17. Addiction

I have been thinking a lot about why I got into this game (excuse the pun) and I have to admit that it is founded in an addiction that I have had for almost 20 years.

Since I got my first PC in 1989 I have been playing games with OCD-like consistency. None more so than Wing Commander. This game was one of the first games really steal my heart. Here was a game that looked so very superficial but actually laid much of the groundwork for narrative-rich games like Mass Effect.

Origin actually snuck some really prescient features into Wing Commander. This was the first game that I remember to actually get me to develop emotional attachments with the characters.  Paladin, Spirit, Iceman, I remember them all.  The impact of this was never greater than if you screwed up and your wingman died. When this happened you had to watch their funeral and then carry on solo until you die or the campaign in that particular system was over.

The other thing that really amazed me about Wing Commander was the fact that failure didn’t automatically mean game over. Your performance in each system decided the next destination of the Tiger’s Claw either resulting in you pushing  the Kilrathi out of human space with a final battle to destroy their base of operations or you fighting a desperate rear-guard to allow the Tiger’s Claw to escape and re-group with the rest of the fleet.

Because the game was so carefully crafted I kept playing it through again and again. I was amazed at how every playthrough gave me something new even if the mission objectives never changed. Here my love of games was really born and why I must endeavour to write about them in the hope that more people can discover the moments where gaming shows just how much more profound moments can be had with games than in any other creative medium.


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