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Growing up on pixels


By: Leigh Peterson.

So I was browsing the Playstation store the other day when I came across some old PS one games. It got me feeling a bit nostalgic and also reminded me of my first console. Now technically it wasn’t my first console. I had my older cousins hand-me-down Nintendo. Complete with Duck Hunt, 1942, Bomberman II, Dr. Mario, Jeopardy, and a whole box of other goodies. A friend of mine also had the brand new Super Nintendo and Sega. So I had been playing video games for about 6 years before I bought my own console.

It was 1998 and I was 12 years old. I had wanted a PS ever since it’s release in North America back in 1995. At the time I was living with my father and I started asking if I could have one for my birthday or Christmas. Money was beyond tight but I had time to wait, the console was around for 9 years and they continued to make games for it even after PS2 came onto the scene. Unfortunately for me my father was about to teach me one of those life lessons that goes along the lines of “Nothing in this life is free and if you want something you better be prepared to work hard for it”. He didn’t word it so nicely however. So I got started that summer. My mission was to save enough money to buy it and hopefully get some hours in before grade 8 started. My father worked at a shipyard here in Vancouver on the Fraser river at the time. I spent that whole summer helping him at work. Can you imagine that nowadays? A 12 year old girl hanging out at a dry dock, driving the forklift, exploring huge cargo ships while they were in for repairs. Looking back it was pretty rad and a little dangerous. I have always been a little different when it comes to what I find interesting. I loved being in places I wasn’t allowed and doing things that none of my friends would do. Getting so dirty I’d take two showers a day and still couldn’t get my hands completely clean. But you know what… I got that console. I got that console on my own and I got to play it whenever I wanted.

I remember the day we went and picked it up. I can’t remember the exact cost but it was close to the $200 mark at the time. We took it home and tried to hook it up only to find out that our TV was too old to support A/V plugs. I am pretty sure a small fit followed that but we went out the next day and got an adapter. The console came with one demo disc and I still to this day remember all the games on it. Metal Gear Solid, Midevil, Grand Turismo, Spyro, Ridge Racer and Tomb Raider 3. The two that really hooked me were MGS and GT. I continued working and bought them both later that year and so started my love affair with video games.

I’ve spent the last 10 years working random jobs just to pay the bills. It only dawned on me in the last couple years that I should be involved in something I truly love and am passionate about. Since I’ve never cared about making a fool of myself now is as good a time as any to let my nerd flag fly. I started looking into school programs. The new fad in art schools is video game design. I was pretty excited at first but very quickly realized it wasn’t for me. They will say/do anything to get you enrolled even if you are nowhere near ready. I like the story telling and character development side of video games. I didn’t like being yelled at by my neurotic scripting teacher on our first Java script class about how much we will hate it and how most of us won’t pass. I think writing might be my portal into the business if I focus on it and take some creative writing classes. Time will tell.

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2 thoughts on “Growing up on pixels

  1. I just got my Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Technology and Culture, which is close to saying, random crap that I can’t get a job for. I am hoping to get into the gaming industry, but am not sure in what way, or how, or when. I love drawing, character design and concept, story writing, and more, but there isn’t a degree or job that encompasses all of that exactly. Good luck following your dreams. ^_^

    • Thanks!
      I completely understand the confusion of which was to go. I love the artist parts but not the programming parts. It seems you need to be good at both but then I started thinking about writing.
      Good luck to both of us on our path *cheers* 🙂

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