Something Different, My Passion For Gaming

My Gaming History

Since a young age I have had a keen interest in home computing (for that, read gaming!). My journey began way back in 1981 (age 4) when my parents bought me a brand new shiny Commodore Vic 20 for Christmas.

I still remember the excitement of seeing the colourful VIC=20 logo as I tore off the wrapping paper like a frenzied dog tearing away at a chunk of meat. Best Christmas present ever (well until the next best Christmas present anyway, but I’ll get to that in a bit 😀).

2 games live lodged in my memories from that golden time of home computing, Raid on Fort Knox which I had on cartridge and Blitz (which to this day I still maintain is a classic). Many hours were spent sitting in front of our television screen, controlling these mere sprites by tapping keys on the keyboard (or joystick) with what seemed back then to have been witchcraft. A much simpler, but also I remember, much happier time. The Vic 20 was great however it’s lack of game releases led to my interest waning and soon I was glancing enviously at the new(ish) kid on the block.

The new kid on the block

Step forward to the festive season of 1984 when Father Christmas brought me that new kid on the block, Commodore’s latest creation, the Commodore 64 (or C64 for short). Now this was truly a wonderful machine and will always hold a very special place in my gaming heart.

The “Breadbin” shaped C64 was accompanied by 2 games, Daley Thompson’s Decathlon which was the first button masher or joystick jiggler (ooer) but a heck of a lot of fun and the shameless Pac-Man clone, Chomper Man which was again (at least to my mind) a brilliant, brilliant game. Those two games were frequently in my beloved C64’s tape deck such was the appeal of their gameplay.

In 1987 (I was aged 10) my parents bought me the recently revised newer version of the C64 (the “slimline” C64C). The future was here! Although I was still enjoying my time with my Commodore’s newest revision my head was being turned by the future of gaming technology, the shiny new 8-bit consoles with their fancy insta-load cartridges (who wanted to be waiting 20 minutes for a game on a cassette to load? After all we were only 13 years away from flying cars and hoverboards (or so we believed).

That being said I reluctantly sold my C64, (something I regret still to this day, I had built up a collection of over 500 games!) and put the money aside to order my next step in gaming hardware from my mum’s Littlewoods home shopping catalogue.

Step forward the Sega Master System…

So in August of 1988 with the funds from the sale of my beloved C64C and some savings I purchased my very first console, the aforementioned Sega Master System. It came with a built in game, a Pacman type game where you controlled a snail. I also purchased a blatant Spy Hunter rip off called Action Fighter, and these were the only 2 games I could afford for quite some time! Although later on I did own some classics such as Golden Axe and R-Type!

Needless to say after a little while I became restless so I swapped my Master System with my brother-in-law for his Breadbin shaped C64 (which had a very temperamental power brick that wouldn’t turn on every time) just so that I could afford to game again.

True 16 Bit power

This saw me through until Christmas of 1992 when my parents bought me what to this day I can honestly say was the greatest computer I have had the pleasure of owning, the Commodore Amiga A600. “The Wild, The Weird & The Wicked” pack which included “Push Over” “Grand Prix” “Putty” and the art package “Deluxe Paint III”.

The Amiga had it all, graphics, gameplay and the sound. Sonically it was unlike nothing before it. And then it had…

The games!

Alien Breed will always be a stand out for me, playing 2 player co-op with my cousin was one of the greatest gaming experiences I have ever had. But I’ll go more into this in a future blog post.

My journey after the Amiga took me through Nintendo’s Super NES and onto the original PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 followed, then Nintendo’s GameCube and the original Xbox. From there it was PlayStation 3, (a slight detour to build my own PC to play Half-Life 2) Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii through to the consoles of today, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. That’s neglecting to mention the stack of handhelds that I came through on my journey also.

Gaming has played a crucial part in my journey through mental health issues, it helps to take my mind off of worries and stresses and therefore it will always hold a special place in my heart.

If like me you have a passion for gaming then please do drop a comment below.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – A Poem

A poem detailing what it is like to be a sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Check check check
wash wash wash
check check check and then,

Wash wash wash
check check check
wash wash wash again,

OCD some may know
as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
Forces people who suffer from it
to do things in a certain order,

Pressure builds up inside your head
and causes anxiety,
Alone with your thoughts its almost like
you’re an outcast from society,

Seeing things through until the end
is driven by a compulsion,
Dark black thoughts inside your head
that cause you some revulsion,

Rituals you have to complete
with seemingly no end,
Making people so crazy that
it can send them around the bend,

A small insight lies here within
to this poets OCD,
I need to end this torture
so can’t you please just let me be??

A poem about OCD by Ricky

If you think you may suffer from OCD then your first port of call should always be your family GP. They will be able to help and advise on the best method of treatment for your symptoms.

A few methods are as follows…

  • accessing treatment
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • exposure and response prevention (ERP)
  • medication

Never suffer in silence. This debilitating disorder can be beaten, and at the very least it can be managed. Tackle it head on, you can win!

“You can’t control the thoughts, but you can control your reaction to them. React with indifference..”
Unknown

Further reading

Life Can Hit Hard – Hit Back Harder!

Life can hit you hard.

Life can hit very hard. Fight back.

It’s how you respond to getting knocked down that will ultimately shape you as a person. If you take the punches without putting up a fight then inevitably things will get you down. If however you keep on pushing forward, no matter the weight of the punch then this will help to define you as a person. Once people realise that you aren’t their punch bag, simply there to be abused, and you will feel much better about yourself. Push yourself, it doesn’t matter if it only seems like the smallest of steps, to achieve your goals. A small step forward is progress, standing still is not.

Self criticism.

Our biggest critic, our own worst enemy is often our-self, overcome that hurdle and anything is possible. Don’t underestimate the power of positive thought. Sometimes it’s the only tool we have to help us through the day. If we don’t see ourselves in a positive light then why would anyone else?

Always try to push forward and fight back no matter how hard life is eating into you. The moment you stop TRYING to fight is the moment you lose.

I’ll leave you with a quote…

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that. – Rocky Balboa

Fight back hard and keep moving forwards
Take some advice from Rocky Balboa.

Don’t Procrastinate – It’s Just Wasted Time

Procrastination – Stop Wasting Your Time

Procrastinate: to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring:

“I know I’ve got to deal with the problem at some point – I’m just procrastinating.”

Above is the definition of something that I have long been guilty of, procrastination, I’d always find an excuse to procrastinate and generally it wouldn’t matter what I was trying to put off until later, be it chores, shopping, gardening or even writing (which I greatly enjoy). All have been on my “I’ll do it later” list.

Creating my own Blog has been on my list. Up until now.

So what’s changed?

Simple…my mindset. Life waits for no-one.

I have long dreamed of having a blog, somewhere to write down the things on my mind, a place to let others read (and hopefully enjoy) my thoughts and poetry. But mostly a place where I can give out advice on overcoming the issues surrounding mental health and the steps that people can take to help motivate and push themselves to achieve anything they set their minds to.  I could leave it no longer, I am determined to turn this dream into a reality.

Each and every new follower of my blog is helping me to achieve this dream and to every one of you fantastic people I would just like to extend a truly heartfelt thank you.  Please do feel free to also leave comments.

So my message is don’t delay. Live your life for the moment, live for the day.

One life, live it.

Worry – Stop The Habit!

Some days can definitely be a struggle.

Stopping worry isn't easy
Easier said than done? Not if you put your mind to it.

Some days it would be far easier to just stay in bed, pull up the covers and just hide away. I’ve quite often felt this way. The pressures of everyday life pile up insurmountably and will weigh you down. But only if you let them. I know it isn’t easy to pick yourself up, brush yourself down and keep pushing forward in the face of pressure and adversity. If life was easy then surely everybody would be a success? (I’ll come to defining success in a future post). The trick is to try not to let these issues overtake your daily life. If you can accomplish this then your are on your way to beating worry.

Everybody has their own problems to deal with, some unique to that person, however the majority of worries boil down to a similar theme

  • Family/Children
  • Health
  • Money/Savings/Debt
  • Work
  • Getting older
  • What other people have/think/are doing

Each is a valid issue, however if there is one thing I have learned in my time on planet Earth it is this…

Worrying doesn’t solve a thing!

This is true, all worry does is causes stress and uses up excess energy. This is energy that would be better placed elsewhere, doing something proactive. Now of course it’s easy to say to someone “Stop worrying.” But if it is in a person’s nature to worry then inevitably they will. Trust me I know, I’ve been there. It’s just I have learned to focus that worry into positive energy. Instead of sitting around letting the thought consume me I now know to concentrate on something else. Whether that be spending time with my kids, reading a book or going metal detecting (my new passion) doesn’t matter. Just doing something to alleviate the worry is the important thing. That’s what I am trying to press home, not letting the worry consume you, as once it’s done that then it has won.

So my advice today regarding worry is simple…

When you feel worry starting to take hold try and do something else as soon as you are able, don’t allow it to consume you. Turn the negativity around, get creative, get outside or get involved in something. Just doing something away from the worry should help.

Every moment spent worrying is a moment spent not enjoying the pleasures that life can bring. Now as far as anyone knows we only have one life, it is up to us to choose whether we are going to waste this chance or give our all and embrace it.

Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.”
― Ana Monnar

For a few professional tips on banishing worry, please take a look at the NHS webpage Ten Ways To Fight Your Fears