Video games are very special to me. They have taught me many life lessons and they helped me at some of my lowest points. To this day, when I’m feeling upset, I’ll pop a game into my PS4 or I’ll boot up my PS2 emulator.
I find that a lot of people feel similar about video games. So many people have games that mean the world to them, games that make them feel special. We often hear about these games, as well. People love to talk about their favorite games. After all, this whole column has just been me talking about my favorite games.
But one thing I don’t see as many people talk about is their first game, the game that started it all. Oftentimes, this is because it is not a good game. A person’s first game usually seems to either be a console-exclusive tie-in, like the Wii’s New Super Mario Bros, or a decently popular yet cheap mediocre game.
My first game was Gran Turismo for the PlayStation 1. Gran Turismo is a racing simulation game that was released in 1997, a year before I was born. It is the best-selling PS1 game to this day, selling over 10 million copies. It was also the first game to fully support PlayStation’s classic DualShock controller. It had 140 different cars based on real race cars, 11 race tracks, a full driver’s license system, and a killer soundtrack! I’m not kidding. The official soundtrack featured songs such as “As Heaven Is Wide” by Garbage and The Chemical Brothers’ remix of “Everything Must Go” by Manic Street Preachers.
I was eight when I first received this game and an old PS1 console from a friend of my father’s. The PlayStation 3 had recently been released and my interest in video games was at an all-time high. I played and enjoyed many PC games, especially Jazz Jackrabbit 2 by EpicMega Games, later known as Epic (yes, that Epic), but I had a huge interest in consoles and my father’s friend had picked up on that.
Along with Gran Turismo were games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Rugrats: Totally Angelica, and Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Magical Mystery Mall. For what it’s worth, I got a lot of good hours out of these games and Final Fantasy Tactics is a game that I still enjoy today. But Gran Turismo was the lucky game that got put in first. Because of that, it’s the game that started it all.
It’s not very special gameplay-wise. I mean, it was back in 1997, but it was already 2006 when I got my hands on it. It is a good racing game though and it holds up decently well. The more recent Gran Turismo 5 for the PS3 is a much better version, but that’s expected as it came out in 2010.
If there is one thing I can attribute to Gran Turismo besides my life-long love of gaming, it’s my natural skill at racing games. I’m a beast at most racing games. They’re one of the few competition-based games I’m good at. That’s because I was trained by the best. Gran Turismo was more than just a racing game. It was a racing simulator and it was the first console game I ever played.