Mithrandir the Gamer
I suppose I need to pick a starting point for my discussions... I'll go with... ah... hmm.... what did that one nun who liked to spin around in the hills suggest? Ah, yes--the beginning. Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that?
Well, the beginning of my love for gaming came about thanks to my father. Some of my earliest memories are of my brother, sister, and myself crowded around the clunky CRT monitor of his 486 (which computed in terms of MEGA Hertz. It was a killer machine, to be sure!) watching him play adventure games like Leygref's Castle and Dark Crystal. Not much for interactive story-telling, even less when it came to visuals (a lot of the games didn't even have "visuals"-- they were entirely text-based), but the games were enthralling nonetheless.
Eventually, as PC gaming began to catch on, our experiences were expanded to include the jaw-droppingly gorgeous (don't hold me to that assessment if you try to play them NOW...) Sierra adventure games: King's Quest, Space Quest, and Quest for Glory. These gems of the genre included slightly more expansive narratives (you have to collect multiple treasures this time, Sir Graham!), color graphics, musical (I guess I could call them "scores," but I think I'll go with... uh...) things, and progressively more ability to use your mouse in the control scheme.
After all that wholesome family adventuring, it was high time for us to engage our primal instincts, so we turned to the inimitable id Software and their harbingers of FPS glory: Wolfenstein 3d and DOOM, in which we used an arsenal to mow down Nazis and demons, respectively.
High school brought about forays into the RTS and simulation genres, thanks to two of gaming's most recognizable franchises: Starcraft and Roller Coaster Tycoon. I was never very good at the multiplayer aspect of the former, but I played through the campaigns of the original and Brood War more times than I care to say -- the story drew me in, and the gameplay was intuitive and every bit as balanced as everything put out by the wizards (not as talented as the Istari, of course, but wizards nonetheless) at Blizzard.
What followed was an awkward and rather lengthy transition from 2d to 3d games in which I tried, but never really succeeded in, playing Prince of Persia 3d and Mask of Eternity (though I've since gotten them to work). I was forced to become a console gamer until I could afford to build a gaming rig of my own, but I owe the finding of my favorite franchise (via The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind) and my affinity for multiplayer gaming (via Halo: Combat Evolved) to this uncharacteristic period of my gaming career.
I built my custom gaming rig as a sophomore at university, and the rest, as they say, is history. I could spend the next 5000 consecutive hours enumerating the hundreds of games I've played and chronicling my adventures, but I think I'll leave such things for future posts. After all, I'd rather write in-depth about the games I truly care about, and games recommended to me by you, dear Readers.