High Score episode 6

Introduction

We have arrived at High Score episode 6. The last episode of the first season. I say first season because I remain hopeful that there will at least be a second season. More on the episode later, of course, but let’s talk about why there should be at least one more season for a bit. Naturally, the first reason is because the show was very good. Honestly, do you need another reason? Fine, way to make me do my job.

Except this isn’t my job. It’s my hobby. And I might not even be all that good at it.

Aside from the fact that the series was entertaining and I’d like to continue to be entertained by nostalgia, they stopped with the advent of the 3D era. The last game they talk about is DOOM. That game came out when I was in high school. I’m not going to go into how long ago that was, but I often talk about being an old man gamer, so you can do the math. No mention of the N64 or Sony vs. Microsoft. Granted, that wasn’t as exciting as Nintendo vs. Sega, but it bears mentioning at the least.

Heck, they only gave passing mention to some of the greatest games of the era and missed the boat on others, like Metroid. Maybe there will be a special episode or season 3? That’s probably asking too much.

Into…the 3rd dimension! (On Game Boy?)

We start our journey on the Game Boy. Yes, that Game Boy. The very same one that you remember (or probably don’t unless you are old like me) from your childhood. The green and black monochrome dot matrix screen. 8 bit graphics and midi sound effects. Also, like I mentioned in a previous article about episode 3, it had one of the best Final Fantasy games in the series.

Speaking of Tetris, this was actually my introduction to the game.

Well, this company was attempting to show that you could do 3D graphics on current technology. I’m not sure why they chose the Game Boy. Hey, I was watching while working out. So, some of the details are missing. The point is that they got a working demo on the Game Boy.

They so impressed Nintendo with their work that they offered them a job to bring a similar experience to the SNES. I may be missing critical information. However, the overarching theme is there. Argonaut begat Game Boy 3D which begat the SNES and Pilotwings. In turn, Pilotwings begat Wolfenstein that begat…

Can you play DOOM on this thing?

The majority of the episode revolved around DOOM. I even got a bit of a nerdgasm when they revealed that they talked to the man, John Romero, for pretty much the whole segment. You young nerds might not know. But, for us oldbies, John Romero is a legend.

Some of y’all have grown up with consistent broadband internet on which to embarrass your friends and enemies. Not so for us. We had to “dial in” on a “phone line” and were excited when the speed increased almost two fold from 33.6k to 56k. None of us knew what those numbers meant, but we knew that 56 > 33.6.

And, we liked it! Yep, really leaning into that old man demo with a relevant cultural image here.

Aside from ushering in the age of online gaming, DOOM and id Software helped to popularize other trends like shareware. They gave you part of hte game for free, got you hooked, and then made you pay for the rest. No, they’re really not doing much for the old video games as a proxy for drugs narrative.

But, on a more positive note, they did open the code of the game. I know I’ve talked about this before. But, if you’ve ever played DOOM or its various clones or even World of Warcraft, you know that the games can be modded. (Can’t forget about my favorite recent moddable game, Minecraft.) Having that sort of control over a game gives it infinite replay value.

Heck, entire new games have been developed as mods to existing games.

The Verdict (High Score episode 6 is an awesome conclusion to the season)

Yes, you can tell from that subtitle that I’m tipping my hand yet again. I want another season of this show. I mean, who wouldn’t? Other than episode two, which was a bit slow (and I now understand that might have been a by design), the show was solid from beginning to end. Sure, High Score episode 6 ended it with DOOM, which is right in my wheelhouse. Nevertheless, if you are an oldbie nerd like me, you will enjoy this series. If you haven’t already.

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