My name is Michelle Baldwin, I’m a twenty-something lass making a living in web development, but most of my free time is spent thinking about or playing video games. I was born and raised playing games, I learnt how much I enjoyed games not long after I learnt to read. Video games have helped make me the person I am today, and this website reflects the games that I’ve grown up with, appreciated and those that have left a genuine impression on me.
When I am not playing games I can be usually found cycling on my electric bicycle or knitting. I have a deep affinity with games, but I grew up with a privileged education, a huge imagination and a love for the outside too.
For the last five years I have lived with the chronic illness endometriosis. I try not to let my illness effect my life too much. It has unfortunately limited how often I can write (due to chronic pain and fatigue). You can read more about my experiences with endometriosis on my website Endohope.
I was a child of the mid-Eighties, and some of my very first memories were playing Centipede, Pacman and Yar’s Revenge on the Atari 2600, and learning to type on the Spectrum ZX, I was three years old, and over 20 years later I’ve yet to fall out of love with games, the way they work, how they’re put together, written and built.
At school I was the only person who could complete games on the BBC Micro, I was the child that would troubleshoot the Acorn Archimedes. Not much has changed.
I received my first gaming console of my very own when I was eight years old – a much-loved Sega Game Gear, and then a Mega Drive a year later. As a consequence I grew up a die-hard SEGA fan, and this is when my gaming collection began to start. When I was given issue five of the British Sonic the Comic one week, I realised that I was a gamer – someone who played and enjoyed games much more than the average primary school child, as every Monday morning essay was a description of the game I had enjoyed the previous weekend.
In the late 1990s I started to realise that I wanted more games, more experiences, I began to play everything. Picking up a Playstation in 1996 continued my teenage love-affair with platform games and RPGs. But broadly speaking these days I’ll play near enough anything, I have no favourite genre to speak of, but I have a good understanding of what I do and do not enjoy in games.
The year 2000 onwards marked the beginning of some of my best years of gaming, Christmas with my beloved Dreamcast, months spent enjoying all that console had to offer especially Phantasy Star Online, those first moments spent playing games online with others reminded me of what I enjoyed most about gaming – enjoying a great game with great people.
In 2002 I acquired my first Nintendo console, a Gamecube, with games like Eternal Darkness and Animal Crossing showing what the other side could do, I started my Nintendo renaissance, as I began to catch up with all the older Nintendo consoles, right up to the N64. I now try to pick up as many great games as I can and hold onto them, I don’t generally discriminate between platforms, I’ll play anything.
This website is firstly a homage to Phantasy Star Online (named after the planetary recolonisation plan from the start of the game), but it’s much more than that, it’s a way to create a slow written record of the games I’ve loved over the years. Some of games that weren’t widely appreciated at the time, some are widely regarded to to be awesome and I’d like to add to the glowing retrospective, and some won’t have been heard of by very many people and just need more of a presence online.
All the content shown here is mine – including the pictures – I take every screenshot or scan myself, I’m trying to add to the already brilliant gaming community after finding that a lot of the games I write about have the same pictures online.
I try to write about games in the way that I’d like to see them presented, that means I don’t always follow the industry news, I don’t reprint press releases, and I write from the heart. I’ll write my own interpretations of games to help others think about a well-played game in another way. Sometimes I’ll just like about brave little games I admire and the developers that really tried something new that helped shaped other games.
It’s just me updating this website so updates are slow, sometimes uneven, mainly because of my chronic illness, but also because I am aiming for a quality not quantity.