I’m pretty sure I was born with a controller in my hands. It would explain my passion for videogames and the many hours I’ve spent late at night finishing games or playing with friends, but it also raises a bunch of questions about anatomy that are best left unanswered.
Horrifying analogy aside, I’m Ash Bates, and I’ve been a gamer for about 15 years, roughly 3 quarters of my entire life. When it comes to gaming, I’m willing to give pretty much anything a try, but I do have a preference towards shooters, driving games and fighting games.
I’ve taken somewhat of a strange gaming odyssey throughout my years, starting off with the Mega Drive, playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog 1-3, Sonic and Knuckles, and Mortal Kombat 3 (to this day, I still haven’t beaten Shao Kahn. Revenge will one day be MINE!!), but even before those days, I was immersed in gaming of some kind, usually watching my parents play Mario Kart on the SNES, and learning all about what some people call “colourful language”.
Following that I made a transition to Nintendo, owning both a Game Boy Advance and GameCube. I remember thinking I was the greatest gamer around when I unlocked the classic tracks on Mario Kart for the GBA, or when I completed a game, regardless of the fact I put them on easy.
After a few years of Nintendo loyalty, and playing F-Zero GX to death, I made the move to a PlayStation 2, and an accompanying PSP. I was a teenager by this point, or at the very least, I was in high school, so I began to enjoy more mature content. Games like GTA, The Punisher, Yakuza, and of course Mortal Kombat, all featured heavily in my regularly played games, but every now and again (or weeks at a time), I’d find myself behind the wheel of Burnout 3. Meanwhile, on the handheld front, I was either playing Wipeout: Pure or Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max. Once again, I thought I was the best because I could occasionally throw a hadoken. I learnt my mistake the hard way later on in life!
Then came Christmas 2007, when I received my little bundle of constantly breaking down joy, and despite it breaking on my birthday of all times, quite possibly my favourite console: the Xbox 360. It’s here that I finally became introduced to Halo, and a community of like-minded individuals I came to know as friends. Games such as Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, along with Call of Duty 4, Street Fighter 4, Mortal Kombat 9 and GTA IV all helped me to bond with new and current friends, as we took on either each other or the rest of the world. But the fond Xbox 360 memories aren’t all about my friends. I was more than happy to venture off and discover new planets and stories in Mass Effect, or slaughter thousands of zombies whilst dressed as a Mexican Wrestler in Dead Rising, two of my favourite games of all time.
Seven years of serious gaming and 225,000+ gamerscore later, I’ve settled down for a committed relationship with Microsoft; an Xbox One owner despite the temperamental software and performance deficit, currently counting down the days to Mortal Kombat X.