A Gamer’s Bucket List
As it stands I’ve been gaming for over two decades, the word decade makes me sound old (I don’t think I like that). In all honestly as it stands I’m already about halfway through my second decade of gaming. Basically, I’m just refusing to write my age down, but it’s been a while since I began my journey of playing video games. As I thought about those years I pondered what my gaming bucket list would be, what I would deem important milestones and what do I want to experience. I’m going to share with you all my bucket list, which is compiled of gaming experiences I’ve had or hope to have that I feel all gamers should experience. You might have achieved all of these or none of these but if you feel I’ve missed any off please comment or even tweet me @StuartPurcell3.
Play the Classics
Believe it or not, there was a time when there was no such thing as Call of Duty or Minecraft. No shops or online stores devoted to thousands upon thousands of titles and genres. Games didn’t have incredible graphics or the most intuitive gameplay but gamers would play games like Pong, Frogger, Pacman, Donkey Kong and Asteroids for hours on end. Often to play they would leave the house with bags full of coins to play and play at an arcade with friends. I want you to think of these game like you would with reading literature. Even though you might have a favourite genre or you may only read books with pictures (not judging) everyone will tell you to read the classics. If you are struggling to find the motivation to play a classic game then first watch the documentary King of Kong featuring Steve Wiebe in a competition to beat the high score on Donkey Kong. The documentary is a masterpiece and will provide you with the motivation needed. I have Frogger open in a separate tab distracting me from writing as we speak.
Hit the Wall
I don’t mean this literally, although in Burnout that would earn you some killer points. I’m talking about reaching a point in a game that you just can’t get past and feel like you never will. If you’ve played any games you’ve probably hit the wall before, maybe even thrown the controller and turned the console off. The important part here about being a gamer is that you always turn that console back on, pick up that controller and try it again (it’s usually 5 minutes later). I will share with you all my tip for what I do when I hit the wall, I change the game for a bit or take a break. Sounds an obvious one but I’ve seen videos and pictures of people smashing TV’s and breaking game discs, just change the game. I’ve recently been playing through Arkham Knight and I’ll admit that I hit the wall a few times with the Riddler trials and its hard to walk away but I find playing a sports game a really good escape from hitting the wall. Shouting “Fuck You Riddler” helps too.
Use a Cheat Code
Something that’s not very common in our current gen of games but was very prominent in the PlayStation One era is a cheat code. There were cheat codes to give the gamer an unfair advantage while playing such as; invincibility, every weapon, extra armour, unlimited cash, unlimited ammo extra characters and unlimited lives. Also, codes to make the gamer smile such as; big head mode, paintball mode, exploding characters, floating, flying and outrageous weapons and accessories. Gaming isn’t meant to be taken so seriously so grab a game and try a cheat code and see how much fun you have, pretty sure I’ve never played GTA without using cheat codes. There have been loads that I remember from my years of gaming but two have forever been etched into my brain. The first is from Manx TT on the Sega Saturn which had a cheat code for sheep mode, allowing your bike to be transformed into a sheep and you can race him at 100’s MPH. The second will be familiar to loads as the famous naked Lara cheat from Tomb Raider that turned out to be a huge myth. Uncalled for Eidos, uncalled for.
You’re either really enjoying a game, trying to get past a difficult part or feeling extra competitive and you refuse to go to sleep. The all-nighter is a must for every gamer and one that needs to be ticked off. In all honestly, I’ve not done one for quite a long time as I’m getting old now and I get sleepy plus I have a job and it was much easier when I was young and a student. I do look back fondly and remember me and my friend, Tom, deciding at about midnight we wanted to beat Tekken 3 with every character in the game, around the time of completion it was light outside. Recently I decided I would stay up all night to finish the Uncharted games but I won’t even tell you what time I just gave up and went to bed, you’ll judge me.
Introduce a non-gamer to games
Firstly this can be a really great thing if it’s not done in a preachy way and you get the tactics right. If your goal is to get your Grandma to play league of Legends or Call of Duty then you may fail at that one though if you do succeed then you have a dangerous set of skills my friend. Pick your target carefully and choose an area of gaming you think they may enjoy, your Grandma might like to play Brain Training on the DS or enjoy playing Mah-jong on a PC or tablet. Games like Wii Fit/Sports, Guitar Hero, and dance-mat type games have served as a great way to get non-gamers playing games. The beauty behind introducing someone to games is that it can become a great way to bond with a niece/nephew or become your favourite activity to do with your son or daughter. One of my early gaming memories was my Grandad letting me play Lemmings on what I think was a Commodore 64. It also gives you the opportunity to school your cousin and all his friends, who think they are amazing at FIFA but you’ve been playing since before they were even born. YEAH!
Host a Gaming night
Over the years, I have attended a few gaming tournaments at friends’ houses, mainly FIFA or Halo and I think the occasional SingStar and Wii bowling night in there too. FIFA is a great one because it’s a game anyone can pick up and play and there isn’t really much of a steep learning curve, plus it’s a game that lots of my friends play. I’m currently in the process of trying to organise a retro games night, featuring some of my favourite multiplayer games (I just need to track them all down). Nothing is better than a room full of your friends all in full competitive mode, even if you’re playing for pride. There are an entire host and even a website dedicated to FIFA forfeits for when someone loses by more than 5 goals. Check out www.fifaapologyrules.co.uk. I’m still planning my retro gaming night because I want it to be pretty epic so lots of planning is still needed, not just money to buy all the retro games I want people to be able to play. If you’re struggling for ideas on what to play on your gaming night then check out my article on my favourite multi players:
(that’s right, I’m not above a shameless self-promotion).
Complete a game on the hardest setting
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, what? You don’t automatically play on the hardest setting being as awesome as you are? Well, no in all honestly I tend to play it on medium or the equivalent setting and will judge from there if I’m going to need to go up or down. I’ll admit here and now that sometimes I put a game in easy mode, yes I know I’m a loser. If your biggest complaint is that games are often too easy, if Dark Souls is your bread and butter then this one probably means nothing to you. For those of us who often don’t venture past normal game modes, it’s a goal to push for. Also, if you enjoy more of a casual gaming experience then attempt a game that you would normally never play or a difficulty setting you wouldn’t normally try. When they re-release Arkham Asylum for PlayStation 4 I feel like having already completed it in every mode except hard that will be the one, I’m coming for you Scarecrow!
Waste hours completing a pointless task or mission
A few may believe that gaming, in general, is fulfilling this goal, what I’m really talking about are the parts of a game that aren’t essential to finishing the story but you feel compelled to do them. A few good examples are devoting days of your life to just leveling up your Pokémon, collecting those annoying Riddler trophies and spending 3 hours obtaining a specific sword in Morrowind because you thought it looked cool. Most games these days have annoying side missions but some of them become little obsessions and I think it’s a great part of gaming that all gamers should experience. I remember my friend Jon playing an Indiana Jones game and deciding he had to go back nearly halfway through the game because Indie had dropped his hat. This is completely different to that urge you get to play GTA whilst completely obeying the law, which usually lasts 5 minutes.
Have fun playing a bad game
My main motto for video games doesn’t take them too seriously and they are meant to be fun. So that being said don’t shy away from games simply because they haven’t been well received by critics or friends have said you’re an idiot for wanting to play. Back in the days of video game rental shops a friend and I rented Blade 2 on Ps2 for a weekend. I’m not going to lie it’s a bad game, I think the average score is around 49/100 at least that what it got on Metacritic. These ratings look really bad but my friend and I had an absolute blast playing this game, taking it in turns to fight the evil vampires of the world. I had a similar experience with the same friend whilst playing a Dragon ball Z game. Now the game wasn’t bad, we just had no idea what was going on but we had a great time mashing the pad and seeing random combos and signature moves (without knowing how it happened). Another benefit to playing some really bad games, besides the obvious fun, is that this gives you a great appreciation for the time and effort that goes into making the spectacular games we all love. For inspiration on this, you need only turn to Gamer Laughs very own Sam Marshall who has an understanding and love for bad games. Read his Naughty Bear review here:
Confession time again as I admit that despite owning the latest generation consoles and having internet access I have never played a game online. I could argue that PlayStation now requires users to have a PlayStation Plus membership to play online and that’s why but it isn’t, I just haven’t liked the idea. I could also say that my game time is when I relax and I don’t need to be verbally assaulted by a 10-year-old. When a friend phones and tells me to come online so we can play against each other I always respond by saying just come over, oh and bring beer with you. It’s amazing to think that I can play a game against anyone in the world over the internet so I need to embrace this and give it a go. I probably need to get in some practice first, though.
When I first heard all the announcements and buzz I wasn’t completely blown away, I thought it seems like another fad that most will get bored of. With the release of the Oculus Rift and PlayStation, VR expected in October of this year gameplay footage is starting to surface and I take back what I said it looks incredible. Footage from the driving games looks great, giving gamers the ability to see 360 degrees around the driver’s seat of a racing car. Plus playing survival horror games wearing VR gear seems like it would be terrifyingly good fun. The price being the only reason I haven’t pre-ordered the PlayStation VR it definitely makes my gaming bucket list. I have to try this!
So there you have it, this is my definitive gaming bucket list. I may come back to this in a few years to add stuff and to write about the experiences I’ve had ticking bits off. If you think I’ve missed anything or you want to share your own list please comment, email or tweet me.
Meanwhile, deep underground somewhere in Manchester, terrifyingly sinister plots are being schemed. But back in reality I’m usually just playing video games, reading comics and watching cartoons.
Ben Praster11 Posts
Somewhere in sunny Southern California lives Ben Praster and his growing collection of video games. He can pinpoint his gaming roots with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the first game he ever owned was Sonic CD. He has been playing video games for over 20 years and shows no sign of stopping. When he isn't playing video games, he is spending time with his family, writing his book (in which he prays to get published) or outside seeing the sun.