What Games Were You Playing When You Were 18?


And what do you think of them now?

The question is a rif off a throwaway comment in the most recent podcast, btw, and it got me thinking; In many ways 18 is a golden age of gaming. I think you are old enough that you can play any type of game and understand pretty much any of the themes in it, but you haven’t been so inedited with media that even tired old clichés can be very entertaining and fresh.

Looking back on my 18th year of life, the games I remember playing were Duke Nukem 3D, Civ II, and Full Throttle.

Duke Nukem 3d THEN:
HUGE memories for me. It was the very first game I ever played over the internet against other Freshmen in my dorm, and the mere act that we could play against each other in separate rooms blew me away. I never really cared for the single player campaign but I can still see some of the levels in my mind’s eye.

Duke Nukem 3d NOW:
*cringe* Yea, I am not 18 anymore. The posturing and the theme just do not hit a damn-near-40 year old man the way they did an 18 year old. Watching a youtube video of the gameplay does nothing for me, although I might feel different if I played it against someone.

Brief summary of my Civ II thoughts can be found here; https://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/...

I cannot imagine ever going back to Civ II. Ever. It’s just been swamped with much better more entertaining versions of the same game.

Full Throttle THEN:
I had a huge love-affair with LucasArts graphics game and Full Throttle really intrigued me with its unique setting. I remember being a little let down as I thought I would have more control then was the case.

Full Throttle NOW:
I’m probably going to buy the remake when it goes on sale. I did that with Day of the Tenantable but have yet to really play that, and yet I still want to relive this game in a way that I don’t really feel a need to do with Civ II or Duke.

Super Smash Bros Melee

jrralls wrote:

And what do you think of them now?

Best fighting game ever

Hmmm, my first year at university, I think I was playing some version of Championship Manager and maybe Baldur's Gate. They remain classics in my eyes. I think I got into The Sims around this time too, but I haven't kept up with that series in the same way. I wouldn't say I was a 'gamer' back then, it was just something I did from time to time with about the same frequency that I would engage in other past-times, like reading, TV and film, sports, drinking!

I turned 18 in July 1996. That May I had finally gotten an IBM compatible PC, and I played a few older titles such as Populous on it, as well as the brand new Command and Conquer (it doesn't hold up - mostly due to the resolution, but is probably very micromanage-y with poor pathfinding. My first online gaming experience was playing Doom via direct telephone connection to a friend (it wasn't a local number, so I'm guessing that wasn't cheap). No doubt I still played a few SNES titles like Killer Instinct that summer. I may have dabbled with Duke Nukem 3D, but not much (I didn't play through that campaign until about 2009 or 10).

In late August, early September, I started college. Within a few weeks someone had given me Quake. Coupled with my 28.8 baud (initially) modem, that would consume the vast majority of my next four gaming years!

Today, I still think Quake holds up fairly well. Clearly the campaign has a few shortcomings, but I've gone back and dabbled in it at least once a year. In fact, the multiplayer consumed me so much so that I never beat the entire game front to back until 2009. Graphical upgrades like Darkplaces help the game quite a bit and the release of Episode 5 for the game's 20th birthday was a great treat.
Obviously it's almost impossible to get a capture-the-flag game going anymore outside of a LAN. Clan-based CTF was my thing! The last time I played online was probably 7 years ago, and either the rust clearly showed or the remaining players had raised polished their abilities to unheard of levels. The sweet multiplayer memories will have to remain just that - memories.

I was 18 in 1998. AKA one of the best years of gaming known to man. Looking back they're still amazing.

Metal Gear Solid
Half Life
Grim Fandango
Ocarina of Time
Baldur's Gate
Suikoden II
Final Fantasy Tactics

I was pretty much introduced to gaming when I was 18 when I moved in with friends with proper gaming PCs in 1998. That year we spent many late nights LANning at an internet cafe one friend managed, and several weekends LANing until late hours at our flat.

The games I was introduced to were:

Warcraft 2
Half Life
Baldur's Gate

All time classic games I still hold in high regard and which essentially formed my tastes.

I turned 18 in 1991, so it was:

Sonic the Hedgehog-- Incredible and I didn't realize a game could move that quickly. It still holds up!

Street Fighter II-- One of the best fighting games of the genre. There is an arcade here that has it and it's still fun!

Another World (Out of this World)-- Again, one of the greats that I ran through multiple times. I don't know how well it holds up, but I would like to think it would.

Super Mario World-- I don't think I can really dignify this one with more than a "It was/still is awesome!".


For me, that was the year of Mechwarrior 2.

Which I still remember fondly, though I haven't tried to play it again in a very long time.

I turned 18 in 1995. Which is to say that I suppose I was still playing late-era SNES games? I went to university in the back end of that year, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t take a console with me. A room-mate picked up a Playstation, but that wasn’t until my second year of uni, and I know I bought myself an N64 in 1999 when I got a windfall in the form of a reasonably well-paid internship. I honestly wonder whether I was playing anything when I was 18. There might have been a gaming hiatus that I’d completely forgotten about unti replying to this post. I do know that it was a busy period of my life in terms of socializing and power-drinking (pretty rote for an 18-year old in 90’s England).

Ooh! I know what I did! As a console-less student who’d barely touched a PC up until that point (thanks, Luddite Mum!), I spent a lot of time in the computer rooms (remember when those were a thing?) playing a MUD called Ancient Anguish (which still exists, according to Wikipedia :0 ), dabbling with Diablo-LAN at a friends’ house, and picking up a Magic habit that my student loan could barely support.

Oh man, it was the year 2000 when I was 18. There were a bunch of games that I was playing back then. Diablo II, Deus Ex, Shogun: Total War, Icewind Dale, Red Alert 2, The Sims...and that's just on the PC side! That's the same year that FF9, Wild ARMS 2, and Vagrant Story released. hoo boy

If I had to pick a main game though, I'd probably go with Shogun: Total War. I was always a big fan of strategy games up until that point, and the Total War game was a bit of a change from the typical frantic pace of Starcraft and Command & Conquer. I remember thinking how awesome it was the the battles were more about positioning and morale than just having a larger blob than the other guy.

What do I think of it now? I still fire it up every now and again and have a good nostalgia trip. The Total War series has definitely updated over the years (for better or worse, depending on the game), but Shogun will always be high on my list even if the graphics are rough and campaign map was pretty basic.

JeremyK wrote:

I was 18 in 1998. AKA one of the best years of gaming known to man. Looking back they're still amazing.

Metal Gear Solid
Half Life
Grim Fandango
Ocarina of Time
Baldur's Gate
Suikoden II
Final Fantasy Tactics

1998 represent. I was obsessing over MGS and Ocarina of Time myself as well as Resident Evil 2 and Starcraft.

Really weird.

While I've been passionately gaming since before Atari 2600 came out, my 18th year...1987...is one of the most unmemorable ones I can think of.

NES was still new on the scene and I was years away from getting into PC gaming.

Looking at several Best Of (1987) lists reveals virtually nothing that I remember. And while many Big, Important Franchises were born that year, I don't remember tuning into any of them until the following release or two.

Mega Man
Final Fantasy
Zelda II
Metal Gear

All household names by this point, but I missed the boat on all of them.

I guess I remember playing Afterburner, Street Fighter, and RoadBlasters. But none of them hold a candle to my fond memories of nostalgic childhood classics on 2600, Intellivision and Colecovision.

Must have been a down year or something, 'cause I do remember really enjoying the NES library as a whole at the time.

I didn't play many computer games when I was 18, because my family had just bought an Amiga 1000, and there weren't many out for it yet. All I remember is Archon and Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One-on-One. Archon was good, and is still quite playable, but I haven't even seen Dr. J since. Arctic Fox might have come out that first year; it was amazing, but it doesn't hold up at all well, with an absolutely dismal frame rate. Mostly, that first year, I was figuring out how the computer worked; it was a deeply alien experience, coming from the 8-bit world. In many ways, the Amiga was the first modern computer, and the jump in complexity from the world of instant-on 8-bit machines was massive.

On the Nintendo, I did a fair bit of Excitebike, and did I ever play a lot of Popeye. I still remember that game fondly, but that's another one I haven't revisited, so it's probably awful. Oh, and there was lots of Super Mario Brothers, although I was never that good at it. I think I could usually get to world 8-2 or so, but I never actually finished. (I remember feeling so clever when I found the warp pipes on my own!)

I turned 18 in June of 2003, right as I was graduating high school and getting ready for College. Off the top of my head, there are seven games I know I was playing at that time (funny thing, when I started this post it was only four, but as I keep typing I keep recalling other things and it adds to it).

Halo: Combat Evolved
I had the game since 2002 but was still continually going back to it on Legendary. That summer I probably ran through the campaign co-op with my brother a few more times just for the Hell of it. I remember my Freshman year roommate watching me play and he dropped his jaw the moment I popped a cap into the back of a Hunter. Evidently the "one shot one kill" with the pistol wasn't common knowledge.

As for whether the game holds up? Well, I'll be doing a video on it because it is one of the influential games for me. My niece, who typically is not a fan of stuff that's super old at this point, still enjoys it. There's also some potential within that first game that the franchise never seems to achieve. Still, it definitely shows its age at times.

Metroid Prime
I feel like I have the timeline on this wrong. I hadn't beaten Metroid Prime by June of 2003? But the fact is I remember packing up my GameCube, bringing it to me during the last days of school, and hooking it up in the "Gifted and Talented" room for students with a decent grade-point average. Either I had not beaten it yet and was having a pain of a time figuring out the Super Phazon Pirate, or I was replaying the game. I don't recall. It could also have been the Hard Mode, or a 100% run. I know one of those playthroughs carried over into College, as I was still playing the game in my dorm. As for if it still holds up? I'd say it certainly does, though not without some caveats.

Super Smash Bros. Melee
I liked Super Smash Bros. It was fun. Unfortunately most of my friends in high school weren't so big into it, leaving me to play it single player most of the time. Then I went to College and suddenly I had a bunch of friends to play it with! ...and play it... and play it... and any time I tried to switch to something else they asked "Why aren't we just playing Smash?" The casual nature in which I played the original N64 title with my friends in middle-school was replaced with people obsessed over tier lists and exploits.

I pretty much hated the franchise after being introduced to the hardcore Melee community. I don't care how it measures up to Brawl or WiiU/3DS. I don't even want to look at that old GameCube art anymore.

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee
You can pick up a building and throw it at another monster.

I mean, really, what else is there to say? Plenty, I suppose. This got a lot of play time with my brother and high school friends the summer before I left for College, but once I got to College it was like pulling teeth to get anyone else to play. I went from being surrounded people that just understood Godzilla to people that never watched the movies growing up. As for how well it aged? Honestly, it's been too long since I played it and when I rented the third entry via GameFly I felt like there was something missing. I'd probably enjoy another trip back for the sake of nostalgia, though.

Unreal Tournament 2K4
I remember going into GameStop with my friend from College, pre-ordering this game on DVD, and then sitting down at my computer in my dorm with the realization I didn't actually have a DVD drive. First purchase off of New Egg! This became the LAN game at my College, filling a similar space that the original Smash filled with my middle school friends. I recall the Beta/demo and I remember returning from class to see who else from our gaming club was logged into the server. The only downside? My favorite modes were Assault and Invasion, and everyone else was horny over Onslaught. All the time. Onslaught constantly, which felt like a sh*tty fusion of Assault and Capture the Flag but Epic needed to copy Halo and shove vehicles in there.

None of which controlled as well as the vehicles in Halo.

I'd say it aged well, but if only because there's still nothing like it. Even Invasion has a play style to it that's more arcadey than modern PvE horde modes that took inspiration.

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
Got this for Christmas that year and became one of my favorites. Brought it to the video game club on occasion as well in an effort to get some multiplayer going. The ability to hack actually made some of the matches pretty long, hectic, and exciting. Unfortunately it was basically only four player for us. Even so, it was the single player that I loved. I was super excited to see what Swingin' Ape would do next! That is, until they got bought by Blizzard.

Metal Arms has a lot of neat ideas that keep it relevant, but I imagine at this point it is showing its age.

The Hobbit
I'm gonna be honest, I don't remember much of this game other than it being awful. The only thing I can clearly remember is trying to sneak through Smaug's lair and constantly waking him up because of dumb sh*t. It's amazing that I remember this game existed at all but that damn cinematic of Smaug waking up with really cheap breath effects on my CRT on top of the mini-fridge in the dorm is plastered into my brain.

Games I Forgot I Played:
PlanetSide - Very much in the summer, but once I got to College I just wasn't able to keep up with the monthly subscription fee.

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town - Had this on the GBA. I actually recall playing it before and even during my math class one time. I... didn't do well my first year of College.

Xenosaga? - I'm not sure. This came out when I was 17 and I bought it when it was new. I don't recall if I played it any during the summer before College but I certainly didn't play it at College. I left my PS2 behind and only took the Xbox and GameCube.

Metroid: Zero Mission - Y'know, I felt like I played a GBA Metroid game in my dorm room, but for some reason I thought I just replayed Fusion and Zero Mission wasn't until I was a 2nd year in College. But nope! I played Zero Mission in the dorm!

There were some other games that came out before my birthday in June, but I didn't get to play until I rented them from GameFly afterward. So, those are the games I recall most clearly having played when 18.

Aaron D. wrote:

Looking at several Best Of (1987) lists reveals virtually nothing that I remember. And while many Big, Important Franchises were born that year, I don't remember tuning into any of them until the following release or two.

Final Fantasy

Haven't checked the rest of your list, but this one didn't release in the states until 1990. You wouldn't have played it when you were 18 anyway.

I turned 18 in December of 1996. Back then (well, in 1997), I was playing:

Worms 2
Curse of Monkey Island
Tomb Raider II
Sega Rally Championship
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Vectorman 1 & 2
Super Pang
Bubble Bobble (always and forever)

Man! That was a long time ago, and yet it doesn't feel like it's been that long, really...

I had to go back and look to see what games game out in 1987 / 88...

Like Aaron above, who seems to be about the same age as me - I got into gaming with the Atari 2600 (well Pong before that).

Sierra Point and Click Adventure Games
I was heavily into the Sierra point and click adventure games starting with King's Quest I. There were several that I played that came out when I was 18.
Kings Quest IV
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places)
Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel
Police Quest II: The Vengeance
Space Quest II

KQ was probably my favorite in Sierra's stable, followed by Leisure Suit Larry. While I played Space Quest, it was always my least favorite. I've tried to play some more recent point and click adventure games and I can't really stomach them now.

Test Drive
The frame rate wasn't great, but I still love driving games to this day.

Earl Weaver Baseball
John Madden Football
Jorden vs Bird
MicroLeague Wrestling

I absolutely loved Earl Weaver Baseball and actually ran a fantasy league on it with a draft day. Most games were simmed, but once a week one game would be played out at my house.

Pool of Radiance
Dungeon Master

I don't think these in particular would hold up, but I still play RPG games.

I played a lot of Tetris and would play it today if I could find a good remake on Steam. The UBIsoft one isn't supposed to be good.

August 2002 to August 2003 is my 18 years old bracket. I'll have to take a look at what was out at that time. I'd still have been playing a few 2001 titles, too.

Deus Ex (PS2)
Loved it then. Love it now. Although, I'd be playing the PC version now. The options. The choices. The music. Forever a classic.

Mafia (PC)
I was enthralled by this at the time. The world. The characters. The story. I've never returned to it. I'm not sure how it would hold up. I may not risk my memories.

Metroid Prime (GC)
This was the greatest looking video game I had ever seen at the time. The visuals truly raised the bar. The musical score was amazing. The gameplay was great. I played the Wii version a few years ago and was as impressed now as I was then.

Neverwinter Nights (PC)
I was in love with this game. It had its flaws, though. I think they'd be magnified now. At that time they were easy to overlook. Maybe someone else could answer how it holds up? I've never revisited.

Warcraft 3 (PC)
I was addicted to this game for a brief time. I thought I'd never play anything else again. It ran out of steam fast, though, with the hours I was putting in. I literally played every waking hour of one Friday before stumbling into my weekend job looking like a zombie. It was maybe for the best I subconsciously put it to one side. I simply never picked it up again, amidst that addiction phase.

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)
This was a co-op gem. Spikeout and I played this from start to finish and enjoyed every moment. I think we even had a second save file where we switched characters. I could see it holding up moderately well.

GTA: Vice City (PS2)
This was one of my favourite games then. It would not hold up today, though, it barely did a year or two on. I've always felt GTA rode a wave of technical prowess that made up for average gameplay and average writing. At the time it was still fresh, and technically impressive. GTA III and Vice City were the open world games leading the industry forward.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GC)
Amazing. Truly a fantastic experience from start to finish. I could see the remaster holding up really well.

Spiderman (PS2)
This was great. No idea if it'd hold up. Web slinging through the city was so cool!

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)
One of the greatest multiplayer games of all time. The single player was good, too. I think it could potentially hold up. The maps were great.

Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction (PC)
I predict that this game has more hours than any other. It had a very good single player journey, and an outstanding multiplayer experience. I could play it right now. I still prefer it to Diablo 3. Nostalgia may play a part, but I can talk at length as to why.

Baldur's Gate (PC)
This may forever hold a spot in my top three of all time. Great characters. An intriguing tale. Awesome areas. Beautiful artwork. Brilliant music. Good tactical combat. It is forever installed on my PC. It is one of the first things I reinstall on a new setup thanks to the Enhanced Edition.

SSX Tricky (PS2)
This was a pick up and play masterpiece. Simple to learn, a little tricky to master. Visually it was stunning in motion. Great sound. Good characters. I think it'd still be worth a weekend.


What a great trip down memory lane. I'm enjoying reading through these. 18 was good for a lot of folks!

2002 was kind of a weird time for me in gaming. I was starting to really get into it, but I only had a Macintosh computer. This was before the Intel switch, so only a handful of companies released games for both platforms. There was a time where I bought every game released on mac because they were so rare. It may have been a blessing in the end, as I wasn't able to get into Everquest or Ultima Online which I'm sure would have swallowed me whole.

I mostly played Warcraft 3, Soldier of Fortune 2, and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The last two are nearly unplayable now since their graphics are in that awful period where they tried to be realistic, but only had a few hundred polygons to work with. At the time they were pretty enjoyable. Allied Assault was the last game where I could be an awesome sniper. Soldier of Fortune had pretty decent multiplayer with lots of people on a map, and satisfying weaponry. I remember the Desert Eagle and a scoped assault rifle that I used so often it affects my playstyle to this day.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Warcraft 3. I played almost entirely custom maps, so I spent a lot of time with tower defense, marine madness, and a myriad of wacky one-off maps. This was still the era where most people were on dial-up, so some games would be awesome, but many had 10 minutes of staring at connection screens waiting to drop the one guy with the 28.8K connection. I would love the fast games with the latest tug-of-war map, but it would often follow wasting an hour on a buggy, slow one.

18 was my freshman year of college (2000) and the start of a few years where I played very few games. I'd been a PC gamer through high school, and that continued with occasional games of The Sims and High Heat Baseball 2001. SMAC and Age of Empires were probably also installed on my PC, but I have no specific memory of playing them during that time. And that was about it until I got a PS2 sometime in late 2001/early 2002 and I don't know that I bought another PC game until Civ IV in 2005.

I don't really have any thoughts on The Sims currently, though I was thinking of installing The Sims 3 to see what my 5yo daughter thinks of it. Looking at videos of High Heat 2001 is amusing. It looks terrible, but I remember it looking amazing. I eventually moved on from the High Heat series and instead played The Show every year during the PS3 era, though at this point I've pretty much stopped playing all sports games. SMAC still holds up wonderfully and I suspect I'd still enjoy AoE because I suck at modern RTS games.

In 1985 we were rocking our Apple IIe Europlus! (Lived in Brusssels at the time)

We were spending an awful lot of time with MUDs But of the graphical games,

Bards Tale
Ultima IV
King's Quest II

we were probably still playing Wizardry III. We owned every single one of that series up to Wizardry VII.

Three games come to mind immediately for me:

Max Payne - I must have played through the original 5 or 6 times. I still have fond memories of losing hours to it which is why I've been reluctant to replay it now. I want that feeling to remain, especially after the sour taste that was Max Payne 3.

Jedi Outcast - I never got into Halo around 2002, but this game got its hooks in me. My friends and I spent hours just messing around in local multiplayer. To date, this is still my favorite Star Wars game, Dark Forces being my second.

Madden 20xx - Say what you will about the Madden series and sports games in general, but I must have played more than a thousand hours of Madden over my High School and early college days. I still play a few hours of Madden every year just to see how it is.

I'd like to thank groan for being the one person in this thread older than me, apparently. I turned 18 in 1988, so . . . something in the arcade in the student union? I was utterly broke at the time, had no PC, and it was well before consoles were common in dorm rooms.

Undergrad was a time I didn't play many games, because I was so utterly broke all the time.

I was in highschool, and everquest had just come out. The first in a long line of mmo's that would change my life.

See, this would be where I'd go digging through GWJ's archives to see what games I was posting about so I could remember, but GWJ didn't exist in 1998, so there.

I was 18 in 1989 and am shocked at how much gaming time I had back then. I was big on military sims/strategy at the time, largely SSI, Microprose etc.

My top played list:

A10 Tank Killer - I doubt this one would hold up since graphics are such a huge part of flight sims. It was fun trying to take out enemy tanks while avoiding the SAMs.

F-15 Strike Eagle II - Same as above.

Harpoon - I doubt it holds up, but man did I LOVE this game. I was a huge Tom Clancy fan and this thing was right out of one of his books. It was so cool.

M1 Tank Platoon - I never really found another tank sim that topped this for pure fun. It wasn't even close to being realistic.

Prince of Persia - I was so proud of myself for finishing this game! It was like an obsession with me.

Sword of Aragon - I also played this one to the end. I fell in love with this game, essentially you build up an army in a fantasy world and go on to conquer it. I doubt it would hold up because it had a flaw where if you got to a certain point in development you steamrolled the AI. But, man was it fun.

Second Front - Last but not least! I remember being in my first year at college and finding that I had fallen asleep playing this one late into the night. It was awesome. I do think it held up because it's basically the same Gary Grigsby game he's been making since time started

Ultima Underworld
NHL 93
Crusaders of the Dark Savant
Mario Kart (SNES)
and a whole bunch of others...

But then came the master of all. I still remember vividly a guy from a different floor coming down to my dorm room with a 3.5" floppy and telling me to give this new game a try. It blew us all away on my brand new 486 DX2 50Mhz beast. In my video game experience, other than maybe Mario 64, nothing moved the bar higher all at once than DOOM.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I'd like to thank groan for being the one person in this thread older than me

Oh, you're such an adorable little tyke.

I was 18 in 1979. At home, it probably would have been Adventure on my Atari 2600. At the arcade, definitely Asteroids, which I liked better than Galaxian for some reason. Maybe because I could regularly get high scores on Asteroids, but not Galaxian.

There is someone on GWJ older than me...

Nothing. From about 16 to 22, I didn't play any video games. I couldn't afford the PC gaming I was used to, and I had a lot of instructors and others who convinced me that gaming was childish and shameful. Looking back, 2000 to 2006 was a pretty good time for gaming.

The only two games I can recall playing when I was 18 are Final Fantasy 9 and Tecmo Super Bowl. The only consoles I had in my dorm room were my Playstation that only worked when it was upside down for some reason and an NES that didn't belong to either myself or my roommate yet it was still somehow in our room. I'm sure I played other stuff but those are the only two games I actually remember playing. Most of our free time my first couple years in college was spent playing poker.