My Golden Years of Gaming

By: Squidward

I’ve never really written about this and the only people that know of this little story are the super nerds that will understand the excitement of being very good at a video game. From 7th grade to 10th grade I played a game called The Battle for Middle Earth 2 and I was pretty obsessed. BFME2 is a very fast paced real-time strategy game that takes the lore from The Lord of the Rings and creates epic fights between the races of Middle-Earth. This RTS was my introduction to online gaming and I couldn’t enough. As a kid without a way to get around I found myself playing this game every time I had any free space in my day – which was hours after school and almost whole days on the weekend. After a couple years, I found myself in a top clan and widely known as one of the top players in the game.

So I’m 15 and I’m writing guides, playing in tournaments and a part of one of the best teams. It’s so nerdy but it’s true. I crushed 8 hours of BFME2 a day and the game took complete control of my imagination. A regular weekend would be spent meeting with my team, practicing, then going head to head with opponents in order to be on the top of the ladder. My favorite team was Mordor and I was the best Mordor player in the game when I played. In the end, I left the game when grades became more important – the servers are still online but I haven’t touched the game in years. So, as a strange throwback to the younger Squid, I’m going to write about how I’ve changed as a gamer.

Gaming is awesome; I’ve always thought so and I will always think so. It’s a complete escape and that escape is really beautiful (I’m listening to the Kingdom Hearts 2 soundtrack atm, so I’m getting the feels). I have always searched for games to be lost in whether that’s through the action, the romance, or just the absolute mystery of a different world and time. When I was very young, the action got to me the most. If I wasn’t cutting my way through foes or watching my army of Pikmin wage war, I lost interest. Luckily, there is a never ending supply of those types of games so I kept gaming until the point where story mattered. This leads me to my first big games: The Legend of Zelda series. These games had a perfect combination of action, great music, puzzles, and a story deep enough to still have me thinking about Hyrule as a 20 year old. Entering middle school, games became more of lifestyle for me. Even though that sounds a little lame, it is just like picking up a good book and not being able to put it down until you’ve finished. Middle school was my time of speeding through tons of games – every month I would grab a few games from Gamestop and beat them as fast as I could. Of course I enjoyed them fully and now I really get a kick thinking of all the games I have beaten. And as I talked about before, late middle school was dominated by one game to rule them all — BFME2. This was the first time I thought of gaming as my life and nothing was as enjoyable. However, with the weight of high school I really did have to change my habits. I dropped my team and my favorite game….and I started back on games with great stories that had less of a commitment. I really wish I could go back to those years sometimes, but that brings me to where I am today as a gamer.

League of Legends was completely unknown to me until the very end of freshman year of college. Up to then I was playing a game every few months and going back and visiting many of the games I passed up. Now I mostly play the addictive MOBA League of Legends with small bursts of other games. While the games have changed, the biggest thing that has changed is how I view games. Now I fully appreciate games as an escape, playing them for 8 hours a day isn’t an escape when it’s all you do. As a junior video games are really only in my extremely free time but they hold an even deeper meaning now. To me, video games are another reality that is mine. I can get on my computer, pop in my headphones, blast A$AP Rocky, play some games and smile – because, hey…I was one of the best Mordor players ever.


2 thoughts on “My Golden Years of Gaming”

  1. I can totally relate!… haha not fully, I was never THAT good at any video game, but I like to think I was. I was big into Runescape when I was in middle school (and briefly in high school), and there were a few times where I was recognized in game for SICK castle wars play (Runescapes ultra-competitive capture the flag), and it may or may not have been the highlight of my life. But like you, I poured hours of my life into that game, working hard to get better. It was my deep desire to be the best player in my friend group that got me started in the game, but what made me keep going was an element you pointed out: escapism. As an only child who lived pretty far from all his RL (real life) friends, video games consumed my free time like a vampire at a blood bank, and I relished (and still do) nothing more than the chance to zone out and forget everything around me for a few hours.

    Unlike you, however, I don’t think I’ve changed much since then. My competitive drive keeps me playing several different games which I’ve gotten quite good at (Call of Duty, for example), but theres nothing as enjoyable to me as a game that can overwhelm every bit of my imagination and have me entranced for hours on end. It’s an opportunity I look forward to every break; and in case you didn’t already know, that game for me is Skyrim.

  2. This is such a cool story! You should bring this perspective to class discussions- I don’t think any of us really have any idea what it is like to compete at the highest levels of a game, whether it be a video game or IRL. I really enjoyed reading about your journey.

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