12 computer games that devoured my soul

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Atari by Cody Hamilton

I've spent a good part of the last couple of weeks playing Ghost Recon on my roomie's new XBox 360. This basically involves me finding a nice snipering position and waiting there for hours on end until I've picked off all the bad guys. During a stint of this virtual ennui I got to thinking about all the time I've wasted over the years playing computer games. So here, for nobody's amusement but my own, is a brief history of my gaming life:

Tetris (Gameboy, The Dawn of Time - present day)

More of a brain infection than a game really. Try to get to sleep after playing Tetris for too long and you can still see blocks falling down behind your closed eyes. Terrifying.

Citadel (BBC B, circa 1988)

How come the BBC made computers? Why did they stop making them?

Empire Strikes Back (Atari 2600, circa 1988)

This game had no end - those bloody AT-ATs just kept on coming and there was nothing you could do but hold them back for a few more moments. Sometimes the background colour changed. I now realise that this game was basically teaching me everything I needed to know about life.

Rockstar Ate My Hamster (Atari ST, circa 1991)

There aren't enough games these days based on libellous headlines aboout Freddie Starr.

Speedball 2 (Amiga, circa 1994)

At some point soon this fantasticaly violent sport will become a reality, and I want to be there to sell the ice creams.

Zool (Amiga, circa 1993)

A "ninja from the Nth dimension". I mostly remember this because it's what I played when I first got a CD player. I'd listen to my two prized CDs on repeat for hours on end whilst jumping about collecting coins (or whatver Zool had to do). The CDs? "Oh Carolina" by Shaggy and "All That She Wants" by Ace Of Bass. Ahem.

Treasure Island Dizzy (Amiga, circa 1994)

Back in the days when you had to complete an entire game in one sitting. If you die, you have to start again. From the beginning. Where you started six hours ago.

Monkey Island 2 (Amiga 1200, circa 1994)

Whilst watching Corpse Bride the other night I realised that Tim Burton should make this into a stop-motion film. There's just something about the set design and the tone of it.

Worms (Amiga 1200, circa 1996)

During my first weeks at uni I made loads of friends simply by owning this, DJ Shadow's Endtroducing … and a pair of goldfish called Kylie and Jason.

Twisted Metal 2 World Tour (Playstation, 1996 - present day)

I've played this at least once a week for the past ten years. It's more than a game, but I can't really explain why.

Command and Conquer, Red Alert 2 (Playstation, circa 1999)

There's something quite disturbing about watching your best friend (wearing a red hammer and sickle t-shirt) assemble dozens of tanks in a perfect square with one determined objective. Not to destroy your troops. Not to destroy your base. To destroy you. You and your pig-dog capitalist ways.

Timesplitters 2 (Playstation 2, circa 2005)

Shoot aliens! Shoot monkeys! Shoot your flatmate until he throws his controller at the screen!