I was a wee lad, I was drawn to video games.
We all were, of course. I haven't yet met anyone that
was repelled by video games as a child and then grew
to love them as they got older. Some of us grew up
and out of video games, deciding that the video games
of today didn't have much to offer anymore. Anyone
like me would have had a kind of identity crisis when
that happened. How could something so dynamic and
so dear fall away?
But we come to Good Deal Games because, whether we're
in a new chapter of life or not, we love the old ones.
"Asteroids", "Star Wars Arcade", "Roc'n'Rope",
or whatever came our way. Maybe nostalgia is the main
culprit. Maybe the games aren't even something we
would play that often. But the memories hold our attention.
And we hold on to them.
When I was a wee lad, there were the systems that
others had. Some friends had a 2600, some a Colecovision.
Some had an Apple IIe, some had an Intellivision.
I was always enthralled. Perhaps the grass was always
greener on the other side.
But I just know that when I found out that the Robbins
household had a dog and cat ripoff of "Pac-Man",
and that I could get there from my babysitters, it
became all that I could think about. My babysitter
had horses, and I would've learned to ride them just
to out pace anyone that would've chased me up the
And when I discovered that an "Asteroids" machine
was perched just inside the entrance of the local
market, I suddenly had something to do when my mother
decided that she needed to buy food. Why eat when
you can stare at that little glowing ship dance around
in a maze of deadly rocks? Usually my mother spent
all of the quarters she could on groceries. I would've
had it another way. I'd have been happy to spend all
of the food money forever, until I was a skeleton,
elbows near the "warp" button, hands on my fists.
It was always a vacation to get a few dollars in quarters
from my parents and get taken to the local arcade.
I'd always beg for more after. I'm sure they loved
taking me. It was a virtual heaven, with temporary
keys that cost 25 cents. I remember one time when
a guy around 18 was beating the pants off a "Commando"
machine. I squeezed my head in too close and blocked
his sight just enough to make him lose his last life.
Boy was he angry. Some of the others that were watching
his reign asked me if I was ok, after he shoved and
yelled at me. Another time I saw a guy punch the screen
after he lost. I thought he was cool, so the next
time I lost at "Crossbow" I tentatively slapped
the already cracked and taped plastic. The owner saw
me, and said that I'd have to pay for it if I broke
it. I quickly decided not to take out aggressions
on gaming equipment. Unlike some of my friends, I've
never broken a controller.
My father's friends were always a good contact. David
Pransky had a 2600 at his house, which was a drive
of over 20 minutes away. I remember shooting at AT-ATs
in snow speeders, having a sort of four-way "Breakout"
match with brothers and friends in a game that may
or may not have been called "Warlords". Then,
when my father met and later married his second wife,
I had better access to a 2600. "Keystone Capers"
and "Pitfall 2" became my new draws. Everyone
was worried that I cared more about their games than
the people my father had brought closer too us. Alas
that was true. But if they were willing to play with
me, I'd care about them.
For some reason, my father decided, before the Christmas
of 1986, to get the family of his new girlfriend a
NES. A NES? I wasn't sure why he didn't get one for
me and my brother. Maybe since they had a four-child
family while my brother and I were it. Maybe he was
trying to impress her. Maybe he didn't want his own
kids melting their brains like that. But I was soon
introduced to the joy of characters that had distinguishable
facial features. Mario had a nose, a moustache and
eyes? "Wild Gunman" had opponents with personalities.
The ducks in "Duck Hunt" exploded just like
the real thing... almost. Before long my brother and
my soon-to-be step-siblings were fighting over the
right to deal Bowser a dip in the magma, and the right
to puncture the cornea of Gohma with rupees-turned-arrows.
Often times I just let the others play. I wasn't as
good, and I wanted the game's characters to succeed,
to die as little as possible. And I was more enthralled
by watching than most others. Even to this day the
Native American name that I was given in Jr. High
rings true. I was called "Stands Back to See".
There were those early bouts with what is still known
as "Nintendo thumb". I remember Adam and everyone
joking with beginners about how Mario would get 5000
bonus points if he jumped into this or that pit. Laughing
ensued. I remember how beginners to games in general
would try to control the game with their entire body.
You want Mario to move left? Move the controller 3
feet to the left. I did it too. And the more in danger
the gumshoes were, the more the controller moved.
Usually Mario just moved into a coffin.
It wasn't until "Super Mario Brothers" that
I was even aware that a game could be beaten. Not
only were the people close to me getting better, but
games were starting to have a specific goal more often.
There was less forever and more princess. "The
Legend of Zelda" was the epitome of this. Such
a specific mission. I remember how often our game
got erased because of a faulty battery or a careless
other player. We'd stand in stunned silence for minutes,
too broken hearted to do anything but contemplate
who might be blamed.
When my brother made the mistake of loaning us "Wizards
& Warriors" after getting it for his birthday,
he could then blame us for beating it for the first
time without him. But that's another story.
You may contact Amos,
he would love to hear your comments and opinions.
Amos' other Website: Sega