My First Game

Ryan King


With two huge blows to the high street, we decide to ask - what was the first game you ever bought?

Published on Jan 16, 2013

With HMV and Blockbuster calling in administrators this week, it looks like the days of buying new games via the high street are numbered.

It's not just because gamers are turning to online but also because of the slow, eventual shift towards digital delivery thanks to services like Steam, Xbox Live and PSN. And then there's streaming games - LoveFilm and Netflix have changed buying habits for movies and it seems inevitable that the same will happen with games. It's just a question of when.

So we've decided to ask the question - what was the first game you ever bought?

Here's what NowGamer friends and family (ie: people who work in the same office so we didn't have to walk too far to ask them) had to say:


Adam Barnes (Staff Writer, NowGamer)

What: Krusty's Super Funhouse
Where: Boots

Krusty's Super Funhouse on the Mega Drive, believe it or not, and bought in Boots of all places. Just imagine Boots selling games now. There was a crappy little stand separated from the rest of the 'proper' shelves of products, the choice was poor and in no particular order.

But it didn't matter: I was being bought a treat because I'd been such a "good boy" at the opticians, whatever that means, and the excitement of flicking through even this uninspired selection of games to pick out one that would be just for me seems to have stuck in my head for some reason. I don't remember my rationale behind picking Krusty's Super Funhouse, but I played that game to death.


David Lynch (Senior Staff Writer, NowGamer)

What: X-Wing vs Tie Fighter
Where: GAME

I was late to the X-Wing series (a fault I quickly rectified) but growing up the only PC games I played were the ones referred to me by friends.

Back then the GAME in Cardiff was a huge multi-tiered affair situated on Queen Street. Three entire levels, each dedicated to its own platform, housed tons of games and this place was always busy. The top floor kept the PC titles in those wonderfully large cardboard boxes but it was amazing how much time you could kill just looking at the range of games on offer.

I loved GAME back then, but that was probably because I loved X-Wing Vs Tie fighter so much.


Alex Evans (Staff Writer, NowGamer)

What: The Lion King
Where: PC World

Sprawling savannas and catchy tunes – that’s what I expected when I broke my games-buying virginity with The Lion King, a DOS text-based hell loaded onto about 30 floppy disks. It was cack, and explains an innate psychological aversion to PC gaming since.

But I bought it from a shop, with bricks, mortar and a suitably spotty PC World assistant handing me a receipt for my £20 purchase. Even as a five-year-old, browsing the boxes, accidentally choosing the chaff from the wheat and carefully handing over crumpled, scrimped ‘n’ saved notes from my Lego wallet, it felt exciting, with a car ride leafing through the leaflet filling my head with (later to be unmet) expectations. A rite of passage Generation Amazon just won’t know they’re missing.


Darran Jones (Editor, Retro Gamer)

What: The Apprentice
Where: Boots

It was 1987 and I had just received an Amstrad CPC 464 for my 14th birthday. The machine itself already came with 14 games, including well-loved classics like Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Oh Mummy, Sultan's Maze and Harrier Attack, but this wasn't enough for me. Never mind the fact that my poor old nan had gone without playing Bingo - her favourite past time - so that she could afford the £300 price tag. I wanted more games and I wanted them now damn it.

Heading off to Poole town centre with my £5 birthday money, worth about £150 back then. I started trawling the shelves of Boots (that’s right, Boots used to sell videogames) and finally decided to spend £2.99 on The Apprentice by Mastertronic.

Entranced by the box art, which was a complete rip-off of Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, I got on my BMX Ultra Burner, pumped the peddles as fast as I could and returned home, all in the space of about three hours.

I’d like to say I was rewarded with a masterful videogame that opened my eyes to the possibilities that gaming could offer. Unfortunately it was a load of rubbish that looked as if it had been knocked together by someone no elder than myself. Needless to say I moved over to Codemasters’ budget range and never looked back.


Sam Smith (Staff Writer, Play)

What: Super Mario All-Stars
Where: Woolworths

Pretty sure the first game bought for me in a shop, at least when I was there, was Super Mario All-Stars for SNES. Even more archaically, the shop was Woolworth's. At the time it was a big deal, games were expensive and I only ever got new ones for birthdays and Christmas.

I'm not sure why but I'd obviously earned a treat and what better than Mario All-Stars? Back when you don't have many games, having a new one bought for you out of the blue is pretty exciting. I've still got the cart, the box and even the instruction booklet knocking around somewhere. Good times.


Dan Howdle (Editor, X360)

What: Valhalla
Where: Martins

Back in the day – you know, 'the day'? When cars were horses and Thatcher took away the coal miners' marzipan allowance – games were sold in little plastic boxes on little cassette tapes. When I bought my first, there were no games shops! The concept of a shop that only sold games hadn't even been invented, certainly not in the yokel principality of Newport Pagnell, Bucks where I lived.

Instead there was Martins the newsagent, who sold non-descript-looking cassettes from beneath a pile of Action Man. Valhalla was the game, and it was remarkable in that a) It allowed you to control each limb of your warrior separately, and b) Because I swapped the price tag with a Finger Of Fudge and got it for 6p. Later, I felt bad for the kid who paid £6.99 for a mere two mouthfuls of fudgellaneous nonsense.


Matt Kamen (Freelancer, @MattKamen)

What: Cosmic Spacehead
Where: Toys 'R Us

The first game I remember buying for myself? An odd combo Mega Drive cartridge from Toys R Us, a Codemasters compilation consisting of one of the Dizzy games – I forget which – and Cosmic Spacehead.

Ironically, I can’t really remember much about the game itself now, besides it being an awkwardly controlled adventure effort, but I have nostalgic warm-and-fuzzies about standing in the store playing it on the demo pod in short bursts after school. Saving up and getting the game for myself was a big deal for 10-year-old me. I’ve never met anyone else who remembers what Cosmic Spacehead is though...


Vikki Blake (Freelancer, @_vixx)

What: Resident Evil 2
Where: HMV

When I was a kid my father used to mail order games for us because a) I'm really old and b) at the time, gaming was still considered something of a specialised pasttime.

But my first retail purchase was Resident Evil 2 from HMV. Despite having bugged the store incessantly with calls about delivery, by the time the game was actually in my hands the cover had freaked me out. I had to pretend to have played (and loved) it to the HMV counter guy for about six months until I finally found the courage to play it...



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