When I was a small child friends came over…or I went over to a friend’s house, and we played together. The concept of a “Play Date” did not exist. We invented games and activities, and used our imaginations. Home consoles hadn’t yet arrived; we were actively encouraged by our parents to play outside and “be creative.” When television was allowed I recall fondly watching Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and Saturday Morning cartoons. Muppet Babies was one of my favorites. I know what Pokemon is, but have never played a Pokemon game. We collected baseball cards. I grew up playing video games during the first Golden Age of home consoles, just as Atari and Colecovision were giving way to the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. We rented games from the local video store (along with movies on VHS cassette). One of the most exciting things as a child was going into the local arcade to watch the older kids or, when I could scrounge a wayward quarter from a coin return slot, to actually play a game. Sometimes I had enough quarters to Continue. Arcade machines seemed so amazing and intimidating then, with spectacular sounds and graphics unlike anything the home consoles of the day could offer. Pinball Machines, in their own way, were even more amazing. I grew up believing that ‘Computer Games’ were the best, and most sophisticated…because you had to own an expensive computer just to run them. In many ways – in those days – this was true. It wasn’t until my twenties that I finally bought my first computer; we never had one in the family. This opened up a new world, an enormous virtual library of games, and I dove in, exploring, searching and discovering new genres along the way. From a gaming standpoint I thought I had ‘arrived.’ A few years later it occurred to me that you can’t really judge a game by its platform (or its graphics, or the year in which it was released). I realized that a game is good simply because it is…and the trick is only to find a way to play it, and then learn how to play it. Video games are a huge part of my life, but (as with all hobbies) there is so much more to life than video games can ever offer. I have made it one of my casual goals in life to play (to experience) every worthwhile game that doesn’t resort to excessive violence, bloodletting, profanity, nudity or depravity to sell itself… regardless of platform, or the year in which it was released. Someday, I’ll make a list of these titles and post them here.
EDIT (Update): And here it is.