Monday, 18 April 2011

Gaming Memories - Part 4

I loved my Master System. It was my first ever console and it's arguably still the system I have most affection for. My pivotal encounter with OutRun which led to my purchase of Sega's great console may have been the catalyst for my subsequent interest in videogames but I did have a few gaming experiences prior to those. Perhaps they failed to captivate me as much - I suppose I would've hassled my parents for a computer or console earlier otherwise - but I still look back on them fondly all the same. Here at Red Parsley I've already had a fond look back on some of my gaming experiences, but this time I'll be going way back to recall my first ever encounters with videogames.

My earliest memory of any videogame was when I visited my sister's friend's house. Here I found the friend's younger brother playing a curious black & white tennis-like game which I soon learned was called 'Pong'. I played it for a short while with him but wasn't especially taken by it, but I did leave thinking that his family were rich. Soon after this I went to stay with at my auntie and uncle's house for the weekend and soon discovered my cousin's prize possession - an Astro Wars game. Now this did interest me! I was instantly transfixed by its colourful Galaxian-style gameplay and noisy sound effects, so much so in fact, that I did precious little else that whole weekend than play Astro Wars. Even as my parents came to collect me I was still playing it in the car before reluctantly handing it back to my lucky cousin! This encounter led me to a brief flirtation with some similar arcade games of the day.

Indeed, it wasn't long before my dad was dropping me off at my youth club with a 50p piece which was soon shoved straight into the waiting Space Invaders machine. Even better than this was a week-long school trip which came soon afterwards. To my amazement, the place we were staying had a game room where everything was on free-play, and this included the mighty Centipede! These games were all great fun but they didn't strike me in quite the same way as Astro Wars, but at the same time I have long suspected that if I played it again now, I'd be amazed that I ever liked it at all! Last November at the R3Play gaming expo, I was presented with a chance to find out, and to my surprise and delight, it's still great! Many of these LED/LCD games are now highly desirable as collectors items and there was a huge variety of them made back then, but despite that, this remains my only venture into their simple but addictive world.

Did you like any of these kinds of games in your youth? If so, which was your favourite, and is it still enjoyable today? Maybe I can try out some more of them next November...

11 comments:

  1. Wow, that Astro Wars game looks pretty nice!

    Its funny how its never the things you actually owned yourself as a child that evokes the strongest memories, its the stuff you WANTED as a child but didn't have (and somebody else did)! Your cousin was indeed lucky!

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  2. Haha, yes you're right, it's like you were saying recently in one of your posts - I've kept meaning to get one as I've wanted one for so long, but perhaps it's the childhood memories of wanting it so much that makes it appealing! :)

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  3. I played one of these at the Retro Computer Museum (RCM) open day in Leicester last year and you are spot on - it's still loads of fun. In fact, I'd rather play this than the original Space Invaders.

    @Sean for me it was always Zoids. I was so jealous of my mate for having a fine collection of Zoids, but never asked my mum for any because money was always really tight.

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  4. Haha, I had nearly all the small Zoids but I always wanted the big ones too like Rhino and Zoidzilla :( I've still got the comics somewhere but either they were cut off and couldn't finish them or I missed that last few. I'd love to know how the story ended...

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  5. LOL, ah Zoids! I had one of the small ones, but just the one. I seem to recall also having a bigger generic brand Zoid knock off that was kind of cool (but not the real thing).

    They were great but I remember them being hard to get in our area (I was living in Germany back then) so none of my friends had them and they thus only made a brief impact on my childhood memories!

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  6. Oh man now your talking. I had one of these and played the heck out of it!
    Wish I had not got rid of it now.

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  7. Haha, I wish I had bought one to begin with, I only played on my cousin's one! :|

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  8. A friend has this and I loved it, I had Caveman, both are becoming ridiculously expensive on eBay!
    Had the Gorilla Zoid I think but I was really jealous of a friend who's Dad was quite senior at Granada TV. For some reason I can't quite remember he ws able to get his son Neil loads of Star Wars stuff! He had the Deathstar and At-At Walker from Empire Strikes Back!

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  9. Wowzers, sounds pretty handy! I sold all my Star Wars stuff at about the only time in history it wasn't worth much. I couldn't made a pretty penny if I'd kept it! :(

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  10. I have this little boring Star Wars blue robot with two silver legs that was seen wandering through the corridors of the Deathstar in the films. Boxed - worth hundreds, unboxed - about a fiver, I have the unboxed one of course! But then what kid would have kept all his Star Wars toys sealed in the boxes? :)

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  11. Haha, very true :P The world of the collector is a vexing one sometimes!

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