Young, innocent me loading up Abe's Oddworld for the first time on PC only to be greeted with a title screen.. and as I plugged in the speakers which automatically defaulted to the loudest volume, the ugly mugs face popped out to say "hello". I remember falling off my seat.
1. Super Mario Bros + Duck Hunt: I was amazed at the quality even as a child and the whole "I can shoot at my tv with the gun" was great.
2. Mario 64: I owned a Saturn and a PS1 as well, but nothing wow'd me like Mario 64. Just loved everything about this game and really sold 3D gaming to me.
3. VR: When I got my hands on the Oculus Dev Kit I was so amazed that I didn't care about the quality of the screen.
4: Roomscale VR: I got to try the Vive at PAX Prime/West before it came out and I knew I was getting one at launch after I got to sample The Gallery with roomscale tracking. It felt very similar to when I first tried Mario 64.
1- when playing Uncharted 3 and I jumped from a high place into the water, Drake flawlessly made a diving animation. My jaw dropped.
2- when replaying Witcher 2, made a different choice the end of chapter 1 that completely changed chapter 2 from my first run.
3- Landing with the Mako in some giant uncharted planet in Mass Effect 1 for the first time, I was already very impressed with the game and then it throwed that at me with an amazing sky box and a planet to explore. I was blown away.
1. SubRoc 3-D (Arc) - This was the closest thing to VR in the early '80s, 3d imagery combined with high end graphics.
2. Star Wars (Arc) - The 3d vector graphics, cockpit setting, and sturdy flight controls were incredible.
3. Dragon's Lair (Arc) - It's an actual cartoon you can play. The gameplay was limited but man was it impressive to look at.
4. Phantasy Star (SMS) - Those 3d dungeons and scope in a console game.
5. Galaxy Force (Arc) - The Super Deluxe had real movement and the most advanced scaler visuals yet.
6. Shadow of the Beast (Amiga) - That parallax and detail.
7. STUN Runner (Arc) - Good luck!
8. Ys: Book I & II (TGCD) - CD-ROM gaming.
9. Virtua Fighter (Arc) - Character movement that was so real.
10. Doom (PC)- I couldn't believe a home format was running a 3d experience this advanced.
Those are ten that blew me away from the '80s and early '90s, especially from a technology standpoint. Playing modern VR for the first time at the Microsoft store with an HTC Vive a few years ago was like recapturing that feeling.
1. GTA 3. I'd played GTA before but seeing this modern, open world game in 3D was insane to me.
2. San Andreas. Specifically the mission when you drive into San Fierro and start to slowly realize how enormous the map is.
World of Warcraft. The first time you got and used your flying mount in the first Burning Crusade expansion. It was so fluid and natural, and after spending hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in Vanilla on the traditional mounts it was mind bending.
Playing Carmageddon in elementary school
Playing the Starcraft demo in high school (on LAN)
Playing WarHeads & Elastomania in high school
Mario Party tug o war + insanity with local multiplayer back in the N64 days
Hexen couch coop on N64
Playing endless hours of Smash 64 then Melee
As far as particular moments go for me:
Reaching the PSO Dark Falz area for the first time + the eering atmosphere. Olga Flow too with EP I & II.
Ocarina of Time: young to adult Link. Unmatched epicness in the series IMO.
Xenoblade Chronicles : last fights from the main story, wasn't expecting it to go that wide
"They're monsters to you?" from SH3 + the blood room
RE4 blind monster with bells, very clever design and scary moment
Tipping my first every virtual stripper in Duke Nukem 3D
Playing Diablo 1 online on 56ko with my limited knowledge of English (I remember asking for arms, because in French arme = weapon). Guy who was there said sure, you want a leg too? Took me some time to understand.
1. Multiplayer in Red Alert.
2. Planescape Torment the entire game.
3. Battletech pods at the arcade.
=== wasteland/WoW period===
I have many memorable moments in the six years of playing WoW, going for server firsts etc but ultimately nothing really significant. It's like a really long visit to a theme park, but doesn't beat a really good book.
6. DCS/Il-2/XPlane11 every session.
7. VR flight sim, related to (6).
Frontier certainly is up there, it did some very interesting things.
IE. (List of features on Amiga, PC had addition of texture mapping.)
A milky way.
Local planetary systems in realistic scale without floating point and no restriction for travel. (Planets, cities, space stations, moons, asteroids.. and so on.) Flat polygons with one curved edge, analytic ball/circle, bezier line rasterizers.
Tone mapping to fit colors in local space into new array of 16 colors each frame. (Reason why nebulas flicker in/out existence..)
All fitting in 8800kB disk and only taking ~400kB of it.
2. SNES games on a handheld - I grew up with an N64 and SNES/Genesis so I never really experienced the transition to 3D but they’ve always co-existed to me. 3D wasnt more advanced to me it was just different. So seeing SNES games like ALttP on my GBA was insane.
3. Would you kindly?
4. FF6 World of Ruin - What I thought was the end of the game was only the end of the second act. The scope of the world and story opened in ways I did not expect from a story on SNES.
5. Super Hot VR - Didn’t think I could experience video games like it was new again till I played this.
1. Beating a castle in Super Mario World and watching the overworld transform in response. It made me feel like my actions had a lasting impact.
2. Throwing a grenade down one of the gargantuan shafts of the Library in Halo: Combat Evolved. It landed about a dozen decks down and I watched it explode, which meant Bungie bothered to physically render a playspace just because. The sheer scale for a game that old is still mind boggling, back then it was simply unparalleled.
3. Sliding down the ladder and simultaneously shrinking onto the board game the feuding Bonapartes are playing in Psychonauts. Despite being full of levels that floored me with their creativity, that transition absolutely remains the most memorable piece of that experience. It was so seamless it seemed almost impossible to achieve with technology.
4. The opening of Bioshock. It was my first real HD experience. I simply couldn't believe the production value. When the water droplets started pouring down the screen, I actually reached out and touched them and laughed at how convincing it was. Now they are dated, but then, I was astounded.
5. My first couple matches of the original Titanfall. To this day, one of the only next-gen experiences I have had. Running around in those MASSIVE maps with all their unique ecosystems is still a cut above every other multiplayer shooter on the market to me. Even Titanfall 2 couldn't recapture the sheer accomplishment and innovation of Titanfall 1 to me.
escaping from Los Santos to San Fierro via the van journey
becoming the blob
receiving the boat ticket and discovering the previous game’s entire world, the Kanto region, is in the game
First playing the Skate demo - having devoured all prior media, previews etc, for the game to play exactly as I'd hoped and guessed from the videos was incredible, became one of my favourite games of all time
shooting an arrow into the sun to get fire arrows in Ocarina of Time. a puzzle solution that took advantage of the 3D world, of perspective, of a specific moment in time in the game - that blew my mind
Being down on the idea of Metroid Prime being a FPS(so I thought), I didn't expect much when I picked up the controller at the GameCube demo kiosk at Toys R Us. Luckily, within minutes, I realized the game wasn't an FPS: it was just Metroid in first person. I was instantly sold of the game.
Every fight against Baldur in Bayonetta 2 was a OMG moment for me. Legit playing an art piece each time. More recently, the first encounter with The Stranger in God of War. Literally took me from not caring about the game to being obsessed.
It was so incredible. The artists at ND are really master of colour theory, design language, intent, composition and storytelling. When all of these things come together, it’s magical! I live for these moments and ND seems to always have them up there sleeves in their games.
The things that immediately pop in my mind -
Playing the original Doom demo.
Playing Final Fantasy X for the first time. The scale and scope were unlike anything I had seen.
The true ending of 999.
Realizing _that_ thing in The Witness.
I was pretty cool about gaming, until I saw Virtua Racing.
Then it was Doom.
Then it was Virtual Fighter 2.
Then it was TIE Fighter.
Then it was Quake.
Then it was Wing Commander 3.
Then it was Ocarina of Time.
Then it was Final Fantasy 8.
Then it was Jedi Knight.
Then it was Baldur's Gate 2.
Then it was Morrowind.
Then it was Half Life.
Then it was Counterstrike.
And that's enough for now.
1. Beating Atari Adventure on the 2600. It wasn't like it ended with a bang, but it ended, and up until that point I'd only played games like Pacman and Galaga and those kinds of score attack games that didn't really have endings.
2. Playing The Legend of Zelda on the NES. It was like someone made a "real life" version of Atari Adventure, plus that gold cart...it was like a gift from the gods to a young boy at the time.
3. Seeing Super Mario World at my friends' for the first time. I told my parents we needed to get a Super Nintendo. I remember specifically saying to them "Look, I'm not saying the graphics are realistic, but they are probably as realistic as video game graphics are ever going to get." They got me one the next christmas.
4. Metroid Prime/Resident Evil 4/Wind Waker on the Gamecube. I basically stopped playing games all through high school and most of university and only got back into them when I lost my license for a bit and needed to do something at home to kill the time, so I decided to pick up a used Gamecube after not having played many games since the SNES days. Those were three of the first games I picked up, and they are really why I am on a site like ERA posting today. All total masterpieces that captured my 20-something year old imagination in a way I didn't think possible up until then.
5. Beating Dark Souls for the first time. My first playthrough I made it up to Sen's Fortress, but didn't understand anything about the game, including the fact that I was supposed to be leveling up my weapons. Eventually I came back to it with a little internet knowledge at hand and after hitting a brick wall with O&S for weeks, finally got past them then spent weeks beating the rest of the game. I've never really celebrated before after beating a video game, but I immediately went online and bought an awesome Solaire shirt, that I still own to this day, to commemorate my victory.
The first one I can recall off the top of my head would be the water in Age of Empires 2. For some reason, it impressed the shit out of me as a kid. Probably because I played a ton of Caesar 3 beforehand and the water was just blue with little to no movement.
Next would be Far Cry from 2004. That jungle and water (seeing a theme here) really captivated me. Then, HL2 came out and impressed me again.
The most profound would easily be Crysis in 2007. That was just so far ahead for its time.
Then I guess I got jaded or missed a ton of games, but it wasn't until Horizon: Zero Dawn that I was wowed again graphically.
The first arcade game I ever saw - Pac-Man - in a Godfather's Pizza in Colorado Springs, was astonishing. I'd seen and played Pong before that, but this was actual images, not dots (well, technically). It was crazy.
Zelda. The first game I ever played where it wasn't obvious what to do. The freedom was mind-blowing. That game made video games into a lifelong hobby for me. Before that, they were just interesting diversions.
Street Fighter II. The complexity of the move sets was a revelation. It was a total addiction for me, for months, and even longer once I had an SNES.
The first time I saw Wolfenstein 3D running on a friend's PC. That's what convinced me I needed a PC of my own (just in time for Doom). I'd never seen such fast, fluid 3D. Before Wolfenstein, 3D was a choppy, rather gimmicky concept.
The pack-in Playstation launch demo disc. Specifically, the one-lap Wipeout demo. Another high watermark in fluid 3D.
Mario 64 - nope. I adore the game. But the real "OMG" N64 moment was a bit later: the release of Wave Race 64. REAL WATER in a game. Not just pretty water, but real, physical, interactive water with waves that can make or break your lap time. I still maintain that it really hasn't been topped in that regard.
Soul Calibur on Dreamcast - it wasn't the game (it's just Soul Blade 2) nor the graphics that wowed me. It was the motion capture, specifically the characters' weapons demonstrations, and the lip-syncing in whatever options menu that was that let you make them say phrases.
The Metal Gear Solid 2 demo disc that came with Devil May Cry was amazing. Just walking around and looking at the water puddles, reflections, and hiding in lockers and such was more memorable than the final game turned out to be, for me.
Booting up the Gamecube for the first time. It was my first imported console, and showing it off to a friend before it was in stores (we played Monkey Ball all night) was a real treat.
Metroid Prime. Pretty much all of it, but especially those immersive moments - rain on the visor, Samus' reflection during a blast.
My first time at E3, seeing and playing Twilight Princess after that hours-long wait.