PSN Name: GeekElite
I’m definitely an old-school gamer. My first gaming experiences were in the early 1980′s on a Commodore Vic20 home computer. If you’re too young to remember the Commodore glory days, the Vic20 was the first of Commodore’s consumer-level home computing solutions, and it plugged directly into a TV. No monitor. The Vic20 had a cartridge slot on the back that could be used for a wide variety of applications, but we used it mostly for gaming.
I have a strange relationship with classic gaming, though. No one really remembers much about the games on the Commodore systems, because it wasn’t dedicated gaming hardware. It wasn’t until the Ataris and Nintendos of the world started bringing gaming to the masses that people really took notice. I never had a dedicated gaming system anywhere near their launch dates. The first full gaming system I owned was an NES, and I didn’t get that until 1988, almost 3 years after it launched. I also only ever owned 2 (technically 3) games aside from the SMB/Duck Hunt pack-in over the entire time I owned the system. The first game I was given was Chessmaster 2000 (as a huge nerd, I was into chess at the time), and I eventually got Karnov as well. At some point I traded Chessmaster to one of my friends for Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (I think I made out on the better end of that deal), but all of the rest of the games I either borrowed or rented.
So, the combination of getting the system late and not owning any games meant that I didn’t even see the vast majority of the better games until years after they were already classics. All of my favorite old-school series’ – Mega Man, Castlevania, Legend of Zelda – I either got into late, or never played the original games at all. For example, I didn’t play A Link to the Past until years after Ocarina of Time was released. And I’ve still never finished it.
In spite of being a “late bloomer”, I’m still a huge classic gaming nut. I love 8- and 16-bit era games as much (somtimes even more) than the modern games I’m into. I lament every time they “update” a series and remove it from its roots – even so much as to take an old 2d platformer and make it “2.5d” instead of making nicer, hi-res 2d sprites (like New Super Mario Bros. or Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X). I’d love to see a full Super Mario Bros. game with the beautiful 2d art style that Nintendo used for WarioLand Shake It!.
It’s interesting to me to have discussions about classic games with gamers who were into them from their inception. There’s an entire society of gamers who grew up playing all of these classic games with their friends, talking about them, trading them, and building childhoods around them. I definitely have games that I love and classics that are indelibly tied to my childhood, but don’t have any shared experiences with other gamers from that era. When we started this podcast, a great many discussions of old games have resulted in my 3 co-hosts having a heartwarning nostalgia session while I sit off to the side and can’t really comment.
I have to consider myself a new classic gamer, to some degree. It seems like my experience of being a sad geeky loner isn’t necessarily the norm (or maybe it is, and my co-hosts are the anomaly). In any case, the bulk of my deeper classic gaming knowledge came in the mid ’90s while I was in high-school, rather than in the previous decade like most gamers my age. Now, though, I have the opportunity to share the experience of playing all of these games again (sometimes for the first time) with a new group of friends, players, and fans!