Why I Love…Video Games

video-games-background

 

pac-man-cake-birthday

6th Birthday…Pac-Man…Epic!!!!

Pac-Man…that is where it all began for me.  I was 4 in 1980 and would go to Hag’s Drugstore at 56th and Illinois in Indianapolis where they had a Galaga and Pac-Man machine.  I would pretend to play Pac-Man by playing its demo (I really did think I was playing…I just happened to die at the same time each time)…but I was hooked.

It was a time when there were multiple arcades loaded with pinball machines and arcade games from the classic period.  While I enjoyed Kangaroo, my sister enjoyed Centipede.  We would go to the arcade at Glendale Mall (I was ordered not to tell my mother) and play a dollar or so worth of quarters.  The arcades at that point were smoky and had ashtrays on the side of the machines…I also don’t know that all the smoke was from cigarettes.

intellivision-ii-consule-picture

Intellivision II? Yes, please!

The next evolution of this came when my neighbor Brian Church revealed his family had an Atari.  We could play Space Invaders…at home!!!  I never was good at Asteroids, but I did enjoy playing Outlaw and Combat.

Moving away, my obsession with video games continued and resulted in a six birthday with a Pac-Man theme.  I had the Pac-Man cake and a Pac-Man sleeping bag (yet I didn’t own a copy of Pac-Man).

That Christmas we eventually got an Intellivision (no, we still didn’t get Pac-Man), but first time, we could play video games at home.  Burger Time quickly became a favorite of the family and other games like Frogger, Donkey Kong Jr., and Q*Bert joined Intellivision games like Shark! Shark! and other exclusive games.

thunder-castle-box-art-intellivision

I dare to enter Thunder Castle!!!

Eventually games moved on and Intellivision games slowly started disappearing (though some of the last games like Thin Ice, ThunderCastle, and the Burger Time sequel Diner were quite fun).  It seemed like video games were kind of dying out when my neighbor Mike Brooks revealed he had gotten a Nintendo Entertainment System, and the bug was reawakened!

Between Mike and my friend Will Hoagland, I had some NES envy and finally got my NES (a Super Mario/Duck Hunt combo) in 6th grade.  I found myself loving games like Kid Icarus (any game you get transformed into an eggplant gets my vote) and Mega Man along with tons of other platformers.  Jumping and climbing towers and buildings become second nature.  Getting my Nintendo Power each month, I’d pour through the issues picking an choosing which games I’d try to rent or buy (for my view on Nintendo Power, follow this link).

maniac-mansion-box-art

You know you tried to microwave the hamster…

Eventually the NES went the way of the dodo and replaced by the Super NES.  A better system, but it didn’t have the heart that the NES had.  The NES gave way to the Nintendo 64 in college and allowed people to come by for a game of Diddy Kong Racing or GoldenEye.

Throughout this time, I had a tough relationship with computer games.  The constant updates and wacky controls always made me leery of getting involved with them.  I loved things like LucasArts Monkey Island series or Maniac Mansion or Dark Forces, but it was always easier to pick-up and put down console games.  Despite this my other friend (also named Mike) and I would spend hours trying to decode puzzles games (pre-internet).

super-mario-bros-the-movie

I like Mario in spite of this…and shamefully saw it in the theater

By now Playstation and Xbox were being released and despite even better games, I stuck with the Nintendo…mostly for Zelda and Mario.  Eventually I bought the PS2 and played the hell out of it (yes, mine never broke down).  I did get the GameCube, but of my systems, it probably received the least love.

The next generation did grab me.  First I got an Xbox 360 (which broke once and was replaced…a real irritation with the next gen), then I got the Wii which brought back a lot of fun of the original Nintendo but had a hard time competing with the Xbox.  Most recently as the next wave of consoles prepare to come out, I got the PS3…and I’m a bit undecided on it.

assassins-creed-ii-venice

You can be like Desmond Miles…just put in an old game and it’s like you’re in the Animus…back in to your past!

Now, gaming is a lot different for me.  It used to be that I couldn’t afford a ton of games and played through them much faster than I could get them.  Now I can afford games but due to the length of the games, work, and divided time with films and TV, I never seem to get through unless a game really grabs me.  I think Achievements and Trophies have both helped and hindered the games by providing tons of more playtime, but playtime is a double edge sword.

I don’t know where video games are going to go.  The PS4 sounds ok, Wii U has some interesting aspects, and Xbox One seems to be eliminating (and pissing off) the casual gamer so I don’t know that I’m going to run out and get any of them…more and more I find myself playing older games instead of new ones.  I will always be a gamer, but I don’t know where that game future will be.

Preceded By:

Why I Love…Movies

Followed By:

Why I Love…The Legion

 

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response