The folks over at bits & bytes & pixels & sprites have an entry on the Golden Age of Video Games that got me to reminiscing this morning:
-Space Invaders -Spy Hunter -Gauntlet -Joust -Tempest -Donkey Kong… Recognize them? Can you see them in your mind’s eye? Then you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.
High Score. THE High Score. Ahh the bragging rights of getting those 3 letters on the high score list. It was the pinnacle for any arcade player. It was like a calling card, a flag to proudly plant in newly attained territory. Getting on that list multiple times? Now you’re just flaunting it. DRZ was my flag. Just the 3 simple letters carried such weight back then. It was the only real measure of success in arcade games. Each player’s was unique. Posting a high score and watching other players try to best it, that was the pastime. That and taking a run at someone else’s score. (There was an entire episode of Seinfeld about it.)
We spent our young lives in dark arcades, spending so much time there we knew every seam in the carpet, every cigarette burn in the cabinets. We knew which machines needed to have that damn fire button that always seem to get stuck at the worst possible time fixed. We knew which machines rejected your quarter while also giving you a credit.
To grow up during what is now referred to as the “Golden Age of Video Games” was a special thing indeed.
If you’re an old gamer like me then be sure to go read the full article. Here’s the comment I left:
I remember the Golden Age of Arcades fondly myself. My favorite was also an Aladdin’s Castle located in the mall I haunted in my youth. Countless are the hours and cash I spent in that darkened abyss playing Elevator Action, Pac Man, Mappy, Space Invaders, Spy Hunter, Galaga, Jungle King, Rolling Thunder, Cliff Hanger, Dragon’s Lair and so on. When it came to entering my initials on the high score list I was fortunate to have a first name that was three letters long so that’s what I used.
Yeah I miss those days on occasion, but I don’t think I’d really be willing to trade in my PS2/PC and copies of World of Warcraft/Metal Gear Solid 3/God of War just to go back to them again. Those arcades of old are all the more magical because they don’t exist anymore. Something I can be haughty about to my 13 year old nephew who likes to think he’s an uber-gamer.
Son, let me tell you about the Good Old Days…