Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inauspicious Beginnings

I am part of the first generation to really grow up with video games. When home versions of Pong were proliferating in the 1970's, I was a kid, fascinated by my sudden ability to actually make something happen on TV. I saw black-and-white raster and vector displays augmented with color overlays before giving way to glorious full-color. I played early coin-op games that will likely never be made available under MAME emulation, because they did not make use of microprocessors and ROM chips, but instead relied on weird analog-electronic circuit designs.

I am talking seriously old-school here.

I am now just past the age of 40, and it occurs to me that there must be many of us who are not quite as sharp-eyed and quick-wristed as we once were. But I still love videogames -- my Wii and XBox 360 get plenty of use, along with my ever-growing collection of vintage consoles and games. I love new games and old games, and new versions of old games on the rare occasions when those work out the way we hope they will. I believe videogames are an art form, one that is only now beginning to be recognized as such. And I believe our tastes change and grow as we get older, and it's no shame to recognize our physical limitations either.

So I'm starting this blog to reminisce, speculate and celebrate the history, future and present state of the odd, wonderful fusion of art and technology that videogames present. I hope younger readers will find interesting retro trivia and history here, and older gamers will hear a sympathetic voice as we get our collective butts kicked online. I'm going to talk about what I'm playing, what I've played, what's exciting and new, and what has stood the test of time. Probably at excessive length, but that's why it's a blog and not a newspaper column.

I hope you will join me. Thanks for reading.


  1. While I am not a huge fan of video games and haven't ever really been - my question to you, is do you remember a time without video games? I do! :) (I'll be 40 in May.) I have played Rock Band on the Wii and before we had kids I was playing Dark Age of Camelot with my husband and his friends. I also enjoyed puzzle type games like Myst and Cyberia. It's kinda fun to see some of the old arcade games come up in phone applications and the like, though!

  2. I'm 41, so yes, I do remember those pre-videogame days. :)

    I have enjoyed seeing "retro gaming" make a comeback on phones and newer game consoles -- it establishes that a good game design is not about audiovisuals, but about fun. It's good to know that people haven't forgotten that!

    (Plus it makes me feel not QUITE so old to see people still playing Pac-Man. :) )

  3. Only 30 here; stumbled your blog looking for information on the small PC release of the Trekboer text adventure game (to update its recent Mobygames entry with) and have been compelled to scan through the entire archives in a single sitting. If I can't convince you to share some of your mad wisdoms there on otherwise undocumented titles, I'm going to be busy as a middleman just rehashing what I've learned from your reviews. Cheers and keep up the good work!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind words! I'm glad database resources like Mobygames exist -- part of my purpose in writing this blog is to document some obscure games in more detail than is covered elsewhere. Feedback like yours makes the effort worthwhile.

  5. Thanks for doing this blog. I am also over 40 (way over) and appreciate someone who takes the time to post and comment about classic, retro video games. I have a steadily growing collection of them and in fact, I have totally stopped buying new games for the most part. I much prefer the retro consoles and games in 2D. I am not your usual gamer in that I did not start playing video games until I was in my 30s, and that was 30 years ago. What I once thought as a waste of time and money I now cannot live without; it is my favorite hobby!!

  6. Hi there! Just stumbled upon your blog after a google for "The Dallas Quest" (and to be honest I don't really know why I did that - it just came to my mind to see what the Big Web has to say about this golden oldie ;-). And now I guess I found myself some serious stuff to read for the next couple of weeks. Looking forward to reading your reviews and impressions of all these old adventure games. Cheers from Germany!