By in General, OJ Borg - Editorial


Hi, my name’s Big Diana Ross

I’ve been developing a theory over the last couple of years, mainly due to a sense of self preservation for my ability to game at 32 years of age.

And here is my “Origins of a Species” moment; Men of my generation are socially conditioned to be gamers.

I was 7 when my dad bought me an Amstrad CPC-464. He’d spent 4 weeks teaching it to play Happy Birthday AND scroll in different colored text. It really was a marvel in magenta 5 bit mono glory. Did I care? No, no I didn’t because I now had my own bedroom based portal into Monty on the Run, Desert Island and all the other titles that sweaty lipped men (like myself of a friday night) name in bars like the same way more adjusted males of past generations talked about owning real things like rare records or first editions of magazines. Talking about what games you obsessed over is now cool.

You know this includes you if this gets you moist….

I was getting my first embarrassing tight trousers moments when the NES and the Mastersystem hit and was then joining secondary school with the Mega Drive, the SNES and – my own personal siren – the Amiga (I even had the 500+ which wouldn’t play most games). These cemented my love of gaming and it was the Amiga that first showed me it was possible to put in whole nighters staring at pixels. I once did a night shift on Sensible World of Soccer scoring 132 goals with Andy Cole. Feel free to top that.

At this point I’m now 19 and it’s off to University for PS1. Oh and a degree – but there was Tomb Raider to conquer so who cared about that? The N64 ruined a portion of my life around this point mainly due to the ability of Johnny the Fish to beat me in EVERY race on Mario Kart. I stopped trying a couple of weeks ago.

Post Uni and, with a limp BSc in my pocket, I flirt with PC gaming and started to forget about single player modes, barreling straight for “Multiplayer”.

I get jobs, I get a break on TV… but more importantly I get really good at Tekken Tag.

I’m now 32 and consoles are expensive. So are the games. But then, with a full time job, I can afford them. Or at least I can manage the credit card bill when I go all SATC in HMV.

I also don’t have as much time to see friends who live far and wide across the world. The Answer? Xbox Live and my new alter ego – BIG DIANA ROSS. I still get to play games but also have the same immature conversations and communal gameplay that was always a corner stone of my life. Consoles are now both enjoyment and an important way me and my friends stay in touch. Sounds like an excuse but I have friends I only ever really catch up through it.

So to sum it up my feeble and wafer thin theory of why I have to play videogames, I, and therefore men of ‘that sort of age’, were the perfect age when computers became readily available for recreational use, the right age for the console explosion, the right age for living room based gaming warfare that was heightened with BEER and the right age for social online gaming when seeing your married and responsible child owning friends was next to impossible and the money to invest in an expensive pursuit could be siphoned off from the grocery budget without your mum complaining.

As much as my girlfriend doesn’t like me to say this in polite company (or impolite, or any company really)… I’m Big Diana Ross, and I game, therefore I am.

Disagree? Course you do – say it to my face at