How computer games programmed my brain.

This post came out of something I mentioned in the third Commander’s Log Podcast (download here), a phobia of rotating black oblongs. Well at least they were black for me in the Atari ST. I suppose they were the same for other versions of Elite.

I’m talking about docking at a Coriolis Space Station. Scary stuff, at least in the early days when I couldn’t do it.

It got me thinking about what other permanent marks have been made on my psyche thanks to computer games. I’ve come up with a list below of the ones that come immediately to mind. It’s actually kind of scary the lasting impact these games have had.

So for the gamers out there – do you have a list too? What indelible marks have games left for you? Let me know!



Another one for Elite – the Blue Danube played in the forms of Atari ST beeps brings back a big nostalgia rush. We got my son a toy CD player for his birthday (you put the plastic ‘cd’ with grooves on it into the cd player, and this tells the CD player which internal recorded songs to play. The Blue Danube is one of them and it sounds exactly the same as it did on the Atari ST. A good purchase that one.

Half Life

The toilets at work are deep in the building with no external light source. There are fluro lights overhead. I charge into the toilet in the darkness, flicking the light switch as I go. It takes a few moments to start flicking, and then it does, flickering on and off rapidly before coming alive. Every time, and I mean EVERY time, I get a shiver down my spine and I have to fight the urge to turn around in the fear a face crab is about to grab me.

Is this just me?

Jagged Alliance

After playing this game for so many years I have this odd habit of describing things in a deep bassy voice, and then chucking on further description like ‘in good condition’ or less appropriately ‘with six bullets’.

So I might be in the kitchen and see the coffee machine out of place, so I’ll murmur to myself *deep bass voice* “A coffee machine. In dire need of repair. With six bullets.”

It broke my heart when Jagged Alliance 2 came out with no voice over. That was, like, the best part of the game.

Yes, I am strange. Thanks for asking.

Duke Nukem

This one isn’t so bad but I do find myself often saying things like ‘Damn, those alien bastards are going to pay for the shooting of my ride’ and saying them completely out of place and completely out of context. Normally when no one else is around though . . .


3 responses to “How computer games programmed my brain.

  1. I come from the old school. I discovered the proper pattern to move Ms. Pacman to clear the number of boards necessary to “make babies” and would replay that pattern in my brain, keeping myself awake every night in my college dorm room bunk-bed.

  2. haha, good post John! Here’s hoping the new Jagged Alliance on kickstarter brings back the voiceover. Oh and the half life thing, definitely isn’t just you.

    couple of mine:

    “Plebs are needed!” from Caesar 2. Anytime i need something done at work by my team (or any other random time, basically)

    While driving I’m scanning the environment for hazards (as good drivers do, right?) and imagining an HUD with target reticules for identifying hazards – this leads to visualizing floating spinning weapons on the sidewalk and keeping an eye on my ammo count (or is that a speedometer). Actually that is slightly nuts.

  3. Pingback: Spacey Gamey News and Dealsies 4/24-26/13: The Everybody’s Working for the Weekend Edition | Space Game Junkie

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