Today, video games are more than just games; they are exquisite works of art. The graphics are unreal, that is to say, they are so realistic it’s easy to lose yourself in a game. Having said that though, older consoles and games have their place in the annals of gaming. Retrogaming is awesome in its own right.
Atari 2600: Crude, Buggy, and Awesome
My first system was the Atari 2600. Even then, as now, building a large library of games was expensive. My brothers and I were lucky though; Dad found a bargain bin of $1 games and we had a large collection of games to choose from.
Here’s a list of just some of the classics we had:
- Asteroids—A triangle is trapped in space; in order to survive, it must destroy flying saucers and asteroids.
- Berzerk—A stickman attempts to escape a maze while fighting off deadly robots and the invincible “Evil Otto.”
- Frostbite—Frostbite Bailey needs to build an igloo while leaping back and forth on blocks of ice while avoiding deadly animals like Geese and King Crab.
- Galaxian—Control the Galaxip and destroy swarms of alien invaders.
- Plaque Attack—You are a tube of toothpaste defending a mouthful of teeth from hamburgers, cherries, ice cream, etc.
- Seaquest—Command a submarine and save divers from sharks and enemy subs.
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial—It was brutally hard and just not fun
Of course, my all-time favourite Atari 2600 game was River Raid. I spent hours destroying my enemies along the River of No Return in my fighter jet.
The Past is Back: Retrogaming is Gaming
The very first system I bought myself was the original PlayStation. I couldn’t wait to play the new games with amazing graphics. Naturally, my first purchase was Activision Classics—a compilation of 30 Atari 2600 games, including River Raid.
Even now, with an Xbox One in my living room, I use emulators on my computer to play classic games. As a child, we already had one system—remember when that was enough?—so my parents never purchased us a TurboGrafx-16, but I can play Bonk’s Adventure to my heart’s content now.
Many of you would understand my disappointment when I wasn’t able to get my hands on NES Classic when they were released. I wanted to play Punch Out! so bad. It had probably been 20 odd years since I played it.
Little did I know that my wonderful, amazing partner, Andrea was able to get one shortly after release and gave it to me as a birthday gift. Soda Popinski is still laughing at me after all these years, but I’m smiling ear-to-ear when he does.
Today’s Games are Amazing but Nothing Beats a Classic Game
Of course, I still enjoy playing today’s games. The realism leaves me awestruck and the capability to play with people halfway across the world means I’m never playing alone.
But, I never get tired of the retrogaming bug. When you beat a classic game it’s memorable. Those games were hard. By contrast, as immersive and realistic as today’s games are, they’re easy to beat. Some games I’ve beat multiple times, yet they’ve left no impression on me, unlike beating Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 3. I will never forget those victories.
Actually, the classic games I’ve been unable to beat are the ones I want to complete the most. For instance, Super Mario Bros. 2 still vexes me. To this day I envision Wart looking upon me with a smug smile; I want to defeat him, nay, I need to defeat him.
Thanks for listening Nation. Until next time, “Be Excellent to Each Other.”¹
Tell Bradley that he writes wonderful prose or that he’s a hack here.
¹Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)