Funny you say that about being aloft in a hot air balloon - I'm due to go up in a couple of weeks. I've also been in a boat off the coast of Oman and watched a school of Dolphins jump out of the water. Not sharks, granted, and no limbs to declare at Heathrow but 7/10 for effort at least? The first game I remember getting hooked on was Atlantis. I can't remember a great deal about it, tbh. It was back in 1983 (I'd be about 9) and a good friend of my Dad's brought round a Speccy and an Atari VCS. After playing a game on the Speccy (an overhead car game involving either racing or checkpoints) and then playing a bit on the Atari, I had the very lucky choice of borrowing one for a week. I plumped for the Atari and played through a handful of games. The one cartridge that got plugged in the most was Atlantis. I played it so much, one of the four leaf springs on one joystick broke and then two on the other joystick gave way to my addiction. From then on, it's been peaks and troughs. Beach Buggy, as a 3-screen arcade machine was awesome and Space Harrier could never be the same at home without sitting in a hydraulic-powered cockpit that moved as you moved. The graphics on the Return of The Jedi arcade machine were pretty awesome for the time, too. Gravitating from a C64 to an Amiga 500 was an awesome upgrade. Stangely, there was something about the smell of a new A500 that stuck in my mind. I was devastated when, after a house move, my A500's floppy drive shrivelled up and died. Thankfully, it wasn't long before it was back up and running. On the C64, I'd have to say it was a group of games by a developer/publisher that kept me coming back, as not only were the graphics and music pretty awesome for the era, the gameplay was damn good, too. Armalyte and Hawkeye by Thalamus were amazing. I actually sat and completed Armalyte, thinking there was a chance of a golden code at the completion of the game. After ringing Thalamus up (!) they explained it was the actual cassette that was golden, but thanked me for playing the game right through and sent me some rather cool promotional posters. That was pretty awesome for a 12 year old. I can't remember completing any other games on the 64 - I just revelled in playing all sorts of different worlds - Last Ninja, Thing on a Spring, Wizball, Hypersports, Beach Head, Leaderboard Golf.. etc. I had something approaching 200 tapes I think. Just remembered, Spindizzy was a game that had me playing for hours, until I'd keep falling off a particularly hard bit. The Amiga 500 with it's Psygnosis games showing its graphical prowess (SotB, Agony, Walker et al) and Sensible's SWOS and Cannon Fodder and Lemmings and SWIV and Test Drive and Stunt Car Racer and Lotus Challenge and possibly the best shooter in existence, Xenon 2 was awesome on a desk. One game seemed to be 'the one' though. Strangely, it didn't involve shooting anything or leading a squad or building stuff. It was Indianapolis 500 and it got very special when you added another 512K of ram. You then got replays in full 3d. Just playing the game was good enough, but I couldn't wait when, one Christmas, unknown to me (and I used to look, believe me) I received this magic upgrade I had been lusting after which changed my favourite game and made it even more enjoyable, it had to be plugged in immediately and obviously tested out to make sure it worked properly. A year after the PS had been out and after seeing the frankly amazing Destruction Derby and Wipeout, I bought one. I played Destruction Derby and it's sequel to death. I remember having a hobby when I was young of drawing smashed up cars, with bits bent and wonky aerials. To me, DD was heaven served on a disc. DD2 took the formula and basically made it more exciting. FF7 was so different to anything before and it was sometimes a struggle to know what to do or even suss out what was going on. Strangely, it was the first game that made me shed a tear. The first GTA, although struggling on the PS and lacking the car alarms of it's PC counterpart, had me hooked for ages. It was hours after putting the disc in that I'd noticed it was well into the night. Tomb Raider came along and offered massive 3d worlds that you could leap around, shoot dinosaurs and get squashed by boulders. When I was playing it at home, I had to switch it off after my sisters went to bed. I couldn't play it on my own..! I started playing PC games fairly late compared to most, as I clung to my A1200 (with it's 68030 50Mhz CPU+FPU and 16MB ram) until 1998 when the 3.5" 1.6GB hdd I had shoehorned in there that took about a minute to boot into Workbench suddenly died. A mate sent a ripped copy of Half Life (which was minus the music) - tbh I didn't know anything about the game at the time. I certainly got a taste for it and after buying the game, it took up a lot of my spare time. The game just seemed to keep going on and lasted me a fair old couple of months or so. I never got that far in Opposing Forces though, there was one point where it got rather difficult so I quit. Call of Duty was pretty amazing, but storming the battlements on the beach in COD2 has to be a defining moment in gaming. Of course, HL2 was amazing. Day of Defeat got me hooked on multiplayer online gaming - so much so, that I was on a few website leaderboards for a short time! The first online game I played was something I downloaded from Gameplay I think.. not called Wings but something similar.. anyway, you were strapped in a WW2 biplane and the aim was to shoot down other players in their biplanes. I was that excited to be playing 'real' people online, I was shaking. Looking back on a mostly good gaming past, it's incredibly difficult to pick a game that is defining, a favourite - one that, given the chance you'd go back to play it and still derive much pleasure with it being your only sustenance for an afternoon. I'd have to give the honours to something like Sim City, or Mega-lo-Mania. Something that is easy to pick up but will give you hours of enjoyment, offering a wide range of things to do and which isn't repetitive. In other words, another world you can live in while the real world tumbles on through space for an afternoon or so.