Confessions of a Software Geek

Ramblings and rumblings about my many worlds of geekdom.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Droppin' Quarters

Arcade games. Those two words conjure up very distinct images in people all based on what was hot when they were in their early teen years. For me it was the arcade game "Tempest" and the pinball game "Black Knight". I spent alot of quarters on those two games.

I certainly enjoyed other games, but these two were my favorites. My brother was a wiz at "Asteriods" and "Centipede", but I never quite got the hang of either of them. For me "Tempest" was where it was at. I have since tried to play "Tempest" via the MAME game emulator, but it's just not the same. Without the spinning controller that the original arcade game had, it just doesn't play the same.

One of our greatest Christmas's ever was the year that we got an Atari 2600 VCS. Today's kids are spoiled with the wide availability X-boxes, Playstations, and other consoles. Before the Atari 2600 came out, you either went to an arcade and spent oodles of quarters, or put up with the lame Pong-clone TV games that had come out the year or two before. Imagine, being able to play video games in your own house, on your own TV. Even back then the graphics seemed fairly primitive but it was the game play that truly won people over. Many games were extremely addictive. I was addicted to playing "Missle Command". I once played it for 10 hours straight, rolling the score over a million points, only taking a break to eat dinner while letting my brother play for me.

Hopefully the game designers of today look back at the games of yesteryear and try to understand what made them so fun and addictive to play. Fancy high-tech graphics alone do not guarantee a game's success. It is still all about the game play.