My obsession with retro video games started with mine and Liam’s trip to The Quarters a few weeks ago. That’s no entirely true. While not often one to fall victim to nostalgia, I have always been a fan of the video games of my youth. Let’s say that my most recent obsession with retro video games started with our trip to The Quarters. It was just such a fun walk down memory lane.
XBox 360 (Skyrim/Fallout)
My second step on the nostalgia tour took me to my XBox 360, where I planned (yet again) to play and attempt to finally beat Skyrim or Fallout 3 or both. I already wrote an article about my latest experiences in Skyrim, so I don’t have to repeat myself here. In addition, due to the drive tray issues on my XBox 360, I haven’t even loaded Fallout 3. Oh well, best laid plans and all of that.
While Skyrim didn’t (spoiler alert if you haven’t read the other article) quite sate my appetite for recaptured youth, that’s not unexpected. I only ever played Morrowind from the Elder Scrolls series and that was well after I had become (at least in the eyes of the law) an adult. I never liked Morrowind much. I did like Skyrim very much, but it also came into my life during quite a difficult time, so maybe I just need to recalibrate the game in my brain space to a happier time.
Nintendo GameCube/Sega Dreamcast (Pokemon Colosseum)
Those of you who follow and read the page regularly know that the Nintendo GameCube was a big storyline through the holidays around here. The short, short story is that Liam wanted one for Christmas, we didn’t buy one because I was confident that we still own ours, and he ultimately felt jipped by Christmas. That led to our trip to The Quarters. It also caused a wild search around the house for our old GameCube.
Liam also found my old Dreamcast, which further supported my theory that the GameCube must be somewhere around the house. I have my PS1, PS2, DreamCast, and Game Boy Advance. I know that I sold my N64 to a local YMCA youth program, and we gave our Wii away to a gift exchange for needy families. That is all consoles (not including the more current ones) that I have owned at one time or another. All except for that dang GameCube.
As one of our ideas to sooth Liam’s broken heart over Christmas, I decided to load up the Dreamcast. I discovered that it has a loose drive door and that it won’t load games consistently. I did get House of the Dead to the loading screen. Other than that, it keeps kicking me back to the main menu. Oh well, best laid plans and all that.
Liam did finally collect enough money by selling some gift cards he got for Christmas to buy the system and the game that he wanted for it, Pokemon Colosseum. I’m glad that we could help him come up with the money to buy it. I’ve never seen him so happy about a game. I suspect that when he’s my age, Pokemon will be one of his go to games for warm and fuzzy feelings from his youth.
Nintendo 64 (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
I loaded this one on a whim a couple of weeks ago. It is probably my second favorite Legend of Zelda game that I’ve played behind A Link to the Past. Quinn got kicked out of the living room one night while Christine was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the older boys, so he took a seat next to me and watched me play. It has become an almost nightly date for me to sit down and play Zelda while Quinn watches and they watch Buffy or Stranger Things if it is just Christine and Aiden.
Game Boy Advance (Pokemon Pinball)
I can’t fully explain my interest in these types of games. I do know that I played the heck out of Sonic Spinball on my Genesis when I was younger. I also grew up with a father who couldn’t really get into video games, but loved a good pinball machine. I remember going to the boardwalk and he would go up and down the line of pinball machines with his handful of quarters until he found one that he liked. Okay, maybe I can fully explain it.
The thing that I can’t explain is with all of the games that I have available to me on this system, why is this the first one that I play? I have a history with Pokemon all the way back to the first games and I played and enjoyed Pokemon Sun a couple of years ago. But, I’m not crazy about Pokemon like Liam. I don’t know. There’s just something about this game that calls to me. Maybe it just is the connection to my dad, pinball, and those memories.
Atari 2600 (Various, but mostly Frostbite right now)
And so, we return all the way back to my beginning with video games, the Atari 2600. This is the first console I ever owned, bought by my parents for Christmas one year? Maybe? I honestly don’t remember how we ended up with one in the house, but it was so cool to be able to “play the games from the arcade” in my living room. Sure, Pac-Man wasn’t even close to an accurate port, E.T. is routinely blamed for killing the console, but Mario Bros and Jungle Hunt both looked and played as close to their arcade brethren as the limited 2600 hardware allowed.
Jungle Hunt, especially, holds a place close to my heart. I played the game in the arcade one time, plugging quarters into the machine until I finished all of the levels. I don’t remember how much money it took, but it must have been at least 5 and maybe even 10 dollars. Well, I split my head open being a dumb kid. My parents said that because I was so good when I got the stitches in my head, I could get a prize. I chose Jungle Hunt for the Atari 2600 so that I could play it at home and not have to keep dumping quarters into it.
Frostbite, Pitfall, and the other Activision titles are just very good games. I especially played Frostbite and Pitfall so much as a kid. One of my most vivid memories is playing Pitfall all the way to the end at my grandmother’s house. I don’t remember if she also bought a system or if I brought my system with me. I just remember playing it until the timer reached all zeroes.
I’m not going to go full “back in my day” mode and argue that games were better then than they are now. That is simply not true. Graphics on modern systems are better. More memory and storage allows for better and deeper stories to be told by games. Sure the games were fun then, but they are fun now, too. The fun of games from my childhood are the fun of children. It’s the repetitive and familiar fun that will get old after a couple of weeks or months. But, I will enjoy it while it lasts.