Culture, Style, Tech

Webster Style: Back in the day…The Gamer Edition.

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?

DreddedDeuce & Webster Style EIC


24 thoughts on “Webster Style: Back in the day…The Gamer Edition.”

  1. Ha! Thanks for making me feel incredibly old now!

    Seriously though it was good taking the trip back in time to the good ole days. Things weren’t fancy back then but they sure occupied our time every bit as much as they do now.



  2. Awesome. I remember being addicted to Marble Madness (and almost wet my pants from excitement when I found a version of it for PS2 a number of years back). I remember King’s Quest…Police Quest…(and have recently found emulators for those games online). I remember going with my dad to a local pizza shop and playing Tiger Heli over and over on the tabletop game system. Duck Hunt was the most fun you could have with a fake gun. My brother and I were ecstatic when we discovered that if you pulled your sleeve over your thumb and quickly ran your hand over the A & B buttons, you could run faster and jump higher and further in Track and Field for the original Nintendo. Tetris tournaments were held regularly…usually with my mom taking over the game controller. Those were the days…

    I certainly don’t begrudge modern gaming systems and games…but the real gamers were the ones who played back when it wasn’t cool. 😉


  3. First of all I have to proudly admit that I have my original NES hooked up to my television at home at this very moment. The RF Switch is dicey so I have to disconnect it when I want to watch TV but it’s there, plugged in and ready to go (with a Mario 3 cartridge in the system) and all I have to do is pull the whole TV stand out, unplug the cable, attach the RF Switch and go.

    Yeah, I don’t play it that often for that very reason. But every now and then I get a feigning for Tetris and I have to do it.



  4. I’m continually amused at how I, and those around my age, have that old man “you kids don’t know how good you have it!” attitude with something like Video Games!

    Since plenty of other commetators will no doubt share their own “back in my day” stories, I want to journey into something of a tangent. Today, people buy games like Halo or Call of Duty or whatever for the multiplayer, and entire games are designed around the idea of being some super-fancy, high tech TAG. That stuff is good and fine and fun, but when I played video games as a kid and teenager, I played them by myself. It was “me” time. Me and Mario and Mega Man and Solar Jetman and Cecil and Cloud and Samus and Kyle Katarn and Link and Daniel Fortesque, and I escaped into them the way a bookworm escapes into Treasure Island. I have friends obsessed with Modern Warfare 2, and my wife loves spending time with me playing Lego Batman or Super Mario Bros. Wii, but after that’s all done I find that I need to take Gordon Freeman out on my own and relax a bit.

    Thanks for the fun post; I love this stuff.


  5. Wow! 🙂

    “FLASHBACK” was among my favorite oldies!

    However, the first comp game i ever played was on a computer that used perforated cards for programming! Those were the times!


  6. …and how many joysticks did we destroy as kids?? I will never know, but it was a lot!

    I remember loving to go to aunt and uncle’s because they had a nintendo and all we had was an atari console.

    Pitfall, Joust, and of course, Pac-man.

    simple joys. those were the days, man. Those were the days!



  7. Yet, it seems many people spent so much more time on those simple little video games. I can remember hooking up to Circus Atarii and splatting clowns or feeding Pitfall Harry to to the alligators for hours upon hours on end. We’d go back and replay a hundred thousand times and still be entertained by “We’re sorry Mario, but the Princess is in another castle!”

    Now days my boyfriend rampages through a full game about every 2 weeks and 90% he doesn’t go back and play again. Is it marketing? We’re bored more easily? Gotten spoiled to cooler, more intense storylines but once they’re done you know how they end and you’re done? It’s always been something I wondered when looking back on the classics.


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  9. I inherited my brother’s NES and SNES, and I loved playing Paperboy, Duck Hunt, and Pinball (with Mario and the princess!!!). Gaming has definitely come a long way, and it’s been really good but makes me miss how simple things were.


  10. Oh man, I remember getting my first NES. We played it for hours and hours, and when the neighbor got the super nes, we just about died! And her parents wanted to kill us because we were there ALL THE TIME! Nice post congrats on being freshly pressed 🙂


  11. Oh, those good old days. There wasn’t any online game back then when I was growing up. Video Games and Arcades were totally cool at that time, and started getting hooked on games with Mario Bros. Until now I’m still into gaming mostly MMORPGs.

    Buy WoW Account


  12. Those were the days. I still have my NES, but my daughter laughs at it. We have made some serious progress. I remember going to a friends house and him explaining Quake to me. “so we can play other people? Like from all over?”, His replay-“hell yes, you can talk trash by typing in that box there. I hope this guy isn’t still in elementary school”


  13. This definitely was a fun post and we all like to reminisce!

    I fondly remember when they delivered the first ever electronic arcade game to the local corner cafe the game was “Pac Man”.

    That was in the region of 1980.

    A bit later they delivered the machines that contained Asteroids, Dig Dugg, Galaxian etc…

    Most of those shops had true blue pinball machines as well…
    What a hoot! *ding ding ding ding*


  14. uhhh… mortal kombat and sonic were just some of the games i used to play when i was still young… it’s kind of funny to reminisce about those days together with my brothers as playmates…=)


  15. Ah, memories! I remembered loving going to my cousins’ house, since they had an NES when my mother wouldn’t allow one in the house. Hours of Track and Field, Duck Hunt, and, of course, Mario. I had forgotten about my freshman year of college, when I was completely obsessed with GoldenEye, Mariokart and Mario 64.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


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