Not every item on this list will be about a positive change. I spotted this game at a flea market in my home city, Aalst, Belgium. I was probably 13 years old. I was with our family friend, Francesco, a half Italian half Belgian guy who became kinda my assistant father or something.

Looking back I don’t really understand how or why he was so good to me, because he wasn’t blood related at all. Anyway, either I bought the game, or more likely he bought it for me. Am still surprised I bought it at a flea market when this game had just been released. We didn’t have a computer back then and the sole reason we bought one was so I could play this game. I became completely addicted to it. Soon it was all I could think about it.

I was a very good student until this game arrived. My results took a serious Gettysburgian hit… I can still name all the types of guns used in this game though. I remember most of the Confederate unit commanders. Some of the most exciting moments of my life came when I played this game against my childhood friend Ben. We were at it for weeks just to finish one campaign. It really was so real you could smell the gun powder. Later when I got the second version at university the same thing happened. My grades suffered and I played it whole nights.

Hell, if these games could run on my current laptop I would probably be playing it right now. I have mixed feelings about it… I don’t know how many thousands of hours I played this game… I replayed it and replayed it sometimes just to try and capture the entire Union army in every battle. The AI sucked incredibly much. Only in the last battles did the AI have such advantages that it became possible to lose or at least incur heavy losses. Imagine all the more useful things I could have done with that time…

But as John Lennon said: ‘Time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted’.