The year was 1995. The school year: 7th grade. Allow me to tell you about one of my favorite childhood memories that happened one night during Summer break: the first time I spent the night at Scott’s house.
What was so memorable about that? After all, we would do this dozens and dozens of times over the years, but I have vivid memories of this first sleepover. If I had to guess why this memory has stuck with me, it is because it solidified the start of our friendship.
We became friends like most young kids do … we happened to be at the right place at the right time. In our case, they placed us in the same small group at church. There was some discussion about the important things in life: a bit of sports, the latest TV shows, and (of course) video games. For two teenage boys, that was more than enough to be friends.
There were two invited guests that night: myself and Ducky (real name “Dustin,” but affectionately “Ducky”). Up to that point in my life, that night was the longest I’d stayed awake – 3am? I was so proud. It was a blur at that point, so who knows. Activities included: swimming, movie, junk food, all around immaturity and silliness; and we were allowed to play on his personal computers!
[Those discussed in the story, from the left: Ducky, Scott, me]
I could not believe my eyes when I saw his family had not one, not two, but THREE computers! It was a sight to behold, let me tell you. Each of us took a seat in front of a PC and launched Warcraft 2, the only game we played that evening. If you haven’t had the opportunity to play this game, it was incredible for its time (GOG has an updated version you can purchase today). Warcraft 1, 2 and 3 are a part of the real-time strategy genre, and each iteration had newly improved graphics and user interface. But would anyone argue if I said that War 2 was the best out of the three, by far? I spent hours that night playing a single map: Four Corners, which is a brilliant design. You’re forced to defend yourself against land, air AND sea attacks.
This night had a certain “coolness” factor because of the PC experience, but what I loved most was being able to play with my friends, who were both just as geeky as I was. Thirteen is a challenging age for everyone, and I remember struggling to make friends at school (public school – yuck). After that night, I knew I had friends.
Disclaimer: Playing video games, like every hobby, needs to be balanced with one’s responsibilities and the more important things in life.
You have been disclaimed =).
Is gaming fun? I would answer: yes. Why play games? I found my answer to this question when I was 12: because it’s a chance to spend time with friends.
The next day, my parents picked me up, and on the drive home I remember telling them we NEEDED to get a computer. Not long after, they did! Let me invite you to use your imagination over the next six years … there were hundreds upon hundreds of different occasions where Scott and I played games together. It’s important to remember that the Internet was slow back then. My first modem was a 33.6k, which made 56k seem lightning fast! A lot of time on the Internet was spent waiting. What did we do while we waited? We talked! We talked about life, school, Christianity, politics … whatever was on our mind. We helped one another formulate our own thoughts and opinions. But most important of all: we were there for one another. Is it any wonder why I look back with fondness during those years?
At this point I will make a quick shoutout to Serious Business (you know who you are)!
PS – I’m confident some reading this may have never had the experience of hearing a dialup modem connect to the Internet. It sounds something like this: “Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcch*ding*ding*ding” It was horrendous. And it was beautiful. All at once. Click HERE for a link to hear for yourself.
Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane,