Console yourself: (clockwise from right) Max Payne, Sims, Amano, Grand Theft Auto, Pong, Space Invaders, a computer room circa 1962 and modern day gamers


We asked a bunch of personalities one simple question: what’s your favourite game?

screen on which you could play two-player tennis. It was a raw beast but revolutionary for its time. Four years later. Steve Russell and some buddies in Boston used the PDP-l then the most expensive computer in history as a platform on which they could play a thing they called .S'paeeii-ar.’.

The games that rose out of those original digital doodlings were popular but remained a bit too rough and ready for mass consumption. That changed with Spare Invaders. which the Japanese went so mad for that the nation‘s youth created a national coin shortage.

But it was only in the 80s when individual characters the public could hang onto (but not identify with: who would want to aspire to being a blue hedgehog?) began to replace pixelated terrestrial warriors or hypnotic blocks of torturous tennis that genuine creative progress began to be made. Pac-Man. Sonic. Mario and Lara are as close to household names as the industry gets. Surprisingly. the creative minds and fingers behind them have remained steadfastly in the shadows.

‘For me. the major landmark is Sony‘s first PlayStation. when they started marketing the form directly to the twr'entysomething clubbing generationf says the author of Trigger Happy: The Inner Life of Vic/eogames. Steven Poole. ‘Videogames had been huge before. with Mario and Sonic in the 1980s. but then it was still regarded as a children‘s pursuit.“

For the marketing gurus. it was most certainly game on.

But despite the massive success in getting into hearts and homes of Generation X. Y and 7.. the mainstream press still chooses to turn its nose up. While page after page is given over to new movies. albums and books. you'll have to fork out a few quid on a monthly basis to buy anything that treats the gaming community with respect.

Sure. the next Tum/2 Raider romp may stir some national arts editors for half an hour and the price-slashing by Bill (iates of the Xbox may have courted debate in the news pages but coverage of videogames is still slight. ‘l‘or a lot of the more traditional editors. games are still something their kids play.‘ reckons Lucien King. games executive and guest curator of Game ()n. ‘I think that as more young folk who grew up with games choose to take over the editorial decisions of our traditional press. we will see more intelligent coverage of their generational interests.

‘(iames. snowboarding. garage and hip hop. like a whole

'The videogame

phenomenon roves that the uman race is


I Dave Gorman, comedian Computer games have got far too fast for my slow old brain. so I remain locked in a

timewarp. My favourite game was. and still is. Mega Bomberman. I am however deeply honoured to discover that in the driving game G-Force. one of the character options is ‘Dave Gorman'. Coincidence or tribute? I'm not Sure.

I Leah Charles, CiTV presenter I was Super Mario Brothers 3 mad! I V_ .. would play my ', i' ,4 Nintendo for hours. I I was the best and

. W ' { went really far with it. I don't have as much time to play now but it's great fun and I used to love playing with my cousin Dwain; I always had to be Mario though!

I Luke Slater, DJ/producer Gridrunner was a game for the Commodore 64 based on the infamous Centipede. The idea was to shoot the centipede into different parts as it worked its way down the screen. If you managed to shoot all the parts before it reached the bottom then you moved onto the next level. If you didn't. and the centipede reached the bottom of the screen. it would start to reproduce itself and move back up. Each level got faster and tOugher but with hard meditation you could get the game up to hideous speeds. We usually had the Beatles on in the background. and I learned most of their songs from this period without realising.

I Colin Paterson, Liquid News presenter

For a year, I was obsessed wrth FIFA 98: Road to the World Cup. You had Andy Gray and Motty (:ommentating while Des Lynam IllldeUCGd it. And when we played football in the park that year. people woold use commentary from that game. so all you'd hear was. 'yOU've got to do something specral to beat him from there. John.” There was a certain Joy in getting Colin Calderwood to hack down Ronaldo and hearing Motty going, ‘ooh. he might get sent off for that.’ Colin Hendry's mullet was partICLilarly accurate, b

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