Welcome back to another [11:11] post! So far I’ve talked about Games I Loved But Never Finished and JRPGs I Wish I Had Time To Play, so this time I thought I’d revisit the past and choose a selection of games I used to love when I was growing up.
First, here’s a bit of backstory. I was born in 1994 (currently aged 24 years old). My household never had a console until a family friend passed on their PS1 after upgrading to a PS2, so I probably would’ve been around 7 or 8 at this point. My Dad did have a PC, therefore my younger years were spent using that occasionally instead. I didn’t feel like I took an avid interest games until my late teens, but I did play a small selection of brilliant games growing up. This selection will be rather random, but at least it’s unique!
Here’s 11 games from my childhood that I remember the most, ordered in by the games I felt have left a lasting impression from least to most.
11. James Bond 007: Nightfire
I used to play Nightfire a lot when over at a my Mum’s best friend’s house. She has two sons a similar age to me, so I used to play this with them (even though I was really bad at the game) whenever we went to visit. It wouldn’t have been my choice, but it was pretty enjoyable even though I knew nothing about James Bond and had zero experience with shooters. I remember Capture the Flag being my favourite game mode as I much preferred just running around the map trying to dodge the enemy team than actually trying to shoot anyone. I never played the solo campaign on the game, but I do strongly remember the multiplayer, specifically the snowy map with the cable cars.
10. Petz 3 (Dogz 3 & Catz 3)
Petz 3 was one of the first games I ever played by myself. This game was actually sold separately as Dogz and Catz which evolved into Petz when both versions were installed, allowing you to play both parts of the game as one. I probably would’ve been around 6 years old when I first started playing and as a little girl who loved animals, it was lovely to have my own virtual pets to take care of, play with and dress up. I did upgrade to Petz 5 later on, but I spent far more time with Petz 3 on my Dad’s PC. It did make me sad when pets ran away though if I didn’t log in for a while, but I guess it’s all part of the experience.
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
GameBoy Advance (2004)
I’m not a huge fan of games that directly follow the story of book / film franchises as the outcome is already known, but I absolutely loved this game when I was younger. I used to be a big Harry Potter nerd and Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite Harry Potter book / film of the series so I remember getting quite hooked on this game for a while. I’d never played a game of this style before which is why I think I remember it so well, but unfortunately I got stuck trying to defeat the Whomping Willow. No matter how many times I tried, I just couldn’t defeat it so ended up giving up. To think I was beaten by a tree is actually pretty embarrassing…
8. Theme Park World
Theme Park World was my introduction to management games and where my love of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 later developed from. I remember this game actually being quite difficult until you figured out the knack. Once I knew how to actually get money coming in it was pretty straight forward, but the highlight was being able to build my own roller coasters and then getting to ride them. The themes of the parks were really cool too, varying from horror parks to fairy-tale lands with themed rides, shops and decorations for each level. I ended up completing all the stages a number of times over the years and I probably would go back to play it again for the nostalgia.
7. Little Big Adventure 2 (Twinsen’s Odyssey)
I feel like I’ve mentioned this game a fair few times on my blog already, but as the first video game I can recall ever witnessing (around age 4), it still has a strong place in my heart despite never finishing it. I don’t think this game was particularly suitable for my age at the time, but I remember the first area very vividly even though I don’t really recall what was going on. I bought this series on Steam a while ago after stumbling across it one day, but I never found the right time to start playing again. I’ve been thinking about LBA2 a lot recently, so I think I’ll end up getting back into this sometime in the near future, starting with the first game in the series.
6. Rugrats: Search for Reptar
Search for Reptar was one of the first games I ever fully played by myself. There are a few levels I remember very strongly such as “Let There Be Light” and “Mirrorland” which were probably my favourites along with the mini golf levels. I also remember there being an awful lot of variety with the game offering many different levels and fresh mechanics which made it a lot of fun and clearly quite memorable. I would definitely like to replay this game if I can find my copy someday as I do remember it being an incredible game, although I’d hate to think replaying it would now alter my judgement.
5. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit
Curse of the Were Rabbit was one of my favourite games when I was younger. The amount of content packed into this game was amazing but it was also a lot of fun to just roam around the town. One of my favourite features was being able to switch between day and night where the pests would become were creatures, creating new quests and evolving some of the day time quests. I played this with my brother using local co op play and I would absolutely love to replay this with my boyfriend at some point in the future. There were plenty of different areas to explore each containing quests, collectables and challenges along the way so following the story from start to finish wasn’t always the priority as there always seemed to be something to get side tracked with. Gromit could also grow his own Marrow and you could pimp out your greenhouse at the local store – I love little features like this. Just writing about this game has made me want to dig it out again, it was so good!
4. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
This game came a little later than all the others but I spent the majority of my time on it during my teens so I think it’s well worth including. I would’ve been 12 years old when the first Guitar Hero was released in the UK, and due to a superb soundtrack from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, this music was right up my alley. I didn’t get into the game until a year later when I played it at my cousins’ house for the first time, then even more so when Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock was released soon after. I actually played this to death, wearing out at least 2 controllers in the process. I did get really good, managing to complete almost every song on Expert and when World Tour came out I even managed to get my Dad on drums and my brother on bass to play with me. Guitar Hero even inspired me to learn electric guitar and start up my own band!
3. The Sims 2
Who hasn’t played Sims at least once in their lifetime? Unfortunately I missed out on the original Sims games, but I got Sims 2 as a Christmas present after nagging my parents about it. My Dad actually installed it prior to Christmas, but he left the icon on the Desktop (which obviously I noticed), sending me into extreme excitement mode! I wouldn’t be surprised if The Sims 2 is the game I’ve racked up the most hours on in my entire life as I used to spend every waking moment on this game. I used to get up early to play it before school, then play when I got home until I went to bed. I even used to play it if my friends came over and we’d spend all night creating ourselves or seeing how fast we could set the whole house on fire… Thinking back now, I’m surprised my parents didn’t limit my time on Sims, and I also wonder how I managed to entertain myself for all these hours without any expansion packs.
2. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4
There were many Tony Hawk skater games over the years and although I did spend a lot of time on Pro Skater 2 (PS1), Pro Skater 4 was my favourite. I don’t really know why I liked this game so much, but I spent so much time on it working my way through to the harder red missions. The variation in levels was great, starting in the college area and unlocking all sorts of additional locations such as Alcatraz, London Zoo, Chicago, etc. with plenty of different tasks and challenges to complete. The soundtrack was awesome too, as with all the other Tony Hawk games, and I think this series contributed greatly to my teenage music taste.
1. Simpson’s Hit & Run
PC & PS2 (2003)
This game was incredible. I remember picking this up on PC (probably from GAME) for 99p brand new – an absolute steal! I wasn’t even into Simpsons that much, but I’m so glad we bought it. I loved how each new level changed the character you played as and even though the maps were recycled a few times, the theme was different – the final level was awesome! There were plenty collectables to find and side races to unlock vehicles which all contributed to a excellent, entertaining game. I’m not sure how, but the game ended up breaking on the PC so we bought it again on PS2 instead. This is where we played it endlessly. I’m sure anyone who has played Simpson’s Hit & Run would agree with me when I say it is an absolute must play, so if you haven’t played this super fun take on GTA, you really should!
That’s all for this month! I’ll be back next month with another addition to [11:11] with a category which at this point is still unknown to me. If you’d like to write any of your own posts with this theme then please feel free and link back to this post so I can check it out – I’d love to hear what you used to play back in the early days!
What was the most memorable game from your childhood? Let me know in the comments!