How Games Have Shaped My Life
Phoebe Wild
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A forum post that I read today about the social appeal of games got me thinking about how much games have actually meant to me.

Disclaimer: This list will be full of nostalgia and memories.

I started video gaming at a very early age, and board gaming soon followed. For as long as I can remember, I've had some sort of computer to call my own, and gaming has always felt natural. The stories really begin from about age 9 or 10, though.

This list is a tribute to the games that have been a part of my life, and the people who have shared them with me. It's far from complete - I could list many memories of games with the same individuals and groups, but these are the ones that stuck out the most.

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1. Video Game: Mario Kart 64 [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:92]
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This and other N64 games were brief coveted moments of fun. My best friend in primary school had the console, and whenever we had sleepovers we'd get to play it together. I wouldn't get an N64 of my own until much later in life, but this whet my appetite for more.
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2. Video Game: Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:5966]
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I played this on my computer, usually with my dad. Because it wasn't a co-op game, we'd make it co-op by assigning one person to the jump button and the other to the arrow key movements. Impractical? Sure, but we still finished the game Amusing? Definitely

We also did that with other PC games like Bubble Bobble and Sonic the Hedgehog.
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3. Video Game: Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:5621]
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Ah, the game that netted me my very first console - the original Xbox. My dad and I would occasionally visit gaming arcades such as Nintencity, and one of the featured games was Crazy Taxi.

We both loved it, and normally my dad would have bought the PC version to play, but for some reason he couldn't find it. His solution? Buy an Xbox so we could play it at home.
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4. Video Game: Halo: Combat Evolved [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:150] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
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Crazy Taxi led on to other games, and soon my dad and I were playing Halo together. Our mutual love of cooperative campaigning together continues today some 10 years later, with the newer Halos, the Gears of War series and the Splinter Cell series.

He was and is always busy with work, but always makes time for some gaming and strategising with me. That combined with the many hours of multiplayer fun that such games have provided with my friends mean they'll always have a special place in my gaming heart.

This is for my dad: Masterchief, Fenix and Fisher - partners in crime.
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5. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:294] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
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This is where board games start to have a bigger role in my life. Like many people, this was my gateway game. My parents got it for me, I believe for a birthday or Christmas present, and I never looked back to the "typical" games of Monopoly and other family games that I'd outgrown. At I guess, I'd say I would have been 12.

This gave me a taste for (some) actual strategy in a game, not one where your fate rests in endless dice rolling. It opened my eyes to the range of games available. It also led my mum and I to the local Albury game store, where I would soon become the newest and youngest member of the very friendly game club there.

So to my parents: Thanks for buying me this game, and never stopping me from gaming (even when it was a week before my final Year 12 exams)
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6. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:141] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Phoebe Wild
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Board games during primary school remained very much a family activity, and my mum and I embraced the weekly game days for all the range and variety they provided.

Carcassonne was another one of the first games we learned. It led me to hand crafting my own version with a different theme for a school project (Australian gold rush - every tile hand painted), participating in the annual Carcassonne tournaments and many many hours of fun with my parents. It lifted the complexity and narrowed the luck, and brought me ever deeper into the world of board games.

To my mum: Thanks for being my longest board gaming partner yet.
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7. Board Game: Mao [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:11203]
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My friendships in high school were also forged through gaming. I was openly geeky, and proud of it, and was lucky enough to be at a school where similar people existed.

Board games were less popular, however. When we did play them, they were social card games, or light games such as Ticket to Ride and Bohnanza. Whether it was managing eating lunch and playing at the same time, or some longer game nights, we were able to have a lot of fun with these.

I still catch up with my closest gaming friends from Year 12. Even though sometimes I don't see them for a year now that I've moved away, every time we meet feels like nothing has changed. Video and board games formed a part of our friendship, and created connections that are very difficult to break.

So for my friends: thanks for being a part of my life for 6 years. Rockband or Halo 3, DnD or Fluxx, we had some of the best times.

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8. Video Game: Team Fortress 2 [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:158]
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I started playing this recently, only in the last couple of years, and I am so grateful that I did. Why you ask? Yes, it's a fun game and yes, I'm a kickass medic, but that's not it. It's because of someone I met playing it.

It started out like any friendly game chat. I'd usually frequent the same servers, and noticed another player who was doing the same. I played medic, and they played attack classes, so we worked well together. A little while later, a friend request and some small talk. A little while after that, we became friends.

And now? We've been dating just over a year. It's weird how such random events can end in such amazing things. This one's for you, Tim.

TF2 also caused me to meet my best group of gaming friends (at least, where I currently live).
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9. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:88]
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Recently played in a park with a big group of my gaming friends, after a lunch for my 20th birthday. This was a very nice reminder of how amazing all my friends are.

Games are a means that bring us together, and allow us to express ourselves and our imaginations to see what we can create. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it's true.
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10. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:39]
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Recently played this at my first visit to a newfound local gaming group. Since being at university, I haven't had many people close by to game with. A random strike of inspiration led me to BGG, and a search for gaming groups brought up this one.

I now have a weekly gaming session to look forward to each Tuesday, and a seemingly endless variety of games to play with easygoing people.

This is a thanks to both the group, Randwick Eurogamers, and to the BGG community as a whole for bringing our hobby together.
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11. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:337]
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Yet another amazing board gaming day and night (until 3am) with my Sydney friends. Nothing says friendship like dramatic storytelling board games, pizza and chocolate.

I'm going to miss all of you next year, but I'll be back, and I can't wait to hear all your stories.
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