Okay, so I know my editorials are occasionally difficult to read – the MGS4 piece was a bit dense – so I'm going to make things light and breezy this week. Who wants to get nostalgic? 🙂

My Top 10 Best Gaming Memories

10. Twisted Metal 2 two-player co-op

I loved this game, but what I remember most is playing through the game co-op with a friend; he always used Mr. Grimm and I always used Warthog. It was tough to beat that game, but we did it a few times, and had an absolute blast doing it. There was one rainy afternoon back in our freshman year of college when we probably played through (or attempted to play through) Twisted Metal 2 four or five times. Ah, so very fuzzy.

9. Bringing home the PS2 for the first time

There are a few reasons why this sticks out in my mind. It was the first system I could afford to pay for myself and purchase immediately upon launch, and after becoming entirely hooked on RPGs during the PS1 generation, you can't imagine where my expectations were for the PS2. Of course, it took a while for the big RPGs to hit for that system (as is typically the case), but it ended up with a ton of awesome role-playing titles, as expected. Also, when I say "immediately upon launch," I mean that literally. I worked for EB at that time, and we had a late meeting the night before the launch. As soon as the clock ticked over to 12:00 a.m. on October 26, 2000, we rushed for the counter. I bought mine at 12:03 a.m. Bet I was one of the first 100 in North America to own one.

8. Super Mario Kart late night sessions

A friend of mine, his cousin, and me would play this game quite literally all night long back in the day. We'd toy around at first (doing Battle or whatever), but we always ended up racing against each other in the Ghost House. Why? Just because we all had it memorized, and we all wanted to see if we could nab the mushroom, fly off that jump at silly speed and land clear on the other side of the track. It rarely happened, but when it did… We learned hopping around a corner was faster than actually turning, too; I always used Koopa. Good times, good times.

7. Getting 200.6% complete in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

I loved this game the moment I saw it, and being a completionist back in those days, it stood to reason that I'd have to open up every section of the map and get every item in the game. It wasn't really tricky, but it did take some time and patience, and when I finally got that 200.6%, it felt like a real accomplishment. I think I still have that save file on an old PS1 memory card somewhere… I still play this game at least once a year, just like Final Fantasy Tactics . It's like a rule.

6. Seeing and trying Pong for the first time

I believe I was only 4 years old and I saw my father and uncle play it on the Atari 2600. If memory serves, they put the joystick in my hand at one point, and I tried to stop that little white square from making it past my side of the screen. It was hard…but I was fascinated . What else can I say?

5. Hexen and my first silly online multiplayer moment

Most of you young'uns don't remember (and some don't even know this), but there was a time when playing a game with someone clear across town – at the same time – was considered quite the phenomenon. It was nothing short of magic to us. And I still remember just watching (not playing) a buddy of mine playing Hexen online; he was playing a one-on-one deathmatch with another friend of ours. I think that was the only option at the time. Anyway, I remember watching the screen as he snuck up behind the other dude with this big-ass weapon. He's just standing there, back to us, surveying the landscape. My friend tells me to type in "Boo" and hit enter. I do that, and then we see the guy slowly turn; we could watch the realization dawn on him…

BAM! Flew a loooong way. Splattered all over the place. I can't remember laughing that hard.

4. Aeris' death in FFVII

I suppose that's a big ol' spoiler, but if you're not aware of it by now, I refuse to acknowledge you as a gamer. I just remember really loving Aeris – always loved the pure mage character in my RPGs – and when Sephiroth did what he did, I was about to rage. I've never been more pissed at a villain in my entire life; I actually swore revenge (sounds corny in regards to a video game, but whatever). I also remember yelling at the screen, "Cloud, you idiot, use a Phoenix Down!" Sadly, all he did was lay her to rest in that pool of water. Holy God, I was this close to buying a Game Shark to get her back. In all actuality, by the way, this entire game is one of my best all-time memories.

3. Earl Weaver's Baseball and Hero's Quest, baby!

Okay, so maybe you don't know what I'm talking about. Well, not long after I got the NES and GameBoy, I started to play my old IBM/Tandy computer a lot. The two games I played all the time are right up there; I played whole seasons in one and constantly loved going through the second with the Fighter. Yep, this ol' machine with 640k RAM could barely run both games, but I didn't care if things were slow and sometimes weird. For quite a long time, there wasn't anything I liked to do more than play these two games and only these two games.

2. Becoming an absolute God in FFT

My favorite game of all time suddenly got even better when I realized what I could do with certain Job combinations. The day I stumbled on the Wizard/Math Skill/MP Switch/Robe of Lords/Lv. 99 character (both Wizard and Calculator Mastered, of course) was the day I became God. No, seriously. It's probably the most Godlike you can become in any game, unless you count Knights of the Round in FFVII. Plus, much like FFVII, FFT is another game where the entire experience will always have a prominent place in my rosy gaming memories.

1. Playing Super Mario Bros., becoming hooked on games

Yep, for me and so many others, this is where it all began. I may have played Pong first back in '82, but I didn't officially become hooked until I stomped my first Goomba on my first video game system. Furthermore, because my parents didn't have a whole lot of money in those days – and cartridges were pretty darn expensive, remember? – I was stuck with SMB for almost a full year before I ever got another NES game. And I didn't care in the slightest . A lot of younger gamers today just don't realize the revolution of the NES; just how advanced something like SMB was in comparison to anything on the Atari 2600, Intellivision, or Colecovision. I know I sound old when I say this, but…you had to be there.

I would also like to clarify that these are memories , so they have to be at least a few years old for them to qualify in my eyes. We need time to look back and absorb the impact of the experience before it sticks with us forever, but for future reference, here are a few that may make the list: playing all the GTAs, watching the endings to both MGS3 and MGS4, and seeing true high-definition gaming for the first time. Gotta love the ever-changing list; it means nothing grows stagnant. I'm always entertained and even influenced by certain titles in each and every generation.

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