I thought you may all want to know a little about me and my history with Video Games. I am a product of the late 70’s and 80’s. Meaning most of what it nostalgic for me came from those great times. I started going to arcades, I’m guessing in the mid to late 70’s. I remember going to arcades that had predominantly mechanical style games, of which one of my fav’s was a game called Stunt Pilot where you maneuvered a plane around a black light lit environment flying it under the St. Louis Arch and other obstacles. When you crashed a little ambulance would come out and blink red and drive around the landscape. Then the video games started making their way into the arcades. I started playing Space Invaders, Targ, Fire Truck, Asteroids, Pac Man, and my absolute favorite — Star Castle. I also really liked M.A.C.H. III, Moon Patrol, Joust, Wacko, Astro Blaster, Carnival and Battlezone. I perfected the Pac Man “Square Pattern” and could routinely make it to the 9th key. I can remember that pattern to this day.
My family began with a Pong system sometime mid to late 70’s. I am not sure which one of the many variations it was. Most likely one from Sears as my Granddad worked there and my parents got lots of presents from Sears. The first system I really remember, like many of you, was the Atari 2600. I remember going to the grocery store where they sold games behind a front counter to get KABOOM! well before I had the actual system. My mom let me get that one game and then would get me the Atari for a birthday present. I remember taking this game to a friends to play since I still didn’t have the system. I think the box art and bright colors drew me in. Obviously the game ended up being one of Activisions best and my all time Atari fav to this day.
My friends soon started getting other systems such as Intellivisions and Colecovisions but I always thought the Atari 2600 was the best. That was until I started playing around with computers in 7th and 8th grade. My Jr. High-school was fortunate at the time to have about 10-20 TRS 80’s – the ones with built in screen and disk drives. I joined “Computer Club” and could learn and play on these all the time. I remember playing Oregon Trail as well as some learning game about the Lock Ness Monster.
I have been looking for one of these TRS-80’s to add to my collection but have yet to come across one in the wild. My best friend at the time then got a C64 and I was completely blown away. Marathon games of M.U.L.E., Archon, Temple of Apshai, Zork, Deadline, Beach Head & Seven Cities of Gold would commence. I immediately begged for a computer but what I got was the Timex Sinclair 1000 for $99.95 from Richmond Gordman. I actually programmed that thing to do lots of cool games, my best of which was a sailboat racing game where you would bet on the out come of a race. I designed the sailboats using the provided key graphics and then programmed them to randomly move across the screen, eventually one beating all the rest. Then the winner would be alerted on screen. Ah- those were the days!
I quickly moved from that to a C64 myself and again quickly to an Apple IIc which I had throughout my high school years. This computer was the best and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything back then. I even loved the green monochrome screen. My favorite games for the Apple were of course both Castle Wolfenstein games, Choplifter, Biolstoad (overhead fighting game where two fighters swung large clubs at each other), a graphic adventure called Critical Mass and quite a few others including all the Infocom Text Adventures. I don’t think I ever had a store bought game as all had the awesome hacker/bbs screens before opening up the game. I know that sounds terrible now, but everyone I knew all had disks with tons of games on them — all hacked copies.
At this time we were in what as know as the “Crash” and for a while I had nothing new. Until the NES came out and I remember not thinking that was that good. I know, duh! But I went for the new Sega Master System , thus starting my love affair with SEGA. The following systems went something like this — After the SMS, bought the Genesis, Skipped the Saturn, Bought a Super Nintendo (Donkey Kong Country just amazed me at the time), Gameboy (all variations), N64 , Sony Playstation, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Gamecube, Sony PS2, and Nintendo Game Cube. I basically had them all and loved them all.
Today I have a collection made up of some of my original games and toys as well as some arcade games that hold special places in my heart. I currently have a nice collection of original stand-up arcade games which you can see by clicking on the link along the left hand menu. I collect Atari 2600 games to play on my Atari 7800. I have a Vectrex, Colecovision, Intellivision, Sega Genesis/CD, Tubro Grafx, Odyssey II, Apple IIc, Timex Sinclair 1000 and lots of electronic hand-held games and gaming memorabilia.
The bottom line is I just love video games. Mostly past, but more and more with the advent of the Nintendo DS and Wii, the present and future as well. But I am akin to think that most of the games these days are getting to real to life and are starting to not look like video games to me anymore. I miss pixels, sprites and blocks. I miss video game music, tunes and theme songs.