A Post in Which I Realize I’m Too Young to Feel Nostalgia for 2nd Generation Video Games*

I think one of the primary purposes of those collections of old video games is to remind us not to take what we have today for granted and that once upon a time our heroes had to go to the dungeon in 2 feet of snow(y tv static) uphill both ways.

I always hear stories about how the ET game was so bad that it caused the home game market to crash. Or the same with the Atari Pac-man (which, in fairness, was a really crappy port of an otherwise great game). But what about all of the other god-awful terrible, near unplayable, games that DIDN’T cause the market to crash?** 17 games in one! and they’re all terrible 😀

Still, there was a focus on heads-up multiplayer gaming that’s really lacking today everywhere except for fighting games. I bet I can land my sky-diving stick figure on the narrow colored line better and more times than you can!

One thing that I find most interesting about old games are their cartridge art and the manuals. Art ranged from outlandish to beautiful realism, fueling the imagination to visualize these worlds of digital impressionism.

This isn’t to say that there weren’t some great old games. It’s just that the difference between Atari 2600 and NES are like a watershed. Especially looking at some of the mid to late 80s Atari home games, I just kind of feel sad for everyone… Developers, players, me…

*:The only games from this Gen I’m old enough to have fond memories of are the older arcade games still in operation in places like Chuck’e Cheeses (then Showbiz Pizza) from the days before they became shady kiddy-casinos with nothing but dull games of chance.

**: Really, most of the arcade games still hold up, especially Red Baron and Crystal Castles. It’s just the home-ports and home games that are awful.



4 responses to “A Post in Which I Realize I’m Too Young to Feel Nostalgia for 2nd Generation Video Games*

  1. I’m almost too young to have played arcade games. I realize that there are still arcades… and there are still arcade games… but it’s not the same, you know? I mean, Wreck-It Ralph is almost HISTORICAL FICTION.


    • I know. I was going to say that most of the arcades in my town were gone by the early 90s, but there was a place called X-Site, which was was there until the late 90s, I think. It was kind of like Foot Clan lair from the first Ninja Turtles movie, only bigger and with more black lights.

      A few years back, I went to a gag birthday party at a chuck-e-cheese, and was kind of horrified by it. I don’t think there was a single arcade game there. It was all “Toss in your quarters, and maybe we’ll give you tickets, maybe we won’t!” It didn’t even have any of those old whack-a-mole or ping-pong toss (did Bozo the Clown plant the insidious seeds of Beer Pong in the mind of my generation?) games.

      • In Salt Lake we have a couple “Nickle-cades” that are supposedly full of arcade games. I haven’t been to one in over a decade — but they’re still there. We also have them in movie theaters lobbies.


      • Theatres and a few independent pizzerias are just about the only time you can ever find real arcade games anymore. I love the places that still have those old NeoGeo boxes with stuff like Raiden.

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