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...