I am a gamer who plays video games after work and occasionally works play-testing video games.
But before I was proud to call myself a gamer, I used to only play video games as a reward for finishing my homework or as a pastime with fellow school-aged friends. I wasn’t serious about my gaming back then. I just saw these video games as a means to pass time during a free weekend or as an icebreaker to talk with my peers about other boy topics like toys, sports, and why we like to stare at women’s breasts.
Gaming grew better as I grew older. Better gaming hardware led to deeper video game plots that went beyond the princess being in another castle. And I was perfectly mature enough to appreciate the story and graphics that games could now have. I have to blame game developer Trilobyte and their hit game “The 7th Guest” for turning me into a gamer.
Released in 1993, “The 7th Guest” was one of the first video games to be released only on CD-ROM. The CD-ROM had just been commercially available and this game showed off its powerful (at the time) capabilities for computer gaming. “The 7th Guest” became a killer app that sold over 2 million copies and just as many CD-ROM drives to play the game.
“The 7th Guest” took place in a haunted mansion where something mysterious and horrific happened one night. As the player with one of the first recorded cases of plot-convenient amnesia, you explored the mansion and solved puzzles inside each room. Exploration and puzzle solving uncovered snippets of the night’s activities until you pieced everything together and reached the conclusion.
The game featured an insane amount of live-action scenes and pre-rendered 3D graphics, which provided a breathtaking visual experience during its day. The ambient music fit the game’s dark and mysterious story and tone, which resulted in many dark nights of me playing “The 7th Guest” with only the glow of the monitor as illumination.
After finishing the game, I found myself wanting more in my games. I actively looked for games with unique gameplay and excellent storytelling. I began analyzing the way I play games, looking for glitches to exploit or techniques to master. As gaming technology advanced beyond the CD-ROM and graphics took precedence over gameplay, I began to lose interest in being a gamer.
Years later, I stumbled onto video game testing as a job. The recruiter noted how well I knew my gaming history and familiarity with gaming like “The 7th Guest.” I now get contracted to test today’s video games to locate bugs, glitches, and typos for developers to fix. I still pine for immersive storytelling that serves as an escape from the fact that I am pushing buttons to move a character on a screen. And occasionally I find such gaming gems in the ones I test. But due to non-disclosure agreements, I can’t actually talk about them until AFTER they’re released.
And for current generation gamers who want to experience the old school gaming of “The 7th Guest,” you can play it on your iPhone or iPad.