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Gaming’s Greatest Moments

November 13th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Some lists are less important than others. And Gamesradar’s list of Gaming’s Greatest Moments is useless to me because I’m not quite sure what a gaming moment is. Does a cutscene or intro movie count as a gaming moment? Apparently, because many (if not most) of the 101 moments are cinematics of one form or another. There is also an overwhelming number of action type games here, many dependent on the story being told for the moment to be meaningful. There is a Homeworld moment near the bottom of the list, though.

And, since I don’t play many of those games, the list has dozens of moments I am only vaguely familiar with.

Strategy games have great moments, but since so many of them play out differently for everyone, you don’t necessarily have the shared experience of finishing Tomb Raider or Shadows of the Colossus or Baldur’s Gate.

Take one of my great gaming moments. Multiplayer game of Sid Meier’s Gettysburg against my friend, Kevin. He’s a little better than me at this game, but our battles are always hard fought. I always play bluecoats. In one game, my defense was faltering on the left so I redeployed from my right. Then he started a fresh assault on the new weaker right flank. Then reinforcements arrived, but they had a long way to go. If I hit his troops head on, these green troops would have cracked, so I force marched them through woods and hit Kevin in a devastating rear attack. His assault crumbled, and I held on for the win. The combination of time, tactics and hair’s breadth finish makes it a game that I remember really well.

Even if you’ve had similar moments, it’s difficult for you to picture my great game moment, isn’t it? The game might be shared, but the experience isn’t. Few genres can compete with strategy gaming for emergent story telling, but the problem with emergent story telling is that we all didn’t go through the same stuff together. Stories aren’t “Remember the time when…”, they are “Once upon a time…” – both good ways to start a story, but the emotional pull is quite different.

None of this bothers me. Strategy gamers understand the difference and that’s why you get a lot of After Action Reports on strategy gaming forums. It’s a chance to share the stories with an audience that knows your language even if they don’t know what your battlefield looked like or can’t quite picture your order of battle.

Feel free to fill the comment box with your own moments.


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Taranis

    One of my favorite gaming moments was in AoE2. I was the Celts playing against my Buddy’s who were the Spanish and Persians. Out of dumb luck my scouts ran accross all the relics right from the start of the game, so I quickly leveled up so I could make Monks to collect as many as I could. I was able to get all 6, including one that was sitting in the middle of a empty battlefield where apparently my opponents where fighting over it.

    Then I started typing things like “OK who’s got all the relics, I only have one?” Just to keep them looking. 10 minutes later noticed a build up of a huge Persian army to my west. I had expected the Persians to attack first so I had fortified that side well so I wasn’t really worried. I contacted the Spanish and told him that I had all the relics and that the Persians had a army that was going to overwhelm me, so if he promised not to attack me at the same time as the Persians he could have the relics in my church which was hidden, away from my kingdom, (he fell for it) thinking the Persians would be easy picking after I was gone.

    I fought back the Persian attacks and counter-attacked with the terrific siege weapons the Celts had and quickly wiped them out. Meanwhile the Spanish just sat back and watched the battle unfold, and when he realized I wasn’t going to loose it was too late, I was already headed for his kingdom and an endless supply of reinforcements thanks to the relic gold I was generating.

    It wasn’t my greatest strategic victory ever, but it always comes to mind when I think of my best gaming moments!

  • Bruce

    I’m just not sure about any list with 101 things on it. Ok, 101 ways to beat cancer, maybe. 101 gaming moments that someone else had? Not so interested. Unlimited web space is like an anti-editor.

  • Michael A.

    My favorite gaming moment isn’t from a computer game; it’s from a tabletop miniatures battle – one of the massive multi-player battles we used to play at my old tabletop wargames club.

    I was in charge of a Brigade of Italians (3-4? battalions and 1 battery) placed far out and in advance of the right flank of a “French” army Corps (Napoleonic wars) when the Austrian army came rolling on to the table. As fate would have it, my less than eager brigade suddenly stood face-to-face with three Austrian infantry divisions (about 16 battalions including several elite formations). Outnumbered around four to one, I conducted a fighting retreat during the entire game, using every strongpoint to enfilade the advancing Austrians and launching carefully timed counterattacks to repulse the Austrians masses in disorder. By the end of the two-day game, one of my battalions had been decimated, but my brigade had tied up almost half of the Austrian forces on the table. The artillery section alone, all out of ammo by then, had decimated several Austrian battalions and thrown more than a dozen Austrian formations into disarray during the battle.

    Still something we reminisce about when I get back to the old club every once in a while. Seems a glorious retreat is always a better memory than a crushing victory…

  • steve

    Good lord, is Games Radar designing websites like it’s 1996? I’m pretty sure it’s okay to force people to scroll.