They say you never forget your first love. I still remember the first time I fell deep in love with a gaming console. I was 10. We first met at a friend's house while playing Disney's Hercules. It was a #PlayStation and I'll never forget it.
Your childhood gaming memories might be a little different. You might have been younger than I was, or perhaps you started playing later in life than I did. But if you're part of my generation that came of age in the 1990s, these are the games you might have grown up with — and this is what they look like now!
1. Tomb Raider (1996)
This action-adventure game starring the infamous Lara Croft was released 21 years ago for #Sega Saturn, PlayStation and MS-DOS. Originally published by Eidos Interactive, Tomb Raider has been through some major changes over the past two decades. It's bittersweet to compare the puzzle-platform style many of us played through our childhood to the current improved version. I mean, you could stare at these graphics all day, right?
2. Final Fantasy Franchise (1987)
If PlayStation was the first console I fell in love with, then Final Fantasy was the first game. To be more specific, 1997's Final Fantasy VII was the first #RPG I ever had a crack at.
At 12 years old, I could barely speak English (I'm a non-native speaker), but by the end of the game I was almost fluent! Almost 20 years and many disappointing releases later, #FF15's Chocobos look more realistic than just about any living creature on Earth.
3. Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Who doesn't have fond memories of the late-'90s action-adventure stealth game that has long been considered one of the greatest of all time? Now look at Solid Snake, and tell me if you recognize him? It's amazing how time flies.
4. Crash Bandicoot (1996)
We've had some good times together, me and Crash. Naughty Dog brought us #CrashBandicoot in what started out as a PlayStation exclusive series of platform video games. Since then, our favorite marsupial has conquered many platforms and genres. The years have been kind to Crash, who's now back on #PS4.
5. Tekken (1994)
The original #Tekken was one of the first fighting games to use 3D animation. I've now played so many hours of Tekken 3 that I literally broke the game. I had all modes, all characters, all special outfits — my favorite was Anna's zebra costume — and I knew the win moves by heart. I even thought the graphics were pretty cool! But now, looking at 2015's Tekken 7, well...
6. Gran Turismo (1997)
Gran Turismo made its debut 20 years ago and since then the PlayStation exclusive series has been unstoppable. One of my favorite vehicular games since childhood, this driving simulator makes me feel emotional whenever I revisit it.
Times have changed, and so too have video games. No matter how old you are, I'm sure you've experienced the same sense of nostalgia whenever you look back at gems you've played in the past.
But once a #gamer, always a gamer. I embrace both the oldies and the newbies.
What was your first gaming console? What were your favorite games as a kid? Do you still play them? What has changed in gaming for you?