Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Childhood Memories of Being a Female Gamer (Installment 1)

I've been playing video games in one form or another ever since I can remember. The best thing about being home sick with chicken pox in first grade? I could play Duck Hunt (even though the laughing dog made me angry and scared the hell out of my little brother), Super Mario Bros. and my favourite-Konami's Track and Field.

I loved that game with a passion. My mother liked it because I could get out some of my energy on the Power Pad. I thought it was awesome because the pad looked like a giant calculator, and I could get away with running (sort of) inside the house. My love for games with dance pads or anything reminiscent of the Power Pad continues to this day: I love Dance Dance Revolution (even though I am horrible at it).

My NES days were glorious. I didn't live in the best neighbourhood for being a child (most neighbours were elderly) so it was just my brother and I, and our NES. I remember constantly playing Super Mario Bros from the time I got home till the time I went to sleep, if Mom would let me.

The other video game love of my young life was my grandfather's Atari. He had a massive collection of games, from Pressure Cooker to Steeplechase to Barnstorming to Pong. I loved that Atari, and every single time I went to his house, he would let me play whatever games I liked. When I went camping with my grandparents, I would pray for a rainy day so we could be inside all day, playing Atari and eating mac and cheese. My personal favourites on the Atari were Barnstorming and Bowling.

Beyond my obsession with Atari and NES, I also recall whining for tokens anytime we were in the vicinity of an arcade. I wanted to play Pac-Man, even if it meant jumping up and down and whining to get my way. Often, I would have to request a box to stand on to play the arcade games, but I loved them, even the ones that I didn't really understand, I just pressed buttons.

When my little brother was born, I had a partner in crime for my video game obsession. He grew up to be a gamer too, and is just as obsessed as I was/am. His games of choice have diverged from mine though, he prefers Guitar Hero and DDR over my favoured RPG games.

The game I remember the most, oddly enough, is quite possibly one of the strangest games ever to be released for the NES, or even ever released.

This hilarious game that I have not heard mentioned that much is:
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom!

I remember picking that up at the local video rental store (it came out for the NES in 1991, after being on the Famicon system in the late 80's and the Japanese computer game market before that). I pored over the package, wondering in the back of my seven year-old mind, who decided to make a game about talking vegetables? I was engrossed however, and decided to rent it. My mother was a bit confused with my choice, but rented it for me anyways.

What ensued was the most confusing gaming experience I have ever had (but one of the most enjoyable).

The plot in and of itself is fairly basic, Princess gets kidnapped by evil guy, good guy has to save her, etc. etc.

The evil Minister Pumpkin has kidnapped Princess Tomato, and you, Sir Cucumber have been commanded by your King Broccoli to save her! Along the way you meet every single vegetable possible, including your sidekick Persimmon (although whether some of these characters are fruits or vegetables are debatable, but that's another post).

This game is mainly text-based (although it does have graphics), with simple action choices (talk, pick up, throw, praise, fight, etc). Due to the NES not having a keyboard, your choices were limited to those that were listed in that scenario.

This game of anthropomorphic vegetables and simplistic RPG command system enchanted me. I thought, if there is a game about talking vegetables, there could be a game about anything! (I was right, but at the time didn't know it).

This is my first installment of a few p0sts I hope to make of my memories of a female gamer.

Mobygames has a fantastic gallery of screenshots from this wacky game, to take a jog down memory lane with me, click here for the gallery.

See You in Azeroth (or Saladoria!)


Johnny DC said...

I dig this blog.

Why dont you analyze for us the different type of male gamers.

I would think I'm actually not a "power" gamer. I've had Burning Crusader since Feb 1 about and only got to level 63. For some odd reason I really like the low levels (1-20) :q

Liz said...

I am not a power gamer either. I really like making new characters, unfortunately and trying out all of the different classes (although my preferred is warrior) and races.

I might try to analyze male gamers and their "types" however I will have to use some precaution, due to the fact that it would be unfair to pigeonhole and generalize about male gamers, as uch as it would be to do the same to female gamers!

See you in Azeroth!

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