Vintage Game Systems (Pt. 1)

6 01 2008

So here I am pondering the fact that I do not have the latest video game systems.  Things have been pretty good the last couple of years…I was able to afford a PS2 and Nintendo’s GameCube when they came out, and I’m not an X-Box fanboy, so I pretty much had everything that I wanted.

Times have changed.  I can’t just run out and drop a butt-load of money on a new system (or games for one, even if I had it).  I have to wait and save, just like most other people.  Worse, being the responsible adult that I supposedly am, I have to buy systems for my kids before I can indulge my own wants and desires.  The eldest got his X-Box 360 last summer, and the youngest is still waiting for his Wii.  I figure we’ll get around to my PlayStation 3 about the time they come out with the new wave of systems.  Which sucks ass.

Still, at my age I can still remember when all we had were these systems.  I can still remember when these “pong” clones hit the stores, and being just as desperately pissed because we didn’t have the money to get one.  I don’t remember what the version was in the stores where I lived…I think this Bentley was sold in Europe at the time.  Whatever it was, it worked the same way: you moved the long white bar up and down with a rotary controller to keep your opponent from zinging the little white blip past you.  I found a bunch of these old systems at a thrift store a few months back, and bought them.  Most of them don’t work, but we hooked up one that did.  It was a lot of fun.  For about eight minutes.

Never had an Atari…too damn expensive…but I remember how much fun the old Pong game was before they came out with the Atari, and how bad it sucked shortly thereafter.  In my twenties, on my own and able to foolishly spend my money however I wished, I bought an original Nintendo Entertainment System (8-bit?  I never kept track of the “bits”).  That was pretty cool, although I think the only games we had for it were the two that came with the system (Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros.).

Pretty cool, that is, until a few years later, when I got my first PlayStation.  That was kind of a turning point for me.  Since then, I find that I can’t really get into any of the “retro” games.  I found an old NES at (what else?) a thrift store, and a butt-load of games to go with it.  I hooked it up, it worked, and I messed around with it.  For about eight minutes.  Same thing for Super Nintendo.  It’s not the inferior graphics so much as it is that I just can’t seem to find a game on those systems that doesn’t bore me after a short period of time.

The point?  Well, obviously, you don’t miss what you don’t have.  When all I had was Pong, I loved it.  The minute they came out with something better, Pong sucked ass and I wanted the new system.  Then they came out with an even AWESOMER! system…and on and on and on.  It’s about the games, ultimately.  Who cares about the system, it’s the games that they can create for it that you care about.  Better system=better games, simple as that.  Back when all we had was PlayStation and Nintendo 64, it was simple.  All the games that I wanted to play were on PS.  In fact, I have a used 64 machine now, and all the games you can nab out of dump-bin at Game Stop.  Still can’t find a game for that bastard that I like playing.

So I figure I have about a year’s worth of stuff to play on my PS2 and GameCube…games I have on hand that I haven’t played, and games that I never bought new that I might be able to pick up used.  Maybe longer.  I’m a pretty slow gamer.  Meanwhile, all the games that I really want to play (can you say Call of Duty 4?  Can you say Tomb Raider 8?  Can you say Resident Evil whatever number they are up to?) are coming out on the new systems.

I guess I won’t be watching much X-Play over the next year.

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