Retro Thoughts: Early Gaming Memories



As a child of the 80s, [born in ’81] I was really sad as a kid that I didn’t have an Atari. I missed out on that craze, but thankfully there was an arcade where I could play some of those hits the way they were “meant” to be played. But when the NES dropped, I was fortunate enough to get one. Like a lot of kids I knew, we were poor and couldn’t get a ton of games. So everyone had to be picky. I had a few really good titles like Batman, Metroid, Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. But I wanted Final Fantasy. I didn’t get it until much later. But I was talking to a friend the other day and we were reminiscing about fond video game memories.

And for me, one of the greatest of my earliest childhood, one of the first, was Dragon Warrior 1. It was given away in Nintendo Power, and none of my friends wanted it so I wound up with two or three copies. I fell in love with RPGs right there on the spot. Challenging, brightly colored, a fantasy RPG franchise that would only grow and grow. One of my fondest memories was scouring this game to learn its secrets and figure the most efficient way to get to/beat the Dragon Lord. I got there, FINALLY, after what feels like an eternity. I decided to join him after he asked, and what happened? The screen locked up! I was so sad! Was it on purpose? I had not saved in so long. . . took me six months to come back to it.

So my question is this: Do you have a childhood gaming memory that comes to mind? Why not leave it below?


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  • Eric Marsh

    One of my most memorable childhood gaming experiences is when I beat Donkey Kong Country. I remember it was a Saturday morning and I rushed to the living room, probably around 10-11am, to tell my parents. They smiled, but it was one of those placating smiles: “Oh, great! You beat the game! That’s nice…”

    Aside from that, grinding on Lunar Subterrane mobs in FFIV, recovering Terra and going through the Phoenix dungeon in FFVI, and playing Lufia 2 so much we wound up buying it from Blockbuster.

    • Ragachak

      OH MAN. I remember fighting King K. Rool a month or so after the game dropped. I thought I was such a bad ass.. then I learned about “Phase 2” and died immediately. Those are all great memories that I too have. In Phoenix dungeon I’d make one incredibly badass party, and the second party is just Mog.

  • Jacob Gilray

    My earliest gaming memory was beating Super Mario RPG when I was about 8 years old. I distinctly recall bragging to my friends, despite the fact that it was after the PlayStation 2 came out. We had a playstion in my house when I was little, but our line up of games was pretty crap, except like spyro and crash team racing. None of its games really drew me in the way the SNES or even the old NES my grandparents had did.

    Although I do remember getting destroyed by one of my cousins in killer instinct, which would have had to have been in 1999. I think 6 year old me getting thrashed turned me off fighting games for life, lol.

    • Ragachak

      My advice: Git gud. I didn’t have a lot of roleplaying games until I was a bit older, so for a while I had Might and Magic and Dragon Warrior. But I loved beating Super Mario RPG. Fighting Culex gave me all kinds of nostalgia, even if FFIV was only a few years old.

  • Jaime Skelton

    For me, it was Shining Force. I played a lot of games and even some RPGs before then, but Shining Force was the first game I really got immersed in and played all the way through. And it’s pretty impressive I did, because the game was also the most challenging I think I’d played. I got attached to every character. I cried at the end of the story. I wrote fan fiction. That game still holds a special place in my heart.

    • Ragachak

      Mmm. Shining Force. Probably the best RPG series for the Sega. I never owned a Sega, but I’ve played [and loved] Shining Force. But Fan Fiction? Well, you did go to simRTK and Kongming. Anything’s possible. . .