Play On

By | October 9, 2006

The discussion about video games in ICM501 last week helped me spark lots of nostalgic conversations with my family this past weekend. My brother (29), my cousin (31) and I had a great time reminiscing about playing our favorite video games as kids. Here are a few, in no particular order:

  • Bubble Bobble – My cousin Theresa and I stayed up all night once and beat this game as a team.
  • Mappy – For a week, I actually held the high score at the arcade. I once drew an audience while I was in the “zone.”
  • Tapper – You’re a bartender and get to serve beers!
  • Mike Tyson’s Punch Out -No ear biting or wife beating involved. Beat the crap out of your siblings and not get yelled at by the parents. Super Mario is the referee.
  • Zork – I still have creepy memories of this text-only game in my psyche.
  • Dig Dug– Dig tunnels, drop rocks on the bad guys. My cousin Maureen was really good at this game.
  • Epyx Multi-Event Games: Summer Games and Winter Games on our Commodore 64. I could get a perfect score with the hot dogging. And I was great at kayaking. But my ice skating program was awful – no artistry, I guess.
  • Galaga – My mom took classes at the local community college and there was a Galaga machine in the common room. My older brother and I would play for what seemed like hours. Evil space bugs out to kill us! How many quarters did I steal out of my mom’s purse?
  • Spy Hunter – We used to play this at the roller rink. Very 007ish. I especially liked using the smoke screen.
  • Dragon’s Lair – the first animated Laserdisc game. It was also the first video game to look like an animated movie. At the arcade in Rutland, VT (my grandmother lived a few blocks away), there was this guy who could beat the game. I remember a big group of us crowding around the guy to watch. It was like watching a movie.

    Kind of proves that playing video games, or even watching them, is really an “experience.” The memories persist in my brain decades later.

    One of my younger brother’s anecdotes was telling of the technology of the time (and the dynamics of our sibling relationships):

    Since you couldn’t save a game on the consoles back then, you either had to pause the system indefinitely or write down the “level code” to go back to the level where you left off. My older brother (now 35) apparently stayed up really late one Friday night advancing to the highest level of some game. Instead of writing down the code, he paused the machine, left a note for my younger brother to write down the code and went to bed. My younger brother, not seeing the note, turned off the console when he woke up to play something else. Let’s just say an attempted beating ensued later that day.


    Theresa McGee on October 11, 2006 at 9:38 am.

    Thank you for helping me remember why we use to spend so much time at the arcade around the corner from Gram’s house. You made me laugh and wonder if my Atari and Nintendo systems will still work. I will have to hook them up to the TV sometime soon to reminsce. I will have to play Frostbite, Burgertime and Pitfall.

    The mention of the olympic game made me remember sitting in your mother’s basement watching Kevin use a pencil and tape to hit the buttons on the controler to make his player run faster. Maybe pulling out the old Duck Hunt can help in relieving outside stress.

    Matt Shanahan on October 12, 2006 at 8:41 am.

    Very nostalgic. Tapper is my favorite of the old school games. There was one other Epyx game that deserves mentioning as well. “California Games” You got to surf and skate board and hackeysack and stuff. Instead of countries you’d select a sponsor like Hobie, OP or Santa Cruz. How 80’s is that! Remember the t-shirts!


    maureen on October 19, 2006 at 4:03 pm.

    Oh it is all coming back to me now…
    Remember Kick Man? With the balloons?
    And I loved Bomberman – their little death screams made it fun instead of gruesome.
    And You Don’t Know Jack!
    Good times, good times.

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