๐Ÿ•น️ I Played That At My Mate's House ๐Ÿ•น️ #Retrogaming #C64 #Commodore64

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When I chart back my journey through video games over the years and I think back to my childhood years of playing video games a pivotal moment in video games always took place at a mates house. 

From my first moments of seeing a Spectrum to the point where I realised I needed a PC these moments were all borne from a visit to a friend’s house who had the latest console or the coolest game of the time.

So let’s get into my own personal time machine and head on back to those key moments from when I was growing up and discovering video games for the first time.
First Stop - Navpal’s House - 1987
Spectrum +3 - Bomb Jack

A classic staple of an 8-year-olds life was the after school visit to a mate’s house to play his computer. Navpal’s dad owned a business and needed his Spectrum +3 to keep his business in order. There was a stack of disks next to Navpal’s dad’s Speccy and I was treated to my very first game of Bomb Jack on that +3. It’s interesting to think that instead of falling in love with Bomb Jack I actually fell in love with the notion of floppy disks. They just seemed so futuristic and spy-like full of secrets!! 

That after school visit to Navpal’s changed my outlook on video games forever and in particular how cool it would feel to own disks when I finally bought an Amiga 600 many years later!
Second Stop - Briggsy’s House - 1988
Amstrad CPC 464 - Football Manager 2

Briggsy had a really cool bedroom. It was massive and at one end he had a desk built into the bay window which faced the front of the house. It was a 9-year-olds dream to have such a cool set up. On that desk was something even cooler, an Amstrad CPC 464 with its very own colour monitor. Not only did the computer look awesome with its coloured keys and it’s built-in tape deck, but it also had a game in the tape deck that would change my world. Football Manager 2 was a game that I never knew I’d need in my life until I actually played it and oh my word did I love it!

That visit to Briggsy’s meant that I would crave FM2 for many years onwards and it would eventually lead me to the promised land of Championship Manager on my Amiga. 
Briggsy also owned an NES later on that year but I didn’t fall for that console in the same way as Castlevania and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles didn’t grab my imagination as much as FM2.
Third Stop - Johnny’s House - 1989
Commodore 64 - Midnight Resistance

One of my oldest friends Jonathan lived in a massive house in the countryside and had 12 acres of fields to play football, build dens and drive go-karts in. To say that a visit to Johnny’s house during the summer holidays was a treat would be an understatement. It was a place of joy and we both loved movies and computer games. Just thinking back to those summer days makes me smile from ear to ear. 
One of my fondest memories was working our way through Johnny’s extensive Commodore 64 collection of games. He had hundreds of games on tape and a few on cartridge that slotted into the back of the good old breadbin.

One game I loved to play was International Soccer which seemed amazing at the time but Johnny was always less keen to play that as he wasn’t soccer nut like my self. 

Instead Johnny introduced me to a game that I consider to be one of the greatest Commodore 64 conversions ever made. It was Midnight Resistance and he only owned the DEMO but we would play this demo tape into submission. I loved that game so much and was so thankful that we got to play it every time I went to his house. Thinking back now though it’s odd that between us we never bought the full game and we were just happy to play the demo over and over again. 

Johnny, later on, owned a SNES that I sold him and we’d swap SNES games all the time. 
Fourth Stop - Lee’s House - 1990
SEGA Master System - World Cup ITALIA 90

A trip to Lee’s house was always fun as we would rummage through his brother’s room for cool Dungeons & Dragons stuff or play on his brother’s Spectrum 48k. Then one day Lee got a SEGA Master System for his Birthday and we would spend hours in his bedroom playing all sorts of great games like Alex Kidd In Shinobi World (which he lent to me and I don’t think I ever gave it back!!) Our go-to game though was always the awful World Cup ITALIA 90 on the Master System.

It was a crap video game but we loved it! The gameplay was broken and it felt like luck more than skill that led us to winning any matches but two things led us to loving this video game.

First thing was the penalties screen which looked amazing and made for a great penalty shoot out and secondly was the presentation screens really made you feel like you were at a world cup playing as England against the best sides in the world. Looking back I think that our imaginations filled in the gaps left by the shoddy football game but it was a game that meant I would play all football games I could get my hands on for the rest of my life as I just love playing football on consoles (even the crap games).
Fifth Stop - Zeshan’s House - 1991
SEGA Mega Drive - Wrestle War

In the 90’s I was a massive Wrestling fan and especially of Hulk Hogan. Zesh and I both shared this passion and Zesh had SKY so we would watch as much Wrestling as we could. We were hungry for a good wrestling game after playing the awesome Wrestlefest Arcade game and WWF Superstars in the arcade. Sadly there wasn’t much in the way of great wrestling games about at that time. That was the case until Zesh was given a SEGA Mega Drive (Japanese Version) for his birthday from an uncle. The Mega Drive looked so cool with its red area for the power light and it’s jet black casing.  Zesh got hold of a copy of Wrestle War and we never looked back! From memory, it was a tough game to control but we loved the animations of the wrestlers and the silliness of the game.
Looking back at it now it gets a load of bad press for being bang average but at the time we loved this game and it led to me buying a SEGA Mega Drive for this game and then eventually for FIFA International Soccer.
Sixth Stop - Paul & Danny’s House - 1992
Commodore Amiga 500+ - Sensible Soccer

In the 90’s I spent most of life around Paul & Danny’s house. Paul is my best mate from when I was 3 years old and we’ve literally grown up together through our lives at Primary School and Secondary School and we still play football together. Danny is Paul’s younger brother and between the 3 of us and our mate Lee, we had a special set of friends that would play video games and sport together until the sun came down and it was time to go home. 

Paul’s house was great. Paul & Danny had taken over a piece of the house between the Kitchen and the Living room and turned it into a gamers paradise. There were comfy sofas and a ton of cushions to sit on and there were always 3 different consoles and computers set up. Generally, there was a NES, a SEGA MEGA DRIVE and the Commodore Amiga setup but that changed weekly as the console collections grew as a Master System and a SNES was added and an Atari 2600 was resurrected from the dead only to blow up! 

The setup was like a dream clubhouse and at one point we had a snooker table in there for good measure! My favourite memories of this time were probably working our way through Danny’s 500 disk collection of Amiga games one by one over the course of months on end. We unearthed gems like Nuclear War, SIM CITY and Microprose Soccer along with the greatest 2 player game of all, SENSIBLE SOCCER! 

Sensi was a complete game-changer. It demanded that you learned its nuances before it let you become good at it. Paul and I would sit in that dream room for hours on end playing Sensi Tournaments and breaking each others scoring records time and time again. Those times were the most special of my childhood and I would give anything to go back to the days of sitting there with 100 penny sweets and a game of Sensible Soccer on the go!

Looking back at all of these wonderful memories has only really scratched the surface of the great times that I have had playing video games with my mates at my mate’s houses and I didn’t even mention my all-nighter gaming sessions at my house as we’d try and get good at Street Fighter 2 on the SNES or Championship Manager 94 on my Amiga.

It’s been a pleasure to write about these video game-related memories that have shaped me as a gamer and hopefully, this might inspire you to tell me your stories.

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