Revisiting the 80s: Video Games

I grew up LOVING video games.  I still love them.  It’s my uncle’s fault.  One of the best birthday presents I ever got was $20 worth of video game tokens and an afternoon at the arcade with him.  My favorite arcade sized game is Galaga, and luckily, it was the favorite of enough people that you can occasionally still find it in an arcade.

I was reminded of my 80s video game craze tonight when I was doing some random web surfing.  I came across this site, retrojunk.com, which I believe could entertain me for hours.  It is not the most aesthetically pleasing site, but who cares when the content is this good?  Paging through old commercials for video games reminded me of Intellivision.  Unbelievable to look at that game console now and imagine the hours of entertainment it provided.  Do you remember the little plastic overlays that slid over the button pad on the controller?  They always ended up with permanent indentations from pushing so hard on the buttons with my thumbs.  I vaguely remember being scolded about that, but I would’ve been so zoned in on the game, it probably barely registered.

I loved Pitfall, but who knew Jack Black was in one of their early 80’s commercials?  As I watched this commercial, I could feel myself leaning heavily to the right, as my body willed Harry to make it across the pond full of alligators, my muscles tense like rubber bands until I dropped him safely on the other side.

And what about Burger Time?  I could play that game for hours.  Listening now, I’m not sure how I could handle the music for so long, but check this out – even if you only listen for a few seconds, I promise, it will take you back.

I eventually got a Nintendo when I was in high school, and mastered games like Super Mario Bros., and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (which you can still play as a retro game on Wii, but now it’s just called Punch-Out since the game’s namesake bit off someone’s ear).  I spent way too many school nights up into the early morning hours hooked on this one.  I can’t imagine how many hours it took me to get through the whole game and beat Mike Tyson.

As I said, I still love video games, and I now play the kind that take months to get through (especially since I’m no longer in high school with hours and hours to spare), but there’s something to be said for the magic and simplicity of games from the 80s.  Despite the now simplistic graphics capabilities, the concept of home video games was still so new, you felt like maybe Star Trek would become a reality someday.  What were your favorites?  Were you an Intellivision nut, an Atari kid or did  you have a Sega or ColecoVision?

4 thoughts on “Revisiting the 80s: Video Games

  1. I played Pacman. Only Pacman. My husband? He played all of those you played and probably more. He’s a fanatic. No, not a fanatic, just a really good gamer. So good he became a programmer and now makes them for a living.

    Now I’ll only play Zelda. I would get into WOW or something online, but I’ve got a family and books to write. Meaning, I get a bit addicted and would become a shut-in within days of starting the game. Yeah, it’s that bad. At least with Zelda there’s an end point. If there wasn’t… you know Link and I would be running around Hyrule to this day fighting baddies.

    • I went through a serious Zelda phase – I do all games in phases – play one to death, then ignore it. Pacman was a good one, as was Ms. Pacman. One I used to play with my uncle a lot back in the day was Pole Position – that was an awesome racing game for its time! These days, I like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, games like that. What kind of games does your husband make? Awesome he gets to program games. I work in software, but have never been able to get into the gaming world. I bet it’s great!

  2. Yeah, I dabbled in Ms. Pacman, but by then I was moving out of my teenage angst phase and had to start working more.

    My hubs works at Rockstar Games. The last one he contributed to was Red Dead Redemption. He’s also worked on Grand Theft Auto IV (I think others, but not sure) and Midnight Club. They’re all racing games and pretty fun. I’ve never played GTA (waiting for the kid to get old enough to play).

    A new Zelda comes out in November – Skyward Sword. You know I’m all excited for it! You should try the new one…

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