Here's a lil treat for you guys. A blog written by yours truly about gaming consoles, films, and music of the past three decades.
Memory Lane of Game Consoles Past & Present - Part I
If you were a normal teenaged kid in the 80’s you were most likely playing Atari or Calico Vision. If you were lucky you got the latest Apple II E or Commodore with a whopping 64mg which had the processing power equivalent to my Ti-82 calculator. Oh I miss those bulky calculators. Great to add “notes” during tests, throw at people, or hit someone in the head for self defense of course.
I’m going to rattle off some games from that era; Battle ship, Smurfs on Calico vision, Millionware on Apple II E, Choplifter, Archon, Larry Bird vs Dr. J, Super Mario Brothers, Moonwalker, Spy Hunter, Castle Wolfenstein, Ultima, Kings Quest, Karate Champ, and who can forget Karateka. Hated that stupid vulture.
Growing up I always thought I’d be a professional gamer of sorts. Oh the thoughts of a prepubescent eight year old. Life was so much simpler back then. Doodling in class imagining Phoebe Cates in her red bikini :P, eating a bowl of cereal with a bag of Funyuns watching cartoons, then fine tuning my reflex skills in video games. The latter I’m going to break down into three generations.
First being the immortal 80’s. There will NEVER be another decade quite like it. I say this with both happiness and sadness. The narliest rock bands and the most radical Euro Wave music with puffed out hair as the norm. Iconic shows on the tube such as The A-team, Stingray, MacGuyver, Greatest American Hero, Hart To Hart, Buck Rogers, Voyager, The Fall Guy, Hunter, TJ Hooker, Airwolf, The Dukes Of Hazzard, Magnum P.I., Simon & Simon (one of the catchiest tv themes), Miami Vice, Saved By The Bell (oops we’ll get to that in the next decade), Cheers, Family Ties, Cheers, Growing Pains, Who’s The Boss, Charles In Charge, and whole slue of other totally awesome shows. As for films man, Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candle, The Breakfast Club, The Last Starfighter, Back To The Future, Revenge Of The Nerds, Crocodile Dundee, Star Wars, Karate Kid, Aliens, Top Gun, Flash Dance, Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Batman, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, and probably the film that resonates the most with all of us Big. The 80’s had given so much to us as a society. I can really go on for another 10 pages about movies alone or tv shows. But I got a lil side tracked. This blog/essay is about video games. I’m a staunch believer that our first contact should be an episode of The Greatest American Hero with tagline Nanu Nanu, followed by a picture of Phoebe Cates and the soundtrack of Rick Astley. In other words, a message to all alien invaders “you have been trolled by Planet Earth.”
The immortal 80’s gave rise to arcade coin ops. Ever watch “King Of Kong.” It’s about the greatest gamer of all time Bobby Mitchell scoring the highest score on Donkey Kong and recording the first ever perfect score on Pacman. That deserves a big “WTF” as in holy hell I didn’t know you could beat Pacman and second of all how did he catch Speedy everytime. There was Centipede, Space Invaders, Galaga, Tron (prolly one of the coolest games ever which you can still find in Disney’s Tomorrowland arcade), Gauntlet, Donkey Kong Jr. and Pacman. Those sounds are forever etched in our brains. I can still hear Mario jumping then going on a rampage with that little hammer.
The electrifying 90’s had hints of the 80’s style and flair, but you can definitely tell that things were changing. Puffy hair was gone, the rock bands didn’t have the it factor anymore, music changed, and suddenly Ataris’ were collecting dust. What could have possibly replaced it. Clean cut fades were in, rock was out grunge was in, NWA was starting riots, instead of love peace and happiness it was about mean mugging people and rapping about it. The only thing to keep our sanity was a new gaming console made by Nintendo. That would start a decades long monopoly in the multi-billion dollar industry. Sega decided to join the gaming console race with Genesis which had some pretty wicked games like Golden Axe and Altered Beast. Beast mode!!! Btw: Anybody remember watching Duck Tales, Tail Spin or Batman.
Nintendo really hit a gold mine with it’s console systems and games. Other notable systems were Sega Dreamcast, 3DO, Neo-Geo which was ridiculously overpriced, Sony Playstation, and of course the third generation Nintendo 64 system. The latter two would go on to compete well into the new millennium creating some of the most memorable games in the history of video gaming. For the Playstation, Gran Turismo was extremely popular coinciding with the import car craze, followed by Tekken which essentially replaced its’ predecessor Street Fighter, and of course Final Fantasy for the RPG fanatics. In the other corner Mario still reigned supreme, can you say “wahoo,” Mario Kart, and of course Golden Eye. Surprisingly Golden Eye would become one of Nintendo’s best game seller even though their system was noted to be a more family oriented system. It laid the ground work for future POV shooting games such as Half Life then of course Counter Strike. Enter the new era of PC games. PC games regained their fame with Blizzards World Of War Craft and the most detrimental game ever to ones’ social life; Star Craft Broodwars. I write this with a heavy heart that the 80’s and 90’s will never be duplicated. Just a very special time before the new digital age would revolutionize gaming technology and alter history. PC clunkers, arcade machines, Tower Records, Warehouse, Virgin Records, Blockbuster Videos, and AOL would soon become a relic of the past.
Part II coming soon...
Marcus Aurelius: Tell me again, Maximus, why are we here?
Maximus: For the glory of the Empire, sire.
Baked, not fried... the healthy choice.