Video games through the years

So did you all get a chance to play the Google version of Pac-Man? How easy was that by the way?

I actually think I still have mine around here somewhere

On May 22nd, 1980, Namco released the beast known as Pac-Man. That means that yesterday the 30th anniversary of this iconic game. While Pac-Man was not the first video game ever, it is in the Smithsonian (along with Pong and Dragon’s Lair) for a reason. But this 30th anniversary thing has me now nostalgic for all of the other old-school games that I grew up with. Games that look VERY primitive now when compared with the GTA’s and Halos and Gods of War, but were still be just as enjoyable to play over the course of the 30 years since Pac-Man.

For me, I actually did have an Atari. This was the stage where all games had that Pac-Man/Pong feel. Very basic in every way imaginable. When Nintendo came around, they brought everything up a notch (for console gaming at least), but those old school Atari games were everything you would think of when you think of the term “Old School”. Space Invaders, Defender, Missile Command, I was always scared sh*tless by the dragons in Adventure. I LOVED Yars Revenge and Berzerk. These games are so primitive today…but at the time when they were new, hours and hours were dropped on these games and the attempts to get to the last level.

Computer games obviously kicked it up another notch, and my first computer game was a Sierra game called “The Black Calderon”. In fact, I was big into Sierra games for a number of years, with Kings Quest, Police Quest, the legendary Leisure Suit Larry series, and my personal favorite series…Space Quest. What these games brought was the open world concept. We all today love games like GTA and Halo and Call of Duty for it’s vast open world in which you can explore. It was Sierra games that introduced the open world concept to me, although at the same time it introduced the annoying “type what you want to do” concept, which has now made these games less enjoyable today to revisit. If your not familiar with it, in the Sierra games you could move around the screen fine, but if you wanted to get a key off the ground, you would type in “Pick up key”. The entire game would involve this type of interaction. There were a few of those cheat books from Sierra that I would have to order just to find the correct phrase that was needed to be typed in to continue with the game. I think I also made a few calls to the Sierra cheat phone number as well for some help once in a while.

Sadly, I never did end up getting a Nintendo. Still, as a kid you always knew someone else who had one, so I did get my fair share of Techno Bowl, Mario Bros, Contra, Jordan vs Bird, 1942, Double Dragon, Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden….SO many great games. So yeah, I didn’t have a Nintendo, but I CERTAINLY spent a lot of time at friends houses when I was a kid!

I did get a Sega at one point, which was a great system, but let me jump to the next gen of games which was the first person shooters. I remember the first time playing Doom against someone else online. You obviously know how easy it is today to get into some multi-player action, but back then when everything was dial-up, I can’t begin to tell you the huge mission it was just to find someone else online to play against and get everything hooked up. Trust me, the success of actually getting into a game against someone was more rewarding then the game itself. After Doom was Quake, and these games really did blow me away. These were the games that started the “gaming until the sun started rising” phase for myself.

AND here we are in 2010. Many hours now have been spent on the classics like GTA, Halo, Half-Life, Portal, 2k Sports basketball, Gears of War, and so on. But, unlike Pac-Man, these games aren’t “old school”. And while these games are easily more advanced in every way possible, playing them the past 10 or so years does not automatically trump the memories of playing Space Invaders or Space Quest III: Pirates of Pestulon or Jordan vs Bird or Quake. Just because the game is better, doesn’t mean the experience is.

So happy Birthday Pac-man! You just brought back 30 years worth of gaming memories!


About theprogram101
From reading this everyday, you should get an idea about me.

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