Primitive Video Games are Also Classics

It has been said, and I don’t know who said it, that what was old is new again.  I was reminded of that when I visited a local pizza place and saw the video games most of which were created in the early 1980’s.  This gave me something to do while I waited for my pizza, and I learned that I have not lost my touch.  I am still able to get far past the “challenging stage” in Galaga.  These are the same games I played when I was thirteen and fourteen years old.  If I was not accepted and respected by my peers for anything else, I was at least respected by them for being the best Galaga player on my street.

            I also played Frogger while I was there and didn’t fare as well.  But at least I never tried to play Frogger in real life.  That once actually happened.  In 2010, a South Carolina man tried to cross a highway by making frog-like leaps and lost when he was struck by an SUV.  Fortunately, he survived.  I don’t think Konami, the company that developed the game, can be held liable for not anticipating that someone would try this.

            For those who are too young to remember, we had to play these games in places called “arcades”.  The word “arcade” is a synonym for “hallway”, but back then it had a totally different meaning.  Games could also be found and played in convenience stores, restaurants, airports, etc.  We had home video game systems, but they could not compare in quality and graphics to the arcade games.

            In fact, my brother got his children a modern video game system for Christmas and it took my nephew perhaps an hour to set it up and fine-tune the physical features of the basketball player he would control.  When my nephew was shown the video games we got for Christmas in 1980 with its primitive graphics, he said to his dad, “you thought this was fun?”

            One of the nice things about getting older is you get to tell younger folks how rough you had it.  I like to tell them “When I was your age, we only had four channels on TV, and we had to walk clear across the room (no remote control) to change the channel.”  That is no different from when our grandparents would tell us that they didn’t have TV at all or even radio and they had to live in tiny, crowded apartments in a big city as immigrants or on literal shacks by a plot of farmland as sharecroppers.  I’m sure you have heard “we had to walk ten miles to school in a foot of snow.”

            I thought this blog entry would be appropriate at a time that I am publishing a book that is drenched in nostalgia.  How did I do?