long ago, especially when I was able to buy a copy of Plants versus Zombies this year. God, the memories.
My current steam library, by the way, if you’re interested.