Thanks to everyone who entered the Playfire Newsletter competition last week.
We had some fantastic entries, each of them giving a real insight into what games you love and why. Our winner is wnwolf, whose fantastic story summed up what it's like to grow up as a gamer. Congratulations! I'll be in contact with your prize keys :D
"In 2005 I was still in university studying Computer Science. Since videogames were a big hobby of mine, I wanted to finish my Master's degree by creating a videogame of my own. I had already made a prototype of a 3D adventure game in a programming language called VRML and decided that I would remake and enhance this game by myself using the Source Engine from Half-Life 2.
Games at that period in time were not really seen as a high profile academic subjects at most universities and the same was true in my case. Still, I was convinced that making games was a worthwhile pursuit, since it is a very complex process which requires a varied collection of programming skills and project management.
A couple of months passed and I was progressing slowly but steadily with my game. During this period I came across a game project from Digipen students called Narbacular Drop. The concept was quite simple: by only using two interconnected gateways, the player must guide Princess No-Knees to the end. Jumping wasn't possible. I played the game and I was struck by the sheer brilliance of the concept. At the same time I thought: why didn't I think of this for my own game? I would have loved to create a similar revolutionary game. With Narbacular Drop in the back of my mind as motivation, I finished up my own game and I released it in the summer of 2006 as a free mod for Half-Life 2.
After finishing up my own game I heard about the spiritual successor of Narbacular Drop called Portal, being developed by the Digipen students who were all hired by Valve. When it was finally released in 2007 and I played it, I was convinced that videogames and academics are not as far removed from each other as one might think considering how good Portal is. Furthermore, not only did Portal refine the original gameplay of Narbacular Drop, it also added a whole new layer of depth that is unparalled to this day. Portal was the revolution and I am glad to have witnessed it.
In closing, I can say with convidence that videogames finally get much more respect in the academic world. It also remains a big hobby of mine :)"
Our first runner up is hyperhop, whose romantic anecdote about his sister meeting her future husband on Team Fortress 2 brought the twinkle of a tear to radMonkey's eye. Just joking, he doesn't know what love is.
"I just came back from my sister's wedding and for me the number 1 on my list is the game that changed my (sister's) life, the Orange box. Specifically Team Fortress 2 from the Orange box. My sister met her now husband playing Team Fortress 2. After 4 years of courtship, thousands of hours of TF2 and thousands of TF2 kills, they finally got married a few days ago. So I can truly say that Team Fortress 2 has changed my family's life.
She's so into TF2, the tables at the wedding dinner used the class icons as markers!
My advice for everyone especially the single ladies? Play TF2 now and maybe you can also find true love online while pretending to be fat Russian dude wielding a chaingun with a degree in Russian literature."
Secondly, virulent0o talks about Dragon Age: Origins. A great RPG that he loves dearly...
"Recall that epic feeling when William Wallace cried "FreeeeDooomm" during Braveheart?
No? Then I suggest you add Braveheart to your must watch list right after playing Dragon Age: Origins. For those who know what I'm talking about, completing DA:O will leave you with the same goose bump inducing epicness.
Of course, it's not just the end that's epic. If DA:O wasn't produced before the Game of Thrones, I would've thought the DA:O's writing copied a few pages from G.R.R Martin's series. Betrayal, fighting for the throne, family slaughter and more back-stabbing (sorry curious people, no incest) are just some of the things I got to experience from the start!
Along the journey I got to meet unique companions, learn their stories and fall in love with/despise them through well voiced dialogues. Characters in this game wasn't just there to support me, each one provides a memorable experience throughout the journey. From the sharp-tongued Morrigan to my faithful barking companion.
DA:O is the most memorable since Baldur's gate. Why? Simple, no hand holding good/evil dialogue wheels. I make the choices and have to live with the consequences. Here's to hoping Morrigan would make her return in the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition."
And finally, dan958 loves a bit of Skyrim - much like Joncol - and discusses its incredible orchestral score.
"I'm going to talk about Skyrim, but in a slightly different method on why I think it deserves to be in the top 10 - the soundtrack. Probably one of my favourite gaming soundtracks, full stop. With enough playtime to this soundtrack, it is certainly long enough to keep you occupied for multiple hours. Definitely enough time for you to fall asleep if you use it as a relaxation method as I do. The soundtrack has many different styles of music, from quiet flutes all the way to men chanting.
My favourite out of the CD is the ‘Skyrim atmosphere’ track, it just takes out the audio from a walk around Skyrim. You will hear birds tweet and you will hear waterfalls swoosh. I am currently listening to it now as inspiration to write, so I can at least try to put into words how powerful the soundtrack is. If you are a fan of sountracks or relaxation music, then take a look at the Skyrim soundtrack – it is a must have."