Remembering the Golden Age of Video Games.

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…

19 thoughts on “Remembering the Golden Age of Video Games.

  1. I fondly recall playing the version of NetHack 2.03e I ported to the Atari ST, Crossfire on Sun workstations, and the countless hours spent on Infocom text adventures.

    Nothing improves the good old times like memory, though.

  2. I just caught the tail end of the arcade era in the early 90’s. Mortal Kombat, Primal Rage, Area 51, Galaga, Mrs. Pac-man, and the MANY pinball machines were my games of choice.

    It wasn’t until Tilt closed down around 1995 that I moved on to computers.

  3. Defender! One of the all time greats
    Scramble – how many versions of that did we see on the ‘home computers’
    and of course, fo sheer garishness, the end in a nuclear holocaust that was Missile Attack

    Before Last Hussar there was MHE- Mad Half Elf.

  4. Now that I think about it, that was about the same time that I started playing games on the computer and console systems more often.  I think my two favorite all time games are Zelda (any version) and Mario Kart 64.  On the computer, one of my favorite games has to be Starcraft.

  5. Although I didn’t catch the Golden Age of Arcade games, I’ve mentioned many times here that my dad has been selling arcade games my whole life so for a long time you couldn’t go anywhere in the entire midwest and not see my initials on the highscore list.

    Instead of hiring a baby sitter my dad would take me to work with him all summer where I would play in the arcade showroom with all the game set to freeplay. When I look back on it now I know my dad did it to find out which games were duds and which games the kids really wanted to play. Also customer would often walk in and ask me why I liked certain games over others and what my favorites were.

    I was the only one out of all my friends who still knew the lost art of being an arcade wizard. I knew all the secrets of every game and I never lost a score competition.

    But now even my version of the golden age is over and nothing really remains… I was in my dad’s showroom the other day ago to pick him up to go get lunch and when I walked in there was a jukebox, a touch screen, and one pinball [not bally, midway or any other classic brand either]. These abominations were in the same room that used to have at least 25 of the hottest newest arcade games luring me to play as a kid.

  6. the end in a nuclear holocaust that was Missile Attack

    Don’t you mean Missle Command? Egads, I’m a geek.

    I still own a fully functional Crazy Climber arcade game. It’s still in my folk’s basement cause I’ve not had a house to put it in yet.

  7. Asteroids, Defender, and Centipede are the ones I remember most. Asteroids in particular. The greezy diner near my bus stop had that one, and I used to get up hours early ( I think they opened at 5am ) on schooldays. I still associate this game with the smell of burning sausage, and vice-versa.

  8. I’m with Moloch, the early 90’s was when I went to arcades. I grew up with Nintendo.

  9. Don’t you mean Missle Command?

    Yes, sorry (hangs head in shame).  I just could not remember the name- Missile Attack was probably one of the many rip offs that wasmade for Home Computers. (Cue those without at least a 3 at the start of their ages go ‘whats a home computer?’)  Does anyone else remember the ZX81?

  10. Does anyone else remember the ZX81?

    I remember in 1986 (When I was very young) when my dad forked over $10,000 for a new AT&T PC6300 with a color video card. It sits in my bedroom to this day. Very good little PC to play Alley Cats or watch Alfred.

  11. Does anyone else remember the ZX81?

    Yup. I knew somebody who perpetually resoldered his joystick to the keyboard interface or whatever to make it send the right keyboard controls to the games he played.

  12. Ahhh, Golden Axe and Magic Sword….my two favourites! Knights of the Round was ok…And of course I played all of the Street Fighters and Marvel vs Capcom games, etc. But yeah, I remember playing SpyHunter…and the original wireframe graphics Star Wars and Glaxxon games. Those were good times 😀

  13. Golden Axe//// wow. I can’t remember how many coins I had to chunk into that damn thing. That, Altered Beast, and Bubble Bobble (I got the home version of Street Fighter 2 and played it till my thumbs went dry).

    Come to think of it, Altered Beast really needs a remake.

  14. I never owned a ZX81, but I do remember it. Along with the Timex Sinclair, TRS-80, Vic20, and even the Commodore PET.

  15. I dont know about you arc, but that Altered Beast game was hard as hell for me.  I think I never got passed the 3rd level.  As for Street Fighter goes, that games definitely wasted a lot of my life, and my friend’s lives.

    I think my favorite multiplayer games that my friends and I enjoyed was X-Men, the arcade version where up to 6 people at once could play.  THAT GAME WAS THE SHIT FOR MULTIPLAYING!

  16. Timex Sinclair

    I think this was the US name for the Spectrum (8 Colour- 48k Memory)  I won Operation Market Garden on that.

    Next time you look in awe at the latest polygon shooter think about 3d Monster Maze on the ZX81. 16k Ram, pixels that were 1/4 of a character- and even then they weren’t proper pixels- they were characters with white or black quarters.  Seeing a T Rex come towards you, made up of just letters was awesome- remember we had seen nothing like this before.  Today each break through is a refinement- rarely do we see anything new.

  17. What first came tomy mind when I read this post was the initials I would use when I would win one of the “highest scores” spots. Those initials were almost always “FUK”, or “ASS”.

    Because, I was a baaaaaad boy.

  18. Oh, Webs, dude, all the old arcade button mashers (especially the rough ones, like Final fight)… but even then, X-men was great… so was WWF Wrestlemania, too…. pounding on all the buttons, with guys like Ultimate Warrior, Earthquake and the LEgion of Doom. I used to love playing that game.

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