Roberto Selbach

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The day a videogame changed my life

Last night, as I tried getting my three year-old to sleep so I could play my brand-new copy of NHL 13, I had an epiphany of sorts. It dawned on me how much videogames influenced my real-life pleasures. And the story actually started a long time ago.

https://i2.wp.com/cd.textfiles.com/gifgalaxy/PROGRAMS/VGACOPY.GIF?w=640The story begins in a rather pleasant Saturday afternoon in late 1993. We went into a shoddy building, walked up the stairs to the first floor and found this rather unassuming office at the end of the hall. We skimmed over a thick catalog of game titles and started picking a few we wanted to try. They were cheap, pirated games. After selecting the titles, the guy there noted them down and asked us to wait. In the back, two guys got some floppy disks and started copying the games for us with VGAcopy. Nice!

Of the games we bought, only one I can still remember: NHL Hockey. To that day, I had only a general idea of what hockey was: Soccer on the ice. We picked it simply because the clerk there told us it was good.

We went home that day and probably tried some of the other, now-forgotten games, but then we installed NHL Hockey from the floppies to MS-DOS. We were both hooked instantly! The game had an arena atmosphere that later version never quite managed to reproduce. We did not know the many rules of hockey, we learned as we played. I remember vividly as my friend pumped up the volume on the PC when the game would play an 8-bit version of “We will rock you” while two cartoon hands clapped on the virtual jumbotron.

http://www.igcent.com/images/stories/nhl96.jpgWe played that game throughout that night and into Sunday. It was fast. It was fun. We were hooked. NHL 96 was the first game I ever legally bought. And I’ve bought almost every version since then.

Back to how it influenced my real-life, playing the game got me into Hockey as a sport. A Brazilian hooked on Hockey? Not supposed to happen, but one likes what one likes. It also indirectly started my love affair with Canada, but that’s a different story. Following Hockey was not easy until I found a radio that streamed games and later the League started offering live vide streaming for which I have been gladly paying an exorbitant amount of money for half a decade or so. I’ve experienced a similar effect thanks to the Madden and NBA Live series, but NHL Hockey will always be a special case for me.

I realized that thru hockey I’ve made friends, some of whom are real good friends. And all of this started because a couple of decades ago we got some pirated games in a Saturday afternoon.

Want to make a comment or suggestion? Do you feel like you need to correct me for not fitting the Standard Brazilian Specification? Feel free to talk to (or scream at) me, I’m @robteix on App.net and also on Twitter.