Avoiding Adulthood

I fell in love with computer games (or video games, as we called them back in the beginning) at an early age. Pong came out when I was around 10 or so, and I can’t think of any phase in my life since in which I wasn’t at least occasionally playing arcade games or computer games. There was a particularly exciting time around ’83 or ’84 when arcade games were nearing their height of popularity and the arcades near campus were having price wars. You could play games for a nickle, rather than the usual quarter. One arcade always had one game set to play for free, just to lure customers. (It was on such a day that I got to level 85 on Tempest.)

I’ve mostly missed out on the home console scene. My last console was an Atari 2600 (although I’m not sure that the original release was actually called a 2600). By 1986 I had a Macintosh, and after that somehow I got it into my head that I could get along with Mac games (and later PC games) rather than buying an NES or a PS or whatever. I’m starting to waver on that conviction; there are a lot of good games coming out on various consoles and I’m growing a little weary of spending lots of money on new graphics cards every couple of years just so that we can play the latest FPS titles.

Anyway, this is all a roundabout introduction to the mention of my recent purchase of a Nintendo DS Lite. We’ve got another vacation coming up and I decided I’d buy a DS to provide additional distraction on the plane flights. The last time I had a new handheld electronic game it was either a Merlin or an Electronic Quarterback. Needless to say they’ve come a long way since then–but yes, I knew that before I bought it; I’m not quite that out of touch. I will say that I’m impressed by the quality of the displays which are sharper and generally more pleasing than I expected from their resolution specs. (The photo doesn’t really do them justice.)

IMG 3450

Visible on the upper screen is Xevious, a recreation of a game that was among my favorites when I was 16 or so. It amuses me that many of the arcade games from the 1980s are still very popular, judging from both the presence of commercial versions such as the one shown above and the very active emulation scene (MAME et al). I don’t know whether or not this popularity is driven primarily by nostalgic old farts such as myself, but my 15-year-old neighbor who occasionally pummels me at PS2 games allows that some of the old games are pretty fun. Maybe she’s just humoring me.

By adam

Go ahead, try to summarize yourself in a sentence or two.

1 comment

  1. My last game computer (although not a console really) was the MSX. I spent countless hours on King’s Quest, Road Fighter, Gunfright, Galaga etc.

    Then came PC and I wasted even more time with FPS’s like Doom, ROTT and Quake. Upgrading hardware for just about each new shooter in the next years, but I finally gave up after UT2004. I guess that’s where adulthood kicked in for me. It was a funny feeling to not have the urge to upgrade hardware anymore. Now I feel like a total noob when I flick through a PC catalogue heh.

    Last week I treated myself to a new mobile phone and I got excited thinking about the old games I could run on this thing since it runs WM6. I think I’m in the league of nostalgic old farts…

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