I grew up in a neighbourhood with not a single child to play with and my allergies also denied me a pet companion. I was a very, very curious kid and absorbed every piece of knowledge I possibly could. My parents decided against the easy way of putting me in front of a television set and spent their time with me. Yep, that was already unusual 26 years ago. My dad (an engineer) used to create Lego machines with me and explained the basic principles of physics to me. I knew about pressure, torque and differentials very early. My dad also had a passion for computers and so it was just a question of time until he introduced me to my first computer games.
I was four years old when I started playing. My first games were Lemmings and Prince of Persia. Keep in mind that I was not able to read at that age. So my dad sat next to me and explained what was going on. We also took turns and talked about what happened.
Gaming was different
Launching a game from a command-line was a task in itself. Especially if you are neither able to write nor to read. In fact I learned typing before writing. And if handling a computer was not challenging enough, games surely were: They were hard and unforgiving. We had no choice to just switch the game if we couldn't make any progress. I learned to stay calm and persistant which are traits most children lack nowerdays...
Games had a very unique fascination on me: They were relatively minimalistic and yet so beautiful. Easy to learn, yet hard to master: One second of concentration loss could mean that the last hour of progress was gone... When I spectate children today I see them switching the (racing) game on an iPad almost immediately when they hit their first wall, literally.
Since my dad taught me quite a bit about computers I also wanted to figure out how games were made. When I could read & write he explained to me how IF-statements worked and it was mesmerizing to play around with just that very basic knowledge in a spreadsheet application. Being able to alter the course of action for a program contained enough fascination to keep me motivated over many years. There had always been this dream of creating my own game...