It's so weird how I get into rediscovering some random aspect of my life and then it completely consumes me for a while. I guess that's the curse of us nostalgia-addicts. We often spend our time reminiscing on some subject from our past and the next thing you know, you're bitten by the bug and are now trolling eBay or whatever, trying to recapture that elusive glimpse of how it used to be.
I've done this
recently with classic video games. Usually, my video game playing has
been limited to the time-sucking awesomeness
that is Skyrim. But lately, I've been going old school.
started with a visit to a local ice cream place that is packed with old
video game cabinets, then it led to me breaking out the Atari Flashback
2 for some classic home console fun, and now, thanks to the modern day
miracle that is my iPad, I can practically carry around an entire
vintage arcade anywhere I go.
The best arcade pack that I've downloaded so far is the Atari Greatest Hits app. It includes accurate retro versions of Pong, Red Baron, Space Duel, Super Breakout, Tempest, Warlords, Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe, Battlezone, Black Widow, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Gravitar, Atari Force Liberator, Lunar Lander, Major Havoc, Millipede, and Missile Command.
these games again is like stepping back into my local arcade in 1981. I
can almost smell the cigarette smoke and lane oil (my arcade was in a
bowling alley). Heck, the sounds alone are like an auditory time machine.
Just hearing the bleeps and bloops of games gone by has me picturing
quarter-plunking kids in Star Wars baseball caps and knee-high striped
socks running from cabinet to cabinet.
Some of the games in this pack are a mystery to me, but here are the ones that really took me back...
Oh how I loved Tempest. When I was a kid, this was the game for me.
next to Galaga, this game probably got more of my quarters than any
other game. This was probably due to the fact that you could almost
never get on the lone Pac-Man or Donkey Kong machines, which were
usually being ruled over by a frightening horde of smelly teenagers. So I
was often left with no choice but to seek solace in a less popular
game. This was how I discovered Tempest. Playing it 30 years later, I'm
happy to report that it still holds up. Due to the nature of the iPad,
however, I have to admit that I miss my spinning wheel.
was another favorite of mine. Playing it again these days kind of shows
its age. It's not nearly as fast-paced and exciting as I remember it.
But this was probably the very first arcade game I ever played, so it's
nice to revisit.
was always 3rd on my list of all-time favorites. Again, like Tempest, I
miss the rolling ball controller, but such is the price one pays for
having an entire arcade on an iPad. I've actually been playing the heck
out of some Centipede on my Atari Flashback 2 (sitting on the
shag carpet of my downstairs den, as the Gods intended), but now that
I've got the arcade version on my iPad, I'm worried that my Flashback
may collect dust. Well, no... I can still play Adventure on it.
the Atari app and sinking back into the warming miasma of video arcade
rapture inspired me to go looking for some other arcade versions of my
favorite classic games.
I just downloaded the lite versions of both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man.
Talk about a time warp! Those sounds must be ingrained into my soul. I
had a blast playing these games again, but I'm not quite sure I want to
shell out $4.99 each for the full versions of the game, when I just got
Atari's Greatest Hits (with all of those complete games in it) for free.
but maybe I'll break down eventually.
I've yet to find a decent classic Galaga download. There is a Namco
Arcade pack, that says it's free, but then you have to pay 99¢
per game, which wouldn't be so bad if the UI wasn't so horrible. There
is also a 30th Anniversary Galaga pack, but it doesn't include a classic
what's up with there being no Donkey Kong iPad apps at all?! I can't
have the ultimate arcade in my backpack without Donkey Kong! Or Dig Dug!
well, I guess I'll have to make due with what I have so far. Besides,
if anyone had told 9-year-old me that one day, all of these games I kept
feeding quarters into, would all be on a magical little touch-screen
device smaller than my Trapper Keeper, I would have told you you were
nuts. And then I would have told the bowling alley manager that some
creep from the future was bugging me.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I gotta get back to my games.