Yup. 18 years in a little over 10 minutes.
Admittedly, some things were probably a bit more vague than I wanted them to be, but I really wanted to do my personal BC– Before my own Console– stuff in one video. I don’t have access to an Atari 2600, VIC-20, or Commodore 64, so it also made sense from a presentation standpoint to combine those experiences into one video… setting the stage for the 20+ years and multiple console generations to come.
Some other specific memories from this period:
Hanging around arcades as much as I did gave me safe places to hang out. I didn’t get into trouble as a kid; I guess I was a panhandler of sorts, looking for loose change and hoping to stumble upon extra credits or free games, but that was all I could do as a poor kid. Arcade regulars knew me, looked out for me, and protected me. I also learned a lot of things in arcades… game strategies, etiquette, even a bit of social interaction skill. Asking someone twice your age if you can join his/her game or play against them wasn’t an easy thing for me. In fact, it scared the heck out of me… but I learned how to do it, and it helped me with social awkwardness so I could make talk to people I didn’t know as I aged.
Here’s a fun story: I shut down a bully, thanks to an arcade game. This kid used to pick on me incessantly at recess in 7th grade, because I was a poor kid in a private school. After enough teasing, I’d had enough. I knew that I couldn’t fight this kid, but I had an idea of how to match up with him on an even playing field: I challenged him to an arcade game battle. Classmates showed up that Friday night, and I was there, waiting by The Empire Strikes Back machine… but the bully never showed. The following Monday, the bully got teased by other classmates. “You chickened out?” The kid stopped picking on me after that; we never became friends or anything, but the rest of my time at that school was a bit more tolerable with his teasing subsided.
I talked a bit in the video about being a “bad winner” when it came to playing games versus my brother. I never let up off of the accelerator when I played against him, and it’s understandable that he got upset sometimes. Hardball!, International Hockey, Indoor Sports, and more games were cycled in and out of my 1541 disc drive… and I won every game, every time. I used to gloat a lot, but as we both got older, we learned mutual respect for each other. He enjoyed spending time with me, playing games… and I’m sorry that I took that time for granted. I miss those days, and it’s not because I always won. It’s because that time eventually ended, and we went in our separate directions. I miss having that young 12-13 year-old kid looking up to me, wanting to hang out with me, and making me feel really good about myself when not a lot of other things did.
Episode 22 will go up next week (April 8th or 9th) and cover 1990-1995, which will touch on my experiences with the NES, SNES, Genesis, and more. It’s the period of time when I got my first real job, had my first serious relationship, lived on my own for the first time, and bought my first console(s) with my own money. Episode 23 will come the following week (April 15th or 16th) and span 1995-2001. That was the PlayStation Era for me, along with gaming on the N64, the rise and fall of the Dreamcast, and personal loss and gain. Finally, Episode 24 will come on my birthday, April 22, and wrap up the series by covering 2001 through the present day. Expect to hear about the PlayStation 2, Gamecube, Xbox, and how the PS3/360 generation adversely affected my gaming life.
As always, thanks to all of you for watching this video, along with any others that you’ve taken the time to see.