I figured it was time to start my own blog. I've got enough random posts going throughout the boards, that can be easily be compiled into the story of my personal DK journey.
For me, video games started around age 5, probably earlier. An Atari 2600 was the first console my mom and dad bought for the family. My dad brought home a vic 20 from his work for a few weeks, at one point, which we played text-based games on. And there was an arcade less than a minute's walk from my parents house, in the little shopping center on the corner of an otherwise upper-middle-class neighborhood. I remember Super Pac-Man being my favorite game there, and my sister would take me whenever my parents would have a big blowout arguement/yelling match, which was probably once every 2-3 weeks. Those are my earliest memories of video games.
Fast forward through the ages of playing at the arcade across from the high school between last period and the start of football practice, countless consoles, falling in love with Street Fighter and other fighting games, purchasing my first jamma cabinet with 2 friends, getting married, having kids.... And here we are today. I turned 40 in March, in May I bought my DK cabinet, and now have a MAME jamma cabinet, a dedicated SF cabinet, my DK cab, and a retro console corner, all in my man cave.
As for my DK history, I started playing somewhat infrequently once the first JAMMA cabinet got converted to a MAME cabinet. The cabinet when first purchased, resided at the home of my closest friend, best man and one of the co-owners of the cabinet (all the same person, to be clear) Josh, which was the party house at the time. When first purchased, the cabinet had a bootleg version of street fighter in it. This was fun for a bit, but we soon purchased a legitimate street fighter board (Hyper Fighting), which stayed fun for a bit, but we all soon grew restless for more games. Mortal Kombat was purchased, Marvel vs. Capcom, High Impact Football, NBA Jam, and some others. At the same time, I wired a 3-game or 4-game JAMMA switcher, so we had 3 or 4 games hooked up and could cycle through them. That lasted for about 6 months, then I embarked on turning the cabinet into a MAME powerhouse. That is how the cabinet remains to this day, and it is from this evolution that my DK history begins.
We (Josh and I) put Donkey Kong in our regular rotation of games to play every time we got together. At the time, prior to either of us being married, and obviously, a more care-free time in our lives, it was typically Saturdays and Thursday nights that we would get together. There would always be beers involved. I think either of us were yet to break 100k. Gradually, over time, one of us broke 100k then the other. Somewhere in there, I moved into a house with my wife and stepson, and the MAME cabinet eventually made its way to my garage. I specifically remember one day, when people were coming over to hang out and drink some beers, I had started a game before anybody showed up. About 30 minutes later I was approaching 100k. I ignored friends as they showed up, and remember Josh saying from inside the house "Chris is about to break my high score" (he was holding the high score in our ongoing 2-man competition at the time). I ended up scoring I think just over 127k that day. He eventually broke 130k, and held the high score for a long time.
The friendly competition continued, with the needle on the high score mark creeping up slightly over the years. I don't think either of us ever got much past 140k.
Then, of course, king of kong came out. We watched and enjoyed it, and committed to never letting DK leave our rotation. We were still meeting up weekly or semi-weekly to play.
Now, we are in late-2014. The Arcade Expo was coming to Banning, CA. I passed a billboard for it, while driving outside of San Diego County, for work. I took a picture and texted it to Josh, thinking hey that's cool that they're having that, not really giving it much thought past that. His immediate response was "we're going". It was on. The expo was a blast. We were there Friday and Saturday, and man....so many awesome classics. I posted a 178k DK score. New personal best. And the defining moment when I knew without question that I was incompetent in passing L4+ elevators, and I would never substantially improve my PB if I didn't do something about that.
Well, lots of watching tuts and vids from the current greats in the game, and I slowly taught myself how to beat elevators. Then I identified that my barrel game was weak (still working on that one, but improving little by little), and pie factory was probably my biggest hindrance after training myself on the elevators. So, back to the training vids, researching and finding great info on DK forums, and watching the greats on youtube and twitch. It's a work in progress. My PB's are in my signature, and my current goal is a kill screen. Upping my PB's has plateaued off, but I feel I improving my early game and getting the fundamentals down, which is going to improve my overall gameplay.
In an nutshell, I'm a video gamer from way back. Many things have come and gone in my life, but video games have always been a constant. I am blessed to have a wonderful son and daughter (both of whom by no coincidence love video games) and a loving wife that (mostly) supports my "habits". It can be a challenge balancing family, work, school, church, personal commitments, etc etc etc and still find time to do the thing I enjoy most, but in the end, it's all worth it.
Below are links to the posts on the forums that add to the story, and further below are pics of my man cave (described above). Thanks for reading.
My DK cabinet: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1286.0
Video/audio capture from DK board edge connector project: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1315.0