Five games that changed my life -- from Halo to Sorry!

Categories: Geek Speak

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Just the first of many games that changed my life.
Games have been good to me. I've been playing games, in one form or another, since before I started school. Board games, card games, video games, you name it, I love them all. In the grand scheme of pop-cultural pursuits, I consider games to be the equal of any other medium you care to name. To me, this seems self-evident, but I know for most people that's a somewhat radical position.

Every person you know can name the books, movies or shows that changed their life and shaped who they are, but what about the games? They get dismissed as trivial pursuits, disposable entertainment worthy of nothing more than a moment's distraction. Well, that's bullshit. Games deserve a spot at the grownup's table as worthy, meaningful pursuits (at least in the sphere of entertainment -- the "are games art?" argument is something to pursue another day) and to kick that off, I'm here to present my list of five games that changed my life.

See also: Local filmmakers tackle Magic: The Gathering in Planeswalkers documentary

5) Sorry!
All things considered, Sorry! is not a great game. It's a twist on an ancient Indian game called Pachisi (so is Parcheesi, for that matter -- basically the same game as Sorry!). It wasn't the first game I played, but it was the first game I ever owned, and that made it pretty special to me. I remember how excited I was to get it home and play it, and I have shockingly vivid memories of the pieces and learning to play. My grandmother bought it for me for my birthday one year, probably my fifth. She loved games and passed that love of games on to me. To this day, my memories of her teaching me card games and then kicking my butt at them are among the fondest recollections of her that I have.

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4) Atari 2600
This may technically be a bit of a cheat, since the Atari 2600 was not a game, but a game system, one of the first home video-game consoles ever released, and the absolute first ever to become a common household item. My dad brought one home when I was all of about six years old, and I was instantly hooked. I remember him teaching me how to hook it up to the television -- so I could play when he wasn't there -- like it was yesterday. I screwed it up at first and he suggested maybe I was too young and I pleaded to get another chance, and I paid extra close attention the second time he showed me. That not only launched a lifelong love affair with video games as a medium, it also was my first foray into the intricacies of making techy shit work, which was my first real career before I gave up the long hours and existential misery of that world for the longer hours but much more relaxed world of "pop culture and entertainment writer." No coincidence that I write about games as a big part of this job, either.

Keep reading for more games that changed my life.


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9 comments
Brandon Thrift
Brandon Thrift

Donkey Kong country for snes. Road rash 2 for the Sega Genesis.

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

Jump rope. I'm not kidding, look up some rhymes. They're early rap

LeAnn Nuss Lovato
LeAnn Nuss Lovato

Quarters made high school pretty fuckin' fun, but no other games come to mind as particularly "life changing".

Nikki Trahan
Nikki Trahan

Sorry is and has always been the glue that binds my very wayward family.

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