Hey kids, sorry for the delay on this! I got some FANTASTIC entries in this contest, and it was two of them that really stuck with me, so I begged and pleaded for a second key so I could have co-winners! YAY! Now that the winners have been chosen and the keys doled out, the winners have given me permission to share their stories!
First, from Peter Van Hemert:
I just want to start by saying that I would not be the person I am now without Homeworld. I firmly believe that, that is how much it has impacted my life. I started playing Homeworld when I was 6. Funny thing is that my dad had bought the game, he then had to go on a business trip before he had a chance to even open the box. I on the other hand having nothing to do all day was already used to computers and using them frequently and I was intrigued by the artwork on the box, opened and installed it by myself on the computer. I remember being dazed in amazement at everything I could do in the game and I had a ton of fun. I played this game for what would seem like thousands of hours of my childhood. At least every other year I would play through the campaign again and the story would always have one more thing I got out of it as I grew older and still gives me shivers to this day when I play. This game shaped my childhood so much that almost all of my Lego creations were based off of it. Every time I created something, it would be some mock of a ship in Homeworld. Sometimes I would pretend I was the commander of a fleet and spend hours imagining what it would be like in that universe.
There are probably thousands of games where I could think of when I played skirmish or multiplayer. Whenever I reach mission 5 and 7, I always think back to when I was a kid because these were the ones that always caused me to struggle the most and huge enjoyment when I finally beat them and later became the most fun. There was once a skirmish match I was playing with carrier vs carrier and I almost had the upper hand but lost my carrier, leaving me only with a couple of fighters; only to find a crate that spawned a carrier, that was awesome. There were many occasions where I helped a lot of people test out new maps they created, sometimes really weird ones, like all the resources making the shape of Kirby, or the entire map covered with Tiidan research stations. I also claim to be one of the first kids to see the Homeworld 2 trailer and freak out, probably like every other person who was as dedicated as I was, then go to the store with all the money I was able to scrounge up and buy it the day it was released. I also dedicate how my life turned out by this game. Even if my computer crashed, it would not deter me from playing Homeworld and I made it my mission to fix every problem just enough so that I can be able to play. Eventually when I had my dungeon of old computers during high school, Homeworld was the game I used to test each computer’s capabilities, because it was the only thing that really mattered. Even to get a little weird now, my favorite laptop, which was just barely able to play Homeworld, I had officially named Karen because of the game. Surprisingly, this was on a 1995 Panasonic that came with Win 95 that I had configured just right to run Win XP and could run Homeworld with lowest graphics. When Windows 7 came out and I switched(after obtaining a “newer” computer), I basically forced the computer to run it, with forced resolutions and new graphical mods that I found, even as they were getting harder to find on the internet. On that note, I also had a hard drive that was dedicated to the storing of “relics”, this would include hundreds of old maps, mods, artwork, the actual games with Cataclysm, the special Raiders demo, and the Yes album Homeworld, which “Homeworld” is still my claimed “absolute favorite song” and have memorized the words as well.
When Sierra went under, I was deeply depressed. I followed a couple other games they released including Half-life, Ground Control 1, “1.5”, and 2, and World in Conflict, but they didn’t provide that special sci-fi fantasy that Homeworld did. I also believe Homeworld was the push that got me heavily involved in sci-fi as a whole. I greatly enjoy also playing Starcraft and extensively played Eve for the 14 day trial I had. I also watched a lot of space fairing Sci-Fi shows including Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis, Universe, and surprisingly I was able to catch Infinity while I was still a kid), Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly(which I also adore), and many old cartoons that mostly had ships in them. One of the original Homeworld’s abilities as a game was if you entered “-pilot” as a start-up command, you could press “Q” to enter the cockpit of the currently selected ship, and all this combined with the rest of Homeworld’s awesomeness fueled my childhood into the love of planes and the shuttle programs and I still want to learn how to fly to this day. Unfortunately, and more interestingly though is that I am currently in college as a programmer, and every once in a while dipping my fingers in game design, with every attempt at similarity to Homeworld in some way shape or form. Unfortunately, I have discovered that college life is expensive, and the reason that I have not yet purchased the new Remastered, which I became extremely frustrated with my self when I discovered that I had not the money needed to purchase it.
If I didn’t have Homeworld in my childhood, all I can say is that I would not be where I am today, and I would rather this than anything else. Everything my imagination has ever dreamed of has been in some way shape or form influenced by my early childhood’s integration of Homeworld. I would love to be a child again, just to experience Homeworld for the first time, one more time. If this is not the childhood that has been integrated with Homeworld the most, then I would love to hear that story as well. I really want to play this new remastered version as It would make my childhood complete, would you please be able to dedicate the key that you have to me so that I can play?
Thank you for your time.
Our other co-winner’s story comes from Joe Caracciolo:
Space has always fascinated me and I believe that is because my upbringing was so very harsh but one of the shining lights was my Irish great grandma who taught me to believe in infinite possibilities. She would tell me old Irish tales of the stars and the great legends of The Red Branch and Cuchulainn. I am also a sleight of hand artist thanks to her unwavering encouragement but that’s another story.
To escape the dangers of my childhood, I would peer into the night sky through a pitifully small refractor telescope that a friend lent to me. Even through that tiny aperture and chromatic aberration caused by cheap optics, I could see those infinite possibilities my great grandma talked about. I wanted to be there; I wanted to break free. Nothing could hurt you there I thought and there was always one more star, one more planet, one more thread of the tapestry!
Sometime later I got into PC gaming – more accurately gaming on the Commodore Amiga and the legendary C64. The two genres that captivated me then and still captivate me to this very day are fantasy and sci-fi. I think I played every space shooter available on the C64 and Amiga from Delta Patrol, Elite, and Armalyte to Starglider, Elite II: Frontier, and Rules of Engagement. On the PC is was Wing Commander Privateer and a freeware Star Trek game that literally consumed hundreds of hours of my life as I ordered Lt. Sulu to go to warp 7. These were privileged times and I shall never forget them. Yet, as brilliant as these games were – and are – I had to project what I saw in my mind’s eye and fill in the gaps that seemed missing on the screen and most important of these gaps was this sense of the infinite.
I walked into the local GameStop one afternoon and on the New Release shelf something caught my eye. It was of course Homeworld. I picked up the box and frankly I was rooted to the spot. I looked at those screenshots and I honestly was not aware of anything or any one else around me. But I was a bit skeptical. After all, could these screenshots be reprentative of the actual game or were they just pre-rendered cutscenes?
I bought it and literally rushed back to my apartment at speeds not considered safe. I remember simultaneously tossing my coat over a chair while powering up my 450 mHZ Pentium.
Then, it happened …
Everything I had imagined, every gap I had heretofore filled was there! I didn’t actually play the game at first. Instead, I panned the camera around and I was transported to those places I had imagined years before in that tiny refractor and in those 8 and 16 bit games. I zoomed in and out on the mothership and looked at the beauty and mystery of the cosmos around her. I peered into what felt like infinity. I had never experienced a game so alive and I hadn’t actually played it!
When I finally decided I should actually try the game, to my surprise that feeling of “finally infinity” truly became real for me. I watched that first squadron of fighters leave the safety of the mothership and I found myself creating a personal narrative within the game’s own narrative. What would my explorers find in beyond that nebula? What wonders awaited terrible though they might be, THIS was infinity and demanded my full attention; it demanded exploration and I smiled.
As a sleight of hand magician I get to see people smiling and laughing in mystification at a well executed routine. Of course, as I know the secrets, I can only share in that wonder vicariously. Homeworld allowed ME to experience real magic. I smiled, I laughed, I explored, and I quietly thanked my departed great grandma for teaching me to believe and to Relic for creating a universe of possibilities, indeed, finally infinity!
Both of those stories really hit me in the feels, so thank you to both of these guys for their excellent stories!
To the other folks who entered, don’t fret, you’ll be getting a key for SOMETHING soon. :) Thanks to all whom entered!