I love computer games. A few years ago I treated myself to an X-Box and was instantly blown away by how far gaming had progressed since I was little. I was brought up on the Commodore 64 and spent hours upon hours being punched by my brother as I kicked his ass yet again in some pixelated kung-fu game or reduced to screaming tears as Big Mac fell to his stupid death because he couldn't jump over the stupid gap for the 50th stupid time. Man...that game was awesome. I moved on to the Amiga 600 in the late 80s/early '90s and was amazed by the fact the computer was so small. This was basically because someone at Amiga had decided that it would be a good idea to remove the number keys on the right hand side of the keyboard to save space, who uses those anyway? EVERYONE it turns out and it made the computer irritatingly difficult to use. The graphics at the time were amazing and I had my first taste of 3D, even trying my hand at a little game design (which was really hard WITHOUT THE DAMN NUMBER KEYS!)
When I finished school I went to University to study Graphic Design. Sorry I can't keep a straight face...I went to University and drew pictures, badly, for 4 years while trying desperately to fit in with the pretentious wastes of oxygen who also went there. You know the type, those annoyingly floaty people who see the world as their blank canvas and who just want to express themselves. FUCK OFF. My parents bought me an Apple mac G3, which at the time, around 1998 was a mind blowing machine. I developed a keen interest in 3D animation and for a time pondered trying to pursue this as a career. I would spend hours sat in front of the screen designing space ships and the like and I think I became quite proficient at it. But, as is the story of my life I did not have the confidence to see it through and instead left University with a 2:2 in Visual Communication Design (advertising basically) and went to work for a web design company run by a character from a Dickens novel. He started me on £8,000.00 a year with promises that I would be on £25,000.00 within a year with commission. After 2 years I was grudgingly on £12,000.00 a year and constantly being told I wasn't earning him any money even though I had won a design award for the company and had designed a website for a company who's budget was in the millions. One afternoon I told him where he could stick it and I was escorted from the building, unemployed, but with an enormous grin on my face. My weight had dropped to about 10 stone and I was mentally and physically exhausted. I vowed never to be bullied and miserable in a job again.
It was during this time that I had moved on from the Playstation 1 I had received as a 21st Birthday present from a girlfriend some years before to the X-Box. I remember playing Splinter Cell and Halo and being absorbed for hours in these vivid 3D worlds that I longed to be able to be a part of creating. Now, being unemployed and having a strong interest in the gaming/visual effects world and having the degree and the skills I had learned during my time as a slave you would think this would be the perfect time to pursue my dream career. I had always dreamt of working for Pixar or Industrial Light and Magic. But, no, my confidence was pretty much non-existent from my previous experience and I just wanted to get as far away from the computer industry as I could. I therefore happened across my current career path, which many of you reading know what it is, but my employers do not like people to talk about it and I don't fancy being unemployed at the moment so we'll just say it's law based and leave it at that.
During the latest phase in my life I treated myself and my stepson to an X-Box 360. I try to explain to him how amazing the games are now compared to when I was his age, but then I realise it's like your parents trying to tell you how hopscotch was the height of sophistication. I have also come to the inevitable conclusion that my reactions have become geriatric and if I try to play against him on Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare I may as well just stand still in the middle of the arena pissing myself as no matter how stealthily I think I'm sneaking about with my sniper rifle my head is separated from my body with annoying regularity. You know in films where the baddy sniper is looking through his scope at our hero who it turns out is looking right back at him smiling before shooting the baddy through the eye. That's me that is. I've been relegated to cannon fodder for my son. I recently bought him X-Box Live after months of harassment and cries of, "My friends have all got it, it's unfair." Now I can enjoy being shot in the face by children all over the globe and if I'm really lucky, sworn at in the process by a stream of pre-pubescent oiks.
The future is bright.