User Input

User Input: The First Hit Is Free

He seems friendly!

Back when I was just a wee Deartháirling, my parents decided of their own volition that we needed a computer. I certainly wasn’t going to complain, but I didn’t really understand their motivation. Didn’t they know that computers were for video games? Those same video games that they had said were a big waste of time when they had refused to buy any of the gaming consoles — okay, pretty much just the original Nintendo at that point — that you connected to your television? Those same video games that they insisted would do nothing but rot our brains?

Nope, sure didn’t!

They thought that computers were just for spreadsheets and word processors and 3D wire-frame representations of things. I don’t think they were terribly happy when I saved up and promptly went on a video game buying spree. But it was very educational, the whole process. I learned quite quickly that I was no good at video games whatsoever. My cousins could pick up a new game and start hacking and slashing their way through it in seconds. I would just walk into walls or crash into trees and then die. And I never really got any better.

So I was rather excited, in 1991, when a totally new style of game called Civilization came out. I saved up and bought it, knowing nothing more about it than the caption on the back of the box. I promptly fell in love with it, and to my own astonishment, proved to have far more of a knack for it than most of my compatriots. It occupied many hours of my life, as have each successive reincarnation of the game. No other series has managed to get me quite as addicted as Civilization, although I admit the Diablo series gave it a good run for its money.

What was the first video game to ever get you horribly addicted, and why?

  • tiberiusẅisë

    I'm not very good at most games either. Dr. Mario was an exception. It's like tetris for dummies. I therefore excel at it.

    <img src="; width="300">

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      It was you! Thanks, my wife and I play this vs. each other almost every night. Somehow I won yesterday even! Right now I am terribly addicted to Yoshi, another falling block game. The first was likely Contra. After I beat it with 30 lives no continues, I decided I should be able to beat it with 3 lives and continues. With a lot of practice and memorization I was able too. I never was able to win with just three lives though, I did get very far though, because I got a Lynx with California Games. Then it was all about that bike game and maximizing my points or minimizing my time. Then I went on a stint of learning to shuffle cards really well. I'm easily amused.

      • GlassOnion9

        The fact that you got anywhere in Contra with 3 lives is a freaking miracle. I bow to your 1337 5ki11z

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

          It's not that difficult a game, watch how slowly the bullets go. Now Super-C on the other hand, the turrets can shoot more than just at 8 directions! I have never beaten that one sadly though I did try when it came out on the Wii VC. You just have to be tenacious with these old games. They are like crack to me since you can get a little further than before with practice.

  • Super Mario Bros was my first addiction. Especially once all the kids at school told me all the secret cheats.

  • OA5599

    I used to play a fair amount of Space Invaders at the arcade, a quarter at a time. One day dad brought home a 2600 with that cartridge. I played it a handful of times, then got bored with both the console and arcade versions.

  • Number_Six

    My first video game addiction was to a lame Atari game with two flat WWI aircraft that didn't do much other than loop the loop. When you fired the gun, one pellet would go across the screen and then go 'round the Horn' and appear back on the other side of the screen. The name escapes me and I can't find a screenshot. My brother and I wore out a set of controllers on this game alone.

    These days I'm still fully addicted to Civilizations. I first played it at university back in 1992 and I'm on Civ V with no sign of quitting.

    • randomusername

      Similar to Sopwith? I used to play this on the PC.[youtube wsE5xna401s youtube]

      • GlassOnion9

        Gah! You beat me to it. And with video!

      • Number_Six

        It looked like that and may well have been. However, I think it may have been black&white and had no ground targets.

    • GlassOnion9

      Perhaps something like this?

      <img src="; width=350 />

      Sopwith Camel!

  • pj134

    I have been playing games for my entire life, so it is difficult to pinpoint the first addiction. The first game I remember longing to play when I got home was Command and Conquer. I don't think that was a true addiction though. I think my first addiction came when we got our brand new 1 GHz(!!!!) Compaq in 2000 (The Ravens were playing in the Super Bowl the day it was brought home). Shortly after purchase, a 14.4 kbps stream of glorious AOL was coming through, along with getting knocked off the internet every time the phone rang. Shortly after that, CS occupied nearly every moment of my prepubescent thoughts… So I'd go with CS.

  • skitter

    I jumped from DOS games to Need For Speed III. At the time, we would download long vehicles, which one player would use as a roadblock for the AI. I found and loaded the game a couple of years ago, just for nostalgia, and beat it fairly immediately. Wait… this used to be hard? On the other hand, downloadable content for that game and others, as well as demos, taught me what little I know about file structures, drivers, and troubleshooting.

  • FЯeeMan


    Closely followed by Centipede.

    I got tons of cash for my Bar Mitzvah, put it all in the bank. Bought a bike, then literally quartered the rest away at the arcade. It didn't help that the bank was on the way home from Jr High, and right across the street from the mall with a nice arcade.

    • The Professor

      I got hooked on the arcade versions Centipede and Tempest, in fact I still like them and I still stink at them.

      • FЯeeMan

        After that, I played a lot of Castle Wolfenstein and Lemmings on the Apple ][

        • The Professor

          Oh yeah, Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple. Schweinhund, schweinhund, schweinhund that used to crack me up.

  • Atari 2600 in general. Probably Space Invaders and Asteroids. I could play Joust for hours with a friend. Going to the arcade was a rare treat and I usually wasn't that good at those games anyways. I skipped the whole Nintendo thing and just played games on a Commodore 64 instead. Then DOS/PC games and Sega Genesis, then PS One, PS2, XBOX, XBOX360, Wii (realized the only good game was Wii sports), and PS3.

    • The Professor

      The 2600 was probably my more serious addiction after it came out. Missile Command was one of my favourites. I stunk at arcade games too, save for pinball (I wasn't a Wizard, but a Professor), and it pissed me off to lose my money so fast. I played a lot of Atari 800 games later on.

  • GlassOnion9

    I played quite a few DOS games growing up, but my first video game addiction was probably a MUD that I played for quite some time.
    After that, it was Quake and mods for it (especially Team Fortress).

    I've also spent WAY too many hours to count on Civilization II and Diablo (I and II).

    • Deartháir

      I haven't even looked into it yet, but I know Civ V has a multiplayer mode. I don't know how it works, but I wonder if we can get a tournament going of some sort.

      • Number_Six

        That would be fun. However, I stink at Civ V so far…

        • Deartháir

          Even better! That means I might actually win! Once.

      • GlassOnion9

        Yes, because with the basement of the house to finish and the baby on the way I really need another thing to spend time on….


        No, actually this sounds like a lot of fun. Perhaps I will have to buy Civ V after all.

  • <img src="; width="450">

    3 in Three.

    It was either that or work on my thesis. I didn't get to play it in color, of course.

    • Well, that turns out to be not true; I wasn't thinking back far enough. In high school I got hooked on Miser for the Commodore PET. The whole thing is shown here:….

      or it can be downloaded in several formats here:

      Careful, though, as it'll occupy several KB. It was, however, the only game for which my school had a commercial copy on tape, so we didn't have to type in the code ourselves.

  • Sadly, I didn't even have to think for this answer. Pitfall!

    <img width=500 src=""&gt;

    • The Professor

      I knew the guys who wrote the Atari 800 version of that game. I helped with the testing, and I can't stand the game anymore.

    • RahRahRecords

      It was pitfall II for me. It took me months to finally get all the way through it.

  • randomusername

    My first game "addiction" was Stunts. Awesome game. [youtube TxANYMqd8cY youtube]

    Can't remember what i played for the next five years, but then it was Flight Simulator -95, Grand Prix 2, Interstate -76 and Red Alert, which was the first game i played online IIRC. Then it was CS until 2002, kind of lost interest in games after that.

    • zaddikim

      I _loved_ Stunts. O remember there being a bug in it – if you got the IndyCar to top speed then went off-road, it would not slow down.

      I still have the floppies for it somewhere too – I should totally install Stunts and X-Wing in DOSBox


  • TechieInHell

    Dr.Do! Cabinet arcade machine. Then Dig Dug ripped it off.

    • tiberiusẅisë

      Wasn't that Mr. Do?

      • TechieInHell

        <opens MAME>
        <searches through ROM library>

        Well, how about that? You're right!

        <loses 3 hours playing it again>

  • aastrovan

    My first was "Pong"..At the time that and Tandy trs 80 computers were hot new technology.

    • tiberiusẅisë

      I recall playing the text Star Trek game on TRS -80s in High School. If you fired negative energy amounts through the phasers it replenished your energy level.

      <img src="; width="600">

      • B72

        That game was awesome! We used to experiment with making one big awesome ship vs. Lots of basic little things. Even decoys that had 1 build point for movement and nothing else.

        Lots of smaller ships seemed to work well. Didn't know about firing negative energy though!

  • TX_Stig

    Commander Keen. I got in tons of trouble for ignoring the folks while playing that one.

    • zaddikim

      I remember wasting obscene amounts of time on Commander Keen on the ol' 486. I wasn't too hot on the first one, but II and III were wicked fun.

      I wish I still had floppies for those, but abandonware sites will likely be a better choice.

  • Sim City. I spent countless hours playing the original on my Amiga. I then spent quite some time playing Sim City 2000 on PC.

  • The Professor

    Jumpman for the Atari 800 was addictive as hell:

    <img src="; style="border:2px solid black;" alt=" " border="2" width="400">

    • Deartháir

      God, I remember that one! It drove me nuts in the later levels, because the controller I had was too touchy for the higher levels. I could never actually get the little bastard to climb the ladders; he'd just jump back and forth to either side of it and not actually climb. And then I'd die.

  • The first COMPUTER game I was addicted to was Arkanoid on the C64.

    <img src=""&gt;

    The first VIDEO game I was addicted to was Jungle Hunt. We had one where I worked (Pontillo's Pizzeria at 97th and Lyndale in Bloomington, MN) in the fall of 1982. I could run the level loop almost indefinitely.

    <img src="; width="384">

  • Mr_Biggles

    While it may not fall under the heading of video game per se, I spent a lot of time playing Coleco's Electronic Quarterback when I was 10 or 12 or so.
    <img src=""&gt;
    My brother "permanently borrowed" one from a friend of his. I used to play it under the covers at night after I had gone to bed because the little red blips representing the players looked so much cooler in the dark. One of the best tricks for playing was to start out making a pass play, moving your receiver blip up in front of your QB and blocker blips, and then flicking the toggle up to the run play. That way you had 2 blockers in line in front of you and could motor straight through the opposition by using them both up. No idea how I still remember that…

    Around the same era I dumped a significant number of quarters into Missile Command. Loved that game to. I saved quarters and played even more once I realized the machine at the local mini-arcade was dumb enough to accept slugs from electrical boxes and even some plain old flat washers of the correct size.

  • coupeZ600

    I murdered a gazillion Asteroids when I was a kid, but have you ever played the board game version of Civilization?

    Between college and parenthood I lived at a "Party House" where we had Punk-Rock shows almost every weekend, and Sunday morning was kind of a "Muck-Out Day" (we were far too wise to clean the House before a party). My room was just off the Main Party Room so I would come out Sunday morning and every one still there would scream ,"Yay!"

    The Board game doesn't work so well with less than six players, but you just need to be "around" and since I wasn't really fired up on playing board games or cleaning up I always got sucked in. So three or eight beers later not only have you mopped the floors and hauled all the broken glass out to the dumpster, you're about ready to seriously kick some Carthaginian ass!

    • GlassOnion9

      I actually have the board game. Not sure where I got it. At some point I ended up with a bunch of old strategy board games in near perfect condition (Civ, Diplomacy, Axis and Allies). I still haven't played Civ, but it looks awesome.

      Apparently the game I have (Civilization, not Sid Meyer's Civilization) is not the same game. It is an older now out of print game that usually takes 8-12 hours to play.
      Never mind.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        We have Railroad Tycoon the boardgame, it rocks! It is the largest board game that I have ever seen, took most of the ping pong table-up with freaking towers even! It took many evenings to play, I loved it, my wife hated it, man I want to play again, soon my kids will all be old enough!

      • coupeZ600

        No! That's the one! You can seriously get absolutely wasted playing an 8-12 hour game…..

        • GlassOnion9

          Sweet. And the strategy gets more and more… strategic as the drinking goes on.

  • [youtube ehglJMdsaVo&feature=related youtube]

    All of the Test Drive on Commadore 64 had me hooked. If I dig deep enough I bet I still have every copy of the game. My crack addiction stopped after Test Drive Unlimited. I played it, liked it but bought the second version.