Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My Gaming Worlds

Monkey Island

Blistering days were spent in my bedroom, with a ceiling fan running, an ice filled tumbler of Coca-Cola and a small packet of American Jelly Beans at hand.
Even though it is four in the afternoon the temperature is hot, hot, hot and the only thing to do at times like this is to be still as possible. Although I am planted to my chair in a suburban house and neighbourhood my mind is somewhere far away, exploring tropical exotic locales. It is the summer of 1992/93, I am thirteen and playing The Secret of Monkey Island on my big arse Amiga Commodore.
For many of my teenage years the world of Monkey Island was home away from home. Like reading a good book I could immerse myself in a world of tropical islands, pirates, sharp sarcastic wit and three-headed monkeys.
I loved playing this game so much that even when the computer was turned off I couldn’t get it out of my head. I paper crafted some of the items from the inventory of the game such as letters, recipes, wanted posters. I almost went as far as designing and sewing dolls based on the characters of Monkey Island.
Other computer games that filled my imagination included Captain Planet and The Great Giana Sisters.
Captain Planet
Dad and I once attended a computer event at the old Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, and it was there that I acquired Captain Planet. This was a brilliantly colourful and difficult game, which further enticed me to try and complete it. One fateful school holiday, I clocked ten hours at the game [believe me when I say the levels were difficult] and I was almost finished. I stopped for the night to get some sleep, confident that I could easily move through the levels the next day in a shorter time frame. Alas, the next morning I switched on the Amiga Commodore and awaited it’s loooo-ong boot up [during this time I could usually go to the loo, get a drink, choose a book to read, and start reading said book], but the computer disk had a problem. It had some sort of glitch and never played again. To this day I am left wondering what it would be like to finish the game, and the memory of it sometimes torments my soul.
The Great Giana Sisters
Now, as for The Great Giana Sisters… in my defence I did not own a Nintendo at the time. And yes, I completely acknowledge that this game is almost literally a rip off of The Super Mario Bros phenomenon. But when you are a child of Western consumerism and you don’t own a Nintendo game system you are immensely grateful for even a rip off. I clocked many hours on this game and if memory serves correct I got as far as Level 30 [or am I thinking of Lemmings 2?]. I loved playing The Great Giana Sisters, for the fact that I had a feminine superhero of sorts to play. This was years before Lara Croft became my idol, and years after I was pretending my Barbie was Indiana Jones.