Video Games – Thinking Back Fondly

The first electronic games that I remember playing were on Bally’s home console system, the Astrocade. These were fairly simple games but they were definitely fun. I remember that there was a 2 player old west gun fight game, a video poker game, a game where 2 players had long ‘worms’ that grew and grew longer in length as the players weaved their way around the screen attempting to not bump into each other and also a pretty basic art program where you could change the size of your brush (a simple rectangle) and change the color by turning the dial.

At school we were using an Apple II to play games like Oregon Trail. There was a game where 2 players had bases and tried to shoot the other player with a missile, taking into account basic distance and wind speed factors. I remember a game called Underground Railroad that was an RPG that cast the player in the role of a newly escaped slave working their way through the woods and countryside to make their way north. There was a game where you ran your own lemonade or fruit stand and tried to make money.

When we got our first computer at home the games were more sophisticated than the text and green graphics on the Apple II. At first there were mostly DOS games. We had Jeopardy, a simple platform game and a few casino games. There were also the games that came with the Windows operating system, solitaire and minesweeper. Later we bought a few strategy games like Caesar.

By the late 80’s we joined the rest of the nation in the Nintendo craze. It took over our main TV for a while. Eventually my parents got a little tired of it so the game system got moved into the kitchen. We collected dozens and dozens of games for the system but the ones that stand out the most in my mind are: Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt, Super Mario Brothers 3, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gold Metal Olympics,California Games, Skate or Die, The Legend of Zelda, and Tetris.

Eventually our family bought a Play Station as well. We weren’t able to get as many games for it as the Nintendo. By this time used Nintendo games were cheap and easy to find at yard sales and there was even a used movies and video game store in town. We bought a few games for the Super Nintendo System such as Super Mario All-stars and Super Mario World but still played the original Nintendo more often.

By the time I was out on my own I bought a Nintendo 64 and a Play Station 2. I only had a few games but my sister, friends and I played them a lot. We had our first experience with multi-playing shooter games such as the James Bond games Golden Eye and The World is Not Enough. We had long nights of silly, caffeinated Mario Party sessions. I spent hours playing Final Fantasy X and got truly attached to the characters and story line.

Now days I play mostly games on my computer though I do own an Xbox and play a few games on that. I currently play Pharaoh, The Sims 2, Civilization 4,World of Warcraft, Age of Empires, Chess Master Challenge and several casual games that I download occasionally.