So, a few weeks ago on one of my message boards, we celebrated Mario turning 25 and we also discussed all of the gaming systems we have had since our first one. Kids today have it easier than we did with much better graphics, bigger production budgets and surround sound. If you had to explain to your kids how gaming (and online playing) was when WE were growing up, what would you tell them?
Back in the day I remember(DreddedDeuce):
Having to use a switchbox to turn to the right station for my Atari
or Intellivision. We didn’t have your fancy A/V plugs and your HDMI ports. We had wires with copper clips at the end. Blowing on a Nintendo cartridge or using an alcohol tipped Q tip to became a vital ritual to get the game to work. When we wanted to play a game, we had to use a screwdriver to attach it to the back of the TV! We had to pay PER MINUTE to use the internet.
I remember that there were no maps, no hints,no detailed strategy guide, we just had figure it out. We had the Konami code. We got by with a joystick and one red button. We had to physically press a power button on the system instead of turning on the power with the controller. On most games, there was o save function. You played and you play to win that day. We played games, not see the game ending but to get the high score.
Before 3D motion capture, sports games only had ‘red vs blue’ and you had to imagine what teams and players they were and YOU had to make your own commentary! Portable gaming meant LED lights, pixels, and blocky animation. LCD was the upgrade, which meant you stopped playing in red and started playing in black and gray. You were happy to play Mario in olive green and grays. Even though it has crappy graphics by today’s standards, I got nauseous playing Descent.
No such thing as a demo disk or downloadable demos. If you wanted to know what it was about, go to the mall. As a matter of fact, IN MY DAY, there was NO GAMESTOP, BABBAGES, GAME CRAZY whatever! Not even Gamefly and you couldn’t rent games from the video store and for the ones that did have it, they almost always DID NOT have the game you wanted. Back in MY DAY, you wanted a game you had to go to a department store like a Sears or Montgomery Ward or Toys R Us if you could find one and buy it.
It’s still slightly disturbing seeing a Namco collection of games the fit onto a tiny disk or for those of you with MAME on your PCs, how 200+ games are barely a blip on the hard drive but took up tons of space in the arcade. And these are some of my memories, before there was fancy lifelike graphics, games that played like epic movies, and way before the 50+ hr RPG, what about you?
Back in the day I remember(Webster Style EIC):
It’s amazing to me how far gaming has progressed in the past few decades. Logging into Xbox live on a daily basis is a far cry from where my gaming journey began. Clutching the joystick of an Atari 2600 was my gateway into an electric technicolor dreamland of adventure. Today that dreamland is more lifelike than ever.
I remember the Christmas when “Santa” left a NES under the tree. The excitement of having Mario all to myself. The joy which ensued was felt with each iteration of Mario that graced the platform. I remember sitting with my boys playing Double Dragon (1 &2), Battletoads, Contra, and any other game that someone brought over for hours on end.
I remember when multiplayer meant going to the arcade. Proving that you were the best against random strangers. Spending hours hanging with friends trying to lean all of the fatalities of Mortal Combat, the combos of Hyper Street Fighter II, or the Ultras of Killer Instinct. Going down to the near by pizza shop with my fellow classmates to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or searching the city to find a working Xmen unit just to play with three other people was our very definition of multiplayer.
Back in my day we had mascots for each system. We all know of Mario and Sonic’s exploits, but I remember Bonk. Before my Genesis I had a Turbografx-16, and Bonk’s Adventure was one of my favorite games on the system. I remember spending hours playing the Bonk, Galaga 90, and Splatterhouse. A great system Turbografx-16 was.
I remember 10-12 college students all huddled around a little 13 inch tv just to get there turn playing Goldeneye 64. I stood in line on 9/9/99 to purchase my first system with my own money . I remember rushing back to my dorm to play Blue Stinger & Power Stone. I remember asking my housemate what football game was on, only to realize that he was playing NFL 2K (Madden who?). I remember hooking my Dreamcast up to the internet and playing on o f the greatest games of all time Phantasy Star Online. Dreamcast you are missed by me and so many others.
Today, I carry emulated versions of Streets of Rage and Bonk’s Adventure on my phone. It is certainly amazing how far we have come. There are some of our fondest gaming memories, what are some of yours?