Behind every passion is an inspiration. For me, it was cartoons and games.
In this article, I will list the most influential entertainment that inspired me to learn about automation, programming, and mechanical engineering.
New adventures of Gigantor
Early 90's - Television series
In my childhood i spent a lot of time at the my uncles farm in rural Norway. The one thing that for many years was the highlight of these visits was the fact that i could watch a lot of Cartoon Network. And on top of my watch list was "The new adventures of gigantor". I used to fantasize about having my own remote controlled robot that could fight other robots. At the time i did not understand english, but i actually think that made it a bit more exciting for me, since i had to make up my own dialog, wich i actually think made the show better than it in reality was...
Screenshot from New Adventures of Gigantor
Unfortunately for me, Cartoon Network started to make more and more original content, and therefore aired less and less third-party content like my favorite show "Gigantor". As time went on the show slipped further into the back of my head, and there were no more robot shows for me to watch on TV in Norway.
Feature cop LAPD
1998 - PlayStation
I think it's impossible for kids nowadays to imagine the jump I experienced when I and my friends transitioned from the Super Nintendo and the Sega Megadrive to the mighty Sony PlayStation. The fully realized 3D worlds and the adult-like games really addicted us. I was fortunate that my parents bought me the official Norwegian PlayStation magazine for a couple of years. Bundled with each release was a demo disc. I read the magazine to pieces and played all the games on the demo disc until I had explored them enough that I had made a decision to place one of the games on my birthday or Christmas wishlist or not. One game I have a special fond memory of is "Future Cop LAPD". A game where you and an optional coop split-screen friend take control of police mechs. The game makes these mechs a new kind of weaponized police car. The role of these mechs is to clean the underworld and slums of gangsters and mobsters in a very 'murrican way. In other words, kill and destroy everything that is classified as bad or evil.
Screenshot from Furure cop LAPD
I remember my best friend and I played this game for the entirety of a sleepover. I remember sugar-driven laughing and excitement the power fantasy gave us. The aim lock-on mechanism aiming and firing rockets on turrets while we ran around stomping baddies with machineguns and rocket launchers. Good times!
Metal Gear Solid
1999 - PlayStation
This game was a catalyst for so much technology interest in my life. First of all, this game was the first game I ever played that felt like watching an action-triller of a movie.
Full voice acting was not a normal thing back in the days, and the theme of the game about nuclear weapons and a giant mecha that was the launch platform for nuke's scared the shit out of me and at the same time made me very interested in how it all could be possible.
Screenshot from Metal Gear Solid
I remember spending a lot of time drawing schematics of how I would build one for myself. And when I went through my education to become an automation mechanic this game was a huge inspiration for me to learn as much as i could.
2002 - Xbox
I remember vividly all my friends talked about how spoiled a friend of ours was for having a robot game for his birthday present. I visited him and was a bit shocked at how big and cool the controller was. The dual-stick controller with a gear shift, thee pedals, and a huge array of buttons gave me a sensory overload. Unfortunately for me, the game was way too difficult and really made me feel terrible as a gamer for not mastering the game.
Screenshot from Steel Battalion
Since I had never played any simulator games and did not really understand the appeal of high difficulty in gameplay and just controlling the damned robot. I thought for myself that the game was a waste of time and money.
My friend was heavily into mech' games. And had a lot of experience with the MechWarrior series. To him, Steel Battalion was a dream come true. It took me a couple of years to reach the same conclusion.
Being a long-time roleplaying game fan I stumbled over the BattleTech universe after watching some youtube videos about the hype around MechWarrior 5. To my absolute fascination, I discovered a rich literature and game franchise with a lot of lore depth and a really good and plausible sci-fi story set one thousand years in the future. Recently I found out that there had been made a turn-based PC strategy game based on the tabletop RPG and strategy game.
Screenshot from Battletech
This game is amazing. With a lot of technical depth, and fantastic freedom to really live the mech mercenary outfit fantasy. This game was a fantastic introduction to the BattleTech universe that actually made me spend more time reading novels and watching youtube videos about BattleTech lore and the different mech types in the universe.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
2019 - PC
Finally, in December 2019 a new modern mech game that arrived could push my gaming rig's graphical capability. Before the release, there was an 8 part novel that was released as an e-pub for kindle and similar devices. This was the perfect hype builder for the release that gave me an exciting look into the background story of the main characters in the game.
Screenshot from MechWarrior 5
Unfortunately, my expectations for a story in the game were not met. I have actually never played a game with a worse story. I cannot put the proper words down to explain my disappointment with the story. The novels are written by professional writers. The game's story is written by a 12-year old. In my opinion a really unfortunate missed opportunity. The gameplay is good though. But I got so frustrated with the story that I was not able to play it for more than a couple of hours.
That was until the amazing VR mod for MechWarrior 5 was released in September 2021. That along with the two DLC's made the game a lot more enjoyable. Actually, it's really good!