During a recent review of the contents of a couple old USB drives that I had forgotten that I stashed away, I found a handful of articles that I had written for a site that went defunct. Since I hate for words to sit unread (even those in incoherent, rambly sentences), I decided I might as well share them here. Here’s one from around January 2013 in which I mused over my then-flailing relationship with PC gaming.
One of the great things about gaming is that it’s a pastime that comes with options. It wasn’t always like that, but by the time it entered my life, I was faced with an endless string of games of all sorts that vied for my attention. But because my early gaming life was regulated by my parents, it was generally filled with standard, family fare of the time. My siblings and I progressed from the Atari to the NES to the SNES within a decade. Over time however, the parental controls loosened. We eagerly conquered a variety of platform games, fighting games, racing games, and everything in between. In addition, we had a number of games for our PC. In between my time with Mario and Ryu, I remember sinking hours into old favorites such as Frogger and Q*Bert, and new titles such as Commander Keen. And just as I was sure that my path with video games would forever remain idyllic and innocent, along came DOOM.
I’m pretty sure that I was one of only a handful of children equipped with a video game mindset who did not play Pitfall!. I didn’t play Pitfall! on the Atari. I didn’t play Pitfall! in the small, old-timey arcade in our local movie theatre. And I didn’t play Pitfall! at my friend’s house, despite the fact that her family had a killer Atari setup. The game was never in one my uncle’s famous mystery boxes that appeared at Christmas and a copycat of it never appeared on any one of a dozen 1001 Great Games on CD! CDs that we had. Oh, thanks to TV, I knew what Pitfall! was – jumping over crocodiles, avoiding scorpions, climbing ladders, etc. – but it simply never entered my life in a meaningful fashion. Not in 1982. Not in 1986. Not in 1992. Not ever.
Until…well, I want to say 2002 to make it all anniversary-like, but I think it was 2003 or 2004 when we picked up the Activision Anthology for the PlayStation 2.
Whilst waxing nostalgic on a recent crisp and beautiful fall day, I listed all the video games I could remember playing. It was a long list, long enough that I moved to a spreadsheet in order to enter them each according to individual consoles. It was a really interesting exercise in memory. The first games entered were the ones I had played most recently, then I entered a big chunk of Mario games, and then a bunch of Atari games, and then some more games, and then a few more. And then I came to the final column – computer games. Hm. This was most perplexing. See, I don’t do online gaming, console or computer; but there was a time, in the ancient heydays before the internet, when I did play games on a computer. Yet, not a one came to mind. And then, yes…wait, ok, there was Doom and Doom 2 (we’ll save those for a later discussion). And next…? Well damn. Give me a sec. ~~~~~~~~ There were cassettes, 5.25 discs, 3.5 discs….yessssss………Brain on!