Introduction and a Little Retro Gaming
By Matthew White(Chtulu80)
First of all I would like to welcome all who read this first post as part of the Open Forum Radio network as an editorial writer. A little introduction of myself is in order. I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa where I currently reside. I have played video games since I was just old enough to pick up a controller. I have very fond memories of the old Atari systems that were around before the original NES. Since then I have graduated to just about every console that has come out. Other than that, I work as head of shipping for a large animation distribution company. I will not name them here, but do some research and i am sure you can figure it out. I have been with that company for quite some time and enjoy it for the most part.
Now that is out of the way I can start with the body of this article. This is just a topic I thought about today while I was working and I figured it would probably make a good opener. Just minding my own business and listening to some podcasts today I started to think about what some of my old favorites from days past. I just started making a mental list of the games at work and of the older games (pre 1990) some of the list might surprise you while some of it are just dead locks or a who’s who.
While thinking about some of the games that I loved on Atari I went across the classic titles like “Pac-Man”, “Pitfall”, and “Pole Position”. While some of them are not really run of the mill, two of them are lesser known titles. The first one being “H.E.R.O.”. You played a guy with a helicopter backpack. You had to rescue some miners that were trapped and you had a limited about of “fuel” for the copter backpack and a limited amount of T.N.T. It was kind of an action/adventure game that was really fun for time that it was made in. I do not think that I actually beat the game or even if you could, but it was fun none the less.
The other game that really sticks out for me was “Demon Attack”. While most may think that this was a generic space shooter similar to “Galaxian”, I really enjoyed it. I can fondly remember my brother and I taking turns trying to beat the game. We would have little fights over who was better at the game. It was a competitive in house score chase game. I remember us writing down on paper what level we had gotten to or what our scores were when we lost our last space ship. While since I have figured out that after the first run of carts were made, there was a line of code added to where you could not actually beat the game. Sometimes I wish I still had the game to go back to; like reliving a part of my childhood.
Those are just a couple of what I would call the lesser known favorites of my Atari days. Soon after release, for Christmas, our folks got us a NES system. Keep in mind that we were used to Atari like graphics for a few years and when we pushed that power button in for the first time, we were amazed. While you look back at the visuals of “Super Mario Brothers” now you would think we were crazy. We played that game for days, when we were able to wrestle the controller away from our father. We were introduced to a world of princesses and warp zones and hidden ways through the game. Soon after we were allowed to pick out a couple of games to buy so we would have a few different ones to play. We picked out “Pro Wrestling” and my personal favorite NES title, “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!”
I loved playing “Punch Out” so much. I remember coming home from school just to pop it in and see if I could finally beat the world circuit. It took me a while and lot of thrown controllers but I finally managed to beat Bald Bull for the second time and finally made it to the boxer that went by the name of Mr. Sandman. He tore me a new one time and again. I was wondering how many more boxers there were. Finally I beat Sandman then on to Super Macho Man and his swinging hooks. That guy caused me more headaches than just about anything when I was a kid. One day we came home from school to an issue of Nintendo Power that contained a code that would let you bypass all boxers and head to the title match with Tyson. To this day I can still remember the code. I never did, until years later, beat Tyson. After that I was given “another world circuit” to try to complete. I decided to call it good.
Many other games I have loved in the years of my childhood. I still play the modern games today. Don’t get me wrong I love the games that I play today. It just seems that sometimes that fun factor that was in those hard as nails NES games just is not put into games these days. Mostly you have to be skilled to get anywhere. After long nights of gaming with games like “Call of Duty: Black Ops” I am wide awake when I know that I should be tired. I am not sure this is a good thing, but its there none the less. I wish games would be a little more about being fun than just having to be good. Games need to be more about having fun than just having twitch reflexes. I just long for the “good ole’ days”