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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part III)

Some time, still, in the mid 80s…

A classmate of mine, who’s an only child, invited me and my brother to their house one Saturday afternoon to play. Everything that had happened during our visit is all but a blur to me now, except for one thing… my first taste of console gaming.

I think it was after we finished playing several rounds of tag and hide-and-seek when my classmate took out his Atari. At that time (and quite still so at this very moment) I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Atari 2600
In no time, there we were, seated on the floor just about a feet away from the TV, taking turns in beating each other in PONG and Breakout He had several other game cartridges scattered on the floor, one of which was “Land, Air, Sea Battle” (I think). I can’t really remember if I was able to try out each and every game he had, but for sure, I played Breakout the most. Quite unfortunately, I don’t have anymore the means to find out which Atari model it was.

Breakout game
About two years or so later, I think, my brother and I got the fortune of owning and getting to play with a new machine. The Family Computer (or Nintendo Entertainment System). It was bought for us by another cousin when she went to Japan. It got to us with two game cartridges, one was Tranformers (yes THAT Transformers) and the other was “The Monkey King” (I don’t know what its exact title was).

Nintendo Family Computer or Nintendo Entertainment System or NES
Transformers Video Game for the Nintendo Family Computer
As for the subject of the first game I played on the Family Computer, well, I can’t really quite tell although I have three choices for that. The reason behind this is that two of my cousins got their Family Computers at around the same time we did. So, if we were the first to get ours, then my first game would be Transformers. If not, it would have been either Pro Wrestling or Super Mario Bros.

Pro Wrestling video game for the Nintendo Family Computer
Anyway, over time our games collection grew to over 20, or 30 even. Let’s see… we had (not in chronological order) Transformers, “The Monkey King”, Madmax, Macross, King Kong, Elevator Action, Double Dribble, Terminator 2, Karateka, a Magic Johnson basketball game, another basketball game, F1 Race, Highway Star, another “racing” game where superman appears if you don’t crash, a bowling game, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out… that’s all I can remember now, unfortunately.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out for the Nintendo Family Computer
Funny thing I remember about buying game cartridges. Whenever we would buy one, the usual line we would hear from the salesperson was “This game is really good, look, the cartridge is heavy!” The prices WERE somewhat related to the weight of the cartridges (the heavier the cartridge, the more expensive it was). But quality? I don’t think so.

Anyway, we were allowed to play with the Family Computer only on weekends (starting from the time we get home from school on Fridays).

The original GameBoy came out not very long after we got our Family Computer. We never had one of those, and the only opportunity we had to play with one is when another classmate of my brother’s would let us borrow his.

The Original Game Boy
As my brother and I were still very much glued to the Family Computer, the SEGA MegaDrive came out. Several of my classmates got to own one, we never did. I only got to play with the SEGA console every time I would go to my classmate’s place (the games I’ve played being Ecco and Sonic), and only for short periods at a time since there were other more “exciting” things for us to do at that time (when we were in the stage of puberty).

Sega Mega Drive 16-bit
The SNES followed, and as with SEGA, we never got to own one of those. My brother’s classmate had one and he would lend it to us for a couple of nights with a game or two.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Sega GameGear would follow, and the only time we got to play with one is when a cousin of ours got back from the States and let us play with it. With that one, I had to wait very long before I could get my turn since there were 6 of us in queue. The same story goes for the SEGA Saturn.

Sega Game Gear Handheld Gaming Device

Sega Saturn
I don’t think there was anybody I know who got to own a Neo Geo, so, I have never got my hands on one of those.

Neo Geo Game Console
We never got to own anything new after the Family Computer, not until my mother bought us our very first PC… the year was 1994.

Read Part I
Read Part II


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