Gaming Moments: J

Jaguar XJ220 (Mega CD)

It wasn't as good as Lotus Turbo Challenge on the Mega Drive.  Sure, it looked better, but I still remember the first time I tried to control it.  I couldn't.

Jet Set Radio (Dreamcast)
Jet Set Radio HD (Xbox 360)

I spent hours just trying to get off the tutorial, doing an endless grind around the central bus station.  Made all the worse since I did it twice, once on each console - but there was an achievement for the 360 version so I felt I had to do it again.

Journey (PS3)

A game filled with moments, but I think my pick comes early in the game, at the bridge.  The structures tower above you, and it took me (and my companion) a while to work out that our path wasn't just across the base but we had to somehow get up there.  Learning the floating mechanic in that way together was amazing.

Then there's the snow, but I can't put the words together to describe that.

Jungle Strike (Mega Drive)

Mainly played via the PSP, to be honest, since that added save states.  The last level is set at the White House.  Just as you think you've completed the game, tanks roll in and you have to protect the president's helicopter as he escapes.

Gaming moments: I

Ico (PS2, PS3)

I even remember writing about this on my blog.  I'll paste some text from the previous post:

Ico starts off slowly, with a long cutscene. You get thrown into a murky world and have to work out the controls. The world's not actually murky, but playing it on my HD TV certainly made it look so. I worked my way through the castle, until I found the girl in white. I knocked the cage down the tower, and rescued her from the shadow monsters. I then couldn't find a way out of the room. Huh.

Never mind, I thought, I'll come back to that later. I'd been playing for 40 minutes or so. I turned the console off, and then thought ... hmm, I wonder if the game does save at checkpoints?

Evidently not.

Ikaruga (GameCube)
I have only ever played this for five minutes, and it made my head hurt. 

Gaming moments: H

Half-Life (PC)

The very first time I played this, I remember sitting watching the opening sequence and being amazed by the detail in the surroundings.  I accidentally nudged my desk and the view changed - and suddenly I realised that I could control my character already.

Headhunter (Dreamcast)

Travelling by motorbike, I somehow managed to get myself lodged in some scenery, and span on the spot.  Funny until I realised that I'd lose progress since the last save. The accelerator controls on the game were really sensitive, and it was tricky to steer.

Hexic HD (Xbox 360)

I shouted with joy when I finally got a black pearl. It's so tense working up to it, as one mistaken move can lead to everything collapsing. 

Gaming moments: G

Gauntlet (CPC)

Andrew and I realised that as long as we could keep one of us alive at any one time, we could have effectively infinite lives, moving through levels forever.  We played for about five hours until Death attacked us both at the same time and we both died.  We both stared at the screen for a good minute then shouted "bastard!" together.

Geometry Wars Galaxies (DS)

One of the later levels had a stupidly high score for the silver medal, and enemies spawned all around my ship constantly. I seem to recall the level was shaped like a star. I finally beat it, sitting on the train, hiding in one of the points of the star and setting the drone to be a turret rather than my usual bait type.  I almost missed my stop.

Grand Theft Auto (PS)

I vividly remember completing the Liberty City missions, not knowing that there were two more worlds to unlock.  I also remember the soundtrack with the lyric "Grand Theft Auto" in one of the songs, which I thought was incredibly clever the first time I heard it. 

Gaming moments: F

Floigan Brothers: Episode One (Dreamcast)

I recall being stumped for ages that I needed to get to somewhere distant, but couldn't jump that far.  By accident I managed to annoy the big fat brother, who picked me up and chucked me over to the platform.

Feel the Magic XX-XY (DS)

I had the US version.  One of the first games in the game (if not the very first) sees you trying to get goldfish out of a man's stomach.  The first time I played this I was mashing the d-pad trying to control the goldfish, completely forgetting about the touch screen.  to be fair, it was a new control scheme at the time ...

Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)

Driving around in the early evening, I was worried that my console was dying, with odd spots appearing in the sky.  It turns out they were Chinese lanterns, floating upwards.

Field Commander (PSP)

I tried to play this multiplayer, not realising it would mean staying on the console until we finished the game.  You'd think that a turn-based game would work using a send-turns mechanic, but no - it worked through a continuous connection.  What's worse is that me and my opponent were closely matched, so I eventually got to bed at around 2am.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (Gamecube)

We played through this at regular games evenings and days.  Kieron played a short bloke with a bucket on his head.  At the end of every day, we watched them all dance around the campfire and made sexist remarks about the woman with big boobs. 

Gaming moments: E

Essential Sudoku DS (DS)

After competing 999 picross puzzles, there was one left.  Surely the pinnacle of difficulty, it's surely going to be a trophy or medal or something special.  Oh no, it's really easy and it's a pie chart.  A bloody pie chart.

Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360)
Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable (PS Vita)

Both games have many highlights, but the thing I will remember most is the mission in which you are sent into battle against the massive walking fortress.  I destroyed more of the city than the fortress did while trying to attack it, and finally the mission ends with you withdrawing because your weapons aren't powerful enough.  Sorry I broke the Space Needle for nothing, guys.

Exit (PSP)

One of the characters you have to rescue is very fat. I called him Fatty.  I pushed boxes onto him.  He died.

Ecolibrium (PS Vita)

Playing on the train, on the tutorial.  And then the game requires me to look around 180 degrees with my Vita to see the animals behind me.  Not going to happen; never loaded up again.

Endless Ocean (Wii)

I recently went back to this as part of the "Au Revoir Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection" drive, which was pointless as the only online mode it has is to connect to a friend who is simultaneously playing the game; that will never have happened.  Anyway, during my brief play I watched the most stilted and awkward cutscene ever made.

EyeToy: Play (PS2)

Accompanying the cleaning suds game with "When I'm Cleaning Windows" was a work of genius. 

Gaming moments: D

Dear Esther (Mac) 

The end sequence will probably stay with me for a long time - but only when combined with the crash scene and hospital bed at the bottom of the cave.

Dancing Stage (arcade)

I only played this a couple of times, at the Trocadero.  The machine felt huge, and even before getting on the platform you felt energised by the lights and colours.  I had seen someone playing already, so knew what to expect, but the first time that two arrows came up the screen at the same time still threw me off guard.  Unfortunately none of the home versions quite hit the same spot, partially because of crappy dance mats.

Daytona USA (arcade)

A four-player cabinet at the bowling alley in Bexleyheath.  I had just learnt to let the back drift out and powerslide around the corners, and overtook my friend John doing so.  He shouted at me that it wasn't a powerslide, just a lucky skid.  So I did it again the next race.

Desert Strike (Mega Drive)

I actually remember this more from my playthrough on the PSP, given the use of save states which allowed me to actually complete the game. There were a number of memorable points, but the best was chasing the madman across the map in his speedboat at the end of the penultimate level.  I was raining missiles on the speedboat the whole time and it didn't explode.  Of course not; where would the last level come in if that happened?

Donkey Konga (GameCube)

The instructions speeding up a few bars into Don't Stop Me Now.  We played this again recently, and it's still great.

Doshin the Giant (GameCube)

I played this when it was first released, back in 2002, to completion. I can remember very little of it now, other than the moment when I first realised you could pick up and throw villagers.  I did it many times and they all hated me, so I had to restart the day.

DLC Quest (PC)

Three points:
  1. Being unable to move left at the start of the game, and audio cutting out.  I thought the game was broken; evidently not. 
  2. Meeting an NPC called Phil at the end of a long cave, who informed me that he was just there to fill space. 
  3. The ending of the game not actually being the ending of the game unless you buy some DLC and finish it. 
Driver (PS)

I have never completed the last level because it was just too hard. 

Gaming moments: C

Civilisation Revolution (Xbox 360)

I had expanded across the map, and suddenly I was attacked on three
sides by the Aztecs and two other nations. In one turn they halved my
forces, and during my turn I could do little to bring it back - I rushed
production of units on all my cities but my forces were still depleted.
Defeat seemed likely. But then the Aztecs spent their next turn
attacking one of my tank units with everything they had, all weakened
from the previous battles, and my tank held on to defeat them all. The
other two nations started to attack each other. In my next turn I was
able to push through and capture the Aztec capital and further defend,
leading to an eventual victory. Magic tank.

Crackdown (Xbox 360) 

I had almost completed the game before I realised you could get cars
delivered to the garage. I managed to drive the SUV up the side of the
boss tower and then jump it off - rather amazing.

Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast)
My first ever online game, and I won the first match. It was tricky to
adapt to the one-second delay on inputs, but it was that which led to victory in the end - I had placed a tile to my rocket which my opponent simultaneously directed the mice to.

Castle of Illusion (Mega Drive)

I remember Colin bringing his new MD to my house, and being in awe at
this game.  We played it for hours and got pretty far - and then he had
to go home.  He called me the next day to tell me he'd completed the game.

Conker's Bad Fur Day (Nintendo 64)

I am the great mighty poo and I'm going to throw my shit at you!

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

That huge hill at the start of the game, after you'd picked up a woman
at the tram stop.  Crazy boosting all the way down, ready to drift to a
stop at the bottom, slightly to the left, where you were dropping your
passenger off.  That's not my memory though - my memory is of the time
when my drift was too little, and my taxi ended up stuck in the wall
within the drop-off area, racking up huge bonuses as the game continued
my drift for a good two minutes.  The ungrateful woman told me I was
late - but she could have got out at any time.

Conflict: Desert Storm (Gamecube)

I played through this and its sequel with John and Kieron during
multiple gaming days.  The followup, Conflict Vietnam, suddenly removed
the southpaw options from the game, which meant two of us couldn't
control it.  Idiots. 

Gaming moments: A

This isn't the same as gaming memories - this is about discrete moments in games.  Moments like these:

Aladdin (Mega Drive)

After playing through a number of platform levels, each of which accompanied by music from the film, you get placed on a flying carpet for a section entitled "rug ride".  It's an automatic scrolling level, which speeds up over time to the point where you are almost required to memorise the level - but not quite.  The music that plays is an original composition for the game, and fits perfectly with the acceleration. You get to the end, and realise that for the last ten seconds of the level you've been holding your breath ... but you survived, and you are five lives up.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike (DS)

Not the big oozium level, which is the part of the campaign I can remember, but Twin Isle, one of the war room maps.  Twin Isle was in Advance Wars 2, but it never seemed a stumbling block there.  In AWDS, however, something about the balance had changed and I played that one map for weeks just trying to get an A grade.  I managed it, after working out a wonderfully elegant solution, which this margin is too narrow to contain.

Assassin's Creed II (Xbox 360)

You get towards the end of the game and suddenly you're in Venice.  And it really is Venice - I've been a couple of times and I recognised it immediately.  There have been few occasions when I've felt such a sense of location. 

Game memories: F

Feel the Magic XX-XY (DS)
Project Rub in the UK, but I got this with my imported US DS ahead of the European launch.  In many ways it was an ideal game to launch the DS with, showing many varied ideas on how the touchscreen could be used.  It didn't hang together that well, but I remember the black, white and orange colour scheme vividly.

F1 '97 (PS)
Murray Walker shouting "He's on the green stuff" over and over again; tracks being messes of pixels a little way down the road.  A great game.

F1 2010 (Xbox 360)
Far too many options and menus to wade through.  Completing a single race in the career mode took ages, since you had to go through practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.  Ideal for people who love F1, but for me it was just a bit painful.

F1 2011 (3DS)
As with F1 2010 above, but with a third of the framerate.

F355 Challenge Passione Rossa (Dreamcast)
At the time this felt like a massive technical achievement and tales of the arcade machine using three monitors underlined the game's credentials.  I played it for about fifteen minutes before being totally overwhelmed by the options and realistic gameplay - in other words, I kept spinning off the track, couldn't work out how to switch to a behind-car view, and had better things to play instead.

Field Commander (PSP)
Like Advance Wars but with little charm, little challenge, and a rubbish online mode.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (Gamecube)
I've never completed a proper Final Fantasy game; I've never even passed the first hour of one.  This, however, was played loads at virtually every games night we held.  Kieron had a bucket on his head, I was a Selkie.  John was accomplished at ranged combat, we all could heal each other but often didn't.

Fire Emblem (GBA)
I never completed this.  I remember it getting very stressful due to the fact that if a character died in a mission, they remained dead.  I restarted missions again and again to protect my favourite characters, and as a result it grew stale and too difficult.

Floigan Brothers: Episode One (Dreamcast)
It's a shame there was no episode two - this was an amusing game which was unlike anything else, as with a lot of Sega's Dreamcast output.  It was far too short and there was a bit too much collection required as far as I recall.  I got this in Singapore and worked out pretty quickly that it was a pirate version, but bought the proper version on my return from HMV for a fiver.

Ford Racing 3 (Xbox)
I was convinced to buy this by people on RLLMUK praising the second game, the fact it was online (when there were few other online games around, and it was £10 brand new.  I think I played it online three times and offline twice, before being tempted away by other games that were just more fun to play.

F-Zero (SNES, Wii, Wii U)
F-Zero GX (Gamecube)
F-Zero X (N64)
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (GBA, 3DS)
GX is the best.  The Mode 7 games are a bit pants now, but at the time they seemed great, particularly on the GBA where the handling was much more refined.  Replaying them now, they are just too floaty and the career mode is a bit lightweight with daft difficulty spikes.

Future Tactics: the Uprising (Gamecube)
I bought this in the US and as a result, the hassle needed to load the game meant that I played it little.  A shame, as when I did I remember it being a clever game melding a strategy turn-based game with something that felt more action-based.  I'm now able to play US games on my modded Wii; I may try this again when I find it.

Fighting Vipers (Saturn, Xbox 360)
I continue to be hopeless at fighting games that are more complicated that Street Fighter II, but Fighting Vipers has a pleasing lack of combo, super and extra EX WTF meters.  The fighting feels solid and the idea of being able to knock off armour works well.  I get the feeling that if I played this a bit more I could get quite good at it.  That's unlikely to happen.