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stream of conscious

Mezrabad

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meloncholy. this is all I can remember about videogames from my childhood in no particular order punctuation or spelling .

 

Everything I can remember about video games prior to 1987 spring of 1986, college roommate asks if I've ever heard anything about Nintendo? I reply "no" spring of 1986, person on dorm floor has an Apple II and a copy of Karateka 2: Wrath of Dude. Laughed heartily. Junior year (1984) two D&D friends talk about Mail Order Monsters sometime in High School, I get a C64 (1984?). No disk drive. I did buy Gateway to Apshai and loved it. Spent all night playing it with a friend. Bought it at King of Prussia and read the instructions aloud like a big dorky ham.

 

Received an atari 2600 with combat pack in a blackjack cart and space invaders for Xmas from my dear now dead Granmom. Had to be Xmas of 1980. Later get Outlaw, Adventure, Circus Atari, Surround (with the McGroary's at a sale at Penny's in 69th street). Slot Machine (for some reason). Skiing, Pitfall. Indy 500. Slot Racers. Space Combat. I don't remember what else. I remember playing Superman and Asteroids at Mike Bair's House. I remember an Odyssey^2 at David Cregan's house, but don't remember it ever hooked up. Tommy Malone had a ColecoVision. I think I remember playing Venture on it.

 

At the bowling alley arcade. I remember playing Seawolf. Astro Fighter (with Cregan). Venture. Battlezone. Asteroids. Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Missile Command. Galaxian. Star Castle. Omega Race. Space Wars. Q-bert. Tempest. (Some game with the statue of liberty in the background?)

 

At our corner WaWa there was a Zaxxon, a Q-bert and a Dragon's Lair if I recall.

 

PONG in the bowling alley in New Paltz, NY. Checkmate in the basement of the franklin institute circa 1978. Atari Football (cocktail) at the Pizza Hut at Barkely Square. Dark Castle on the Macintosh. Robot Odyssey on Jeff Glasse's Apple II Circus Atari in a restaurant somewhere.

 

5200 games at Bair's: Breakout, Countermeasure, Space Dungeon, Star Raiders.

 

playing a sit-down Space Wars cabinet at Chuck Cohen's fraternity on new year's eve, 1990.

 

Joust at Pizza Hut. Armor Attack with George Wyatt somewhere. Lunar Lander in a Mall in Quakertown. (7th grade?) Boot Hill at the Wynnewood Bowling Alley along with pinball machine, Eight-ball. Showing Susan McConnell Tetris at Einsteins Arcade on the Drag. Watching Bailey play D&D on his Intellivision.

 

Stunrunner at Granite Run Mall with Regina and others. Regina realizing she was with a bunch of geeks. Hard Driving .... where? Planetfall on the C-64. Zork on Glasse's Apple II. Some D&D game at some games convention at Widener's campus. No idea what it was, but if I ever see it again, I'll recognize it.

 

Seeing the Fairchild in a JC Penny's or Sears Xmas catalog circa 1976. Seeing the Coleco Arcade (I remember the triangle carts) in a catalog (never saw it in person). 8-track robot, 2-xl? quiz wiz, xmas 1979. Merlin. gave it away to a kid in Canada. made his day. hand-held football. played it like a fiend. Thanks uncle joey. hand-held baseball, too, not as good as football, but I remember sound-effects better. some cart-based balloon breaking game on the c64 loaned to me by Pat Donhahue. Music Maker on the Ti994a along with Return to Pirate's Isle, Pirate Adventure. breaking in to Jeff's house to code the waste of time treasure hunt game (though we typed it in surprisingly well)

 

Borrowing a supercharger, dragon stomper and escape from the mind master for a weekend. bitmapping Mickey on the Ti. bitmapping the enterprise on the c64. writing a text adventure game that let user walk around Mike's house but Jeff playing it and trying to break it. the fucker. the C-64 at the Rice's house. the TRS-80 at Bob-johnsons' house. some Pyramid game? The sands of Egypt on some computer in a games and gadgets at King of Prussia. Ulysses and the Golden Fleece for sale at the original Software Boutique in KofPrussia. Eliza for the Apple II. Getting Jeff the extra memory for it for his birthday.

 

Tom Malone single-handedly programming our senior year project for basic programming class. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on Jeff's Apple II. and on Evie's IBM. Text adventure Donkey Kong by Tom on his xerox pc? not sure . . .

Vic-20s in the store. 10 print "hello" 20 goto 10. har har. TRS-CoCo. same as above.

 

Shopping for PCs in 1981 with Fr. Menihan and seeing a Commodore Pet. First and only time. Playing Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II at the George Washington Motorlodge at some PC convention thing. Saw something for Sesame Place then, too. Kill the smurfs fan hack on the c-64. Kung-fu fighting sound sample on the C-64. All the cool SID, C64 midi tracks from Danny Destefano. (Star Trek was the best.) CD-rom demonstration with Jeff and George back in 1984 or so.

 

Laser-disk commercial seen with Cregan late one nite. " world on a silver platter . . ." Tom Malone ripping it up on Zaxxon. He had the game down cold. Afterburner in the airport when I arrived in Austin in 1987. Crazy Climber at KofP mall. Some greenish car game. gear shifting, pedal, steering wheel.? Sprint 8 at Polynesian village in WDW, 1979.

Star Rider at Contemporary Hotel, WDW 1983?

 

Vaguely remember seeing a FireTruck game, but never played it. Superbug was familiar. Rally-X was at bowling alley arcade in UD. Ditto Donkey Kong. Rip-off, Space Fury. I remember those in the arcade.

 

I feel these memories were more than half my lifetime ago, most of them were about 25 years ago. The fact that I think I'm actually recalling all of them bugs me. There should've been more. There should've been so many that I wouldn't be able to recall them all. I'm not in this for the nostalgia. remembering all this just fills me with melancholy. friends I'll never see again. years I'll never get back. part of me wishes I'd spent more time playing videogames as a teen so I wouldn't have all these lost friendships to mourn.

 

I can't remember everything. I just wish I could stop trying to. I wish I had paid more attention when everything was happening. I wish I would remember to do that with my life even now. suddenly my son is 9. my baby boy. the person I held in my arms when he was less than 30 minutes old. less than a day old just rocking with him in the hospital room watching weird blockbuster rental tornado home-movies. He's too big to hold anymore. i weep over it. i weep over my life and the years that just drip away one after another. turning 40 soon. how much life left? how much time?



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At the bolwing alley arcade. I remember playing Seawolf. Astro Fighter (with Cregan). Venture. Battlezone. Asteroids. Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Missile Command. Galaxian. Star Castle. Omega Race. Space Wars. Q-bert. Tempest. (Some game with the statue of libery in the background?)

Probably New York! New York!

 

nyny.gif

 

I feel these memories were more than half my lifetime ago, most of them were about 25 years ago. The fact that I think I'm actually recalling all of them bugs me. There should've been more. There should've been so many that I wouldn't be able to recall them all. I'm not in this for the nostalgia. remembering all this just fills me with meloncholy. friends I'll never see again. years I'll never get back. part of me wishes I'd spent more time playing videogames as a teen so I wouldn't have all these lost friendships to mourn.

To me, playing videogames is inextricably intertwined with the time I spent with my friends. I miss those times, and playing videogames of that era, because I miss those friends. Playing the games brings back the nostalgia, but doesn't bring back the friends. If you'd spent more time playing videogames, odds are, you would still be mourning those lost friendships just as strongly. Gaming, I think, was more social back then, because so much of it had to take place in the arcades. Even home games were, at least initially, geared towards more than one player. It was the popular way to interact with people. The games were fun, but they were secondary. As games became more complex though, I think they became more solo affairs, and as arcades died out, so did the social interaction that went with video games. I think it's still there to some degree, as I see students where I work hanging around after school playing Guitar Hero and such. I think the Wii has great potential to bring that social climate back to gaming. But it will still never be the same as going to an arcade back in the day.

 

(And no... online gaming doesn't count as a social experience. Sorry... you have to actually be in the same room with the person for it to count. :) )

 

I can't remember everything. I just wish I could stop trying to. I wish I had paid more attention when everything was happening. I wish I would remember to do that with my life even now. suddenly my son is 9. my baby boy. the person I held in my arms when he was less than 30 minutes old. less than a day old just rocking with him in the hospital room watching wierd blockbuster rental tornado home-movies. He's too big to hold anymore. i weep over it. i weep over my life and the years that just drip away one after another. turning 40 soon. how much life left? how much time?

At times I sure wish I'd paid more attention. I don't seem to remember entire years of things that happened. Maybe they were inconsequential. Maybe the brain is smart enough to keep the important things (like remembering holding your baby boy when he was less than 30 minutes old) and disregard less important thing (like the name of that driving game). I started keeping a journal last May, but haven't kept up on it. I should be more diligent with it, but then it begs the question - when in the future will I have the time (or inclination) to read it all if I did? Also, I've found that I don't like re-reading some of it. My memory tends to be more selective, mercifully.

 

On the bright side, however, you have a son. You've been able to watch him grow for nine amazing years, and have many more to come. You've got a lot of great memories to look back and smile upon, and share with him. Plus, you get to create new ones with him. I always enjoy reading the Chronogaming entries when you mention him.

 

Nice idea for a blog entry, by the way. I may have to try this myself sometime. Although I think it might end up being a lonnnnggg entry. :)

 

(Incidentally... I passed 40 a couple of years ago, so yes - there is life after 40. It sucks, but it's there nonetheless. :) )

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Damn. What an entry. Specially the final paragraphs. I'm all apprehensive now. I totally relate to this, as everyone probably does to some extent.

 

I'll just... keep going...

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How much time is up to you. Turns out Death is caused by celular degradation. Your lifestyle and emotional wellbeing control much of that. In other words, stop kicking yourself!

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Yeah... this was not the entry of a mentally healthy person.

 

I'm doing much better now, thank you.

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