When I was in junior high school, I was addicted to pinball. Any quarter I could muster, I would take to Lotsa Fun at the Har Mar Mall in Roseville, Minnesota, or perhaps the Kresge store in the same mall, or the now-defunct and my eventual main hangout, Rose Bowl Lanes, across the street. The video game Space Invaders was introduced at some point in my junior high tenure, shortly followed by Asteroids, and the end of pinball's dominance in arcades was begun. I'm not sure what hooked me, but it's not too surprising, since my dad was a terrific pool player (and still amazes me on the rare occasion he plays). I think there's a similar arcade-like DNA there.
I made the switch, too, becoming a regular at Circus, the successor to Lotsa Fun, using the same mall space with an expansion. There were a few games I was pretty good at. I became a very good foosball player as well (also in the billiards DNA), even winning a couple championships at my Technical College (I know, I know..."real impressive"). The only game I became better at than anyone I ever saw was Wacko, and obscure game where you moved a hovering-saucer-riding alien, shooting other aliens it would meet at different points along the path. What made it challenging was that you had to multi-task in a way no other game required.
In my adult years, I enjoyed some home video games, with my favorite being Links golf on the PC. I still fire it up once in a while, despite the franchise folding sometime after Microsoft sold it in 2004, preferring it to even the most recent Tiger Woods games from EAS. For a while, and in spurts, I would be addicted to the game, and even quite temperamental when I didn't play well.
This background leads to the point of this post: I'm not a gamer, and I'm not sure why. My 20-year-old son is, my 7-and-9-year-old sons are hooked on Skylanders, Mario, and most recently, starting to really get into WWE. But not only am I not a gamer, I don't play home video games at all, other than occasionally when my young sons want me to play with them. And I'm not sure why.
Perhaps they have become too realistic, although I can still see myself getting the bug to play Tiger Woods again, and perhaps even Brunswick's PBA bowling game, both of which are quite realistic. Perhaps because I never really enjoyed the personally violent games I say personally violent, because obliterating scores of spaceships were fun. I still enjoy playing Galaga every time I visit Breezy Point Resort. So, perhaps I only enjoy video games for nostalgia, or if they are realistic facsimiles of sports I enjoy playing in real life.
I guess it's a good thing, as it saves money and keeps me from wasting time. Then again, I spend plenty on games for the boys, and I really don't use all that free time as productively as I should.
Oh, and I did lie a little. I still occasionally play bumper stars on Candystand.com. It's a bit addictive for me, and I'll binge in it still occasionally. It's basically a video game cross between pinball and billiards.
Yep, I can't defy, nor will I ever totally shake, my arcade-like DNA.
6 days ago