A Bad Middle Age Take on Video Games [NOT 23/4/22]

I enjoyed video games as a kid as part of the first generation who grew up with them. In the early arcade era, I loved Defender (even though I sucked large at it and pumped a lot of quarters into Defender machines), Centipede and Space Invaders. Simple repetitive game play with blocky graphics and 4 bit sound. A little more advanced than Pong, really.

4 Bits!

Then I got the Atari VCS aka Atari 2600 for my birthday (and I had to share with my sisters.) It had even worse graphics and sound, but I didn’t have to put quarters in by the dozen to play. Poorly done Pacman and Defender were my favorites, but we were fortunate my parents didn’t get us ET The Worst Video Game Ever.

8 Bits!

My favorite machine (mostly out of nostalgia) is the Commodore 64. Ironically my siblings and I got it for “educational” purposes, but it ended up to be a gamer’s machine. I wasted many an hour playing Elite, the first generation Freeform Space Exploration/Trading/Pirate/Bounty Hunter game. One major drawback was not being able to save in the middle of a furious dogfight which led to myself landing in deep shit from time to time with mom and dad for being late to dinner. Favorite games of that era include Jumpman, Summer Games, Fort Apocalypse, Raid on Bungeling Bay, Autoduel, the various Ultima games, Racing Destruction Set and Hardball. Adult middle aged me doesn’t get how I had time to play all those damn games but he wishes he still could.

A friend got a Nintendo so we played endless rounds of Punch Out and Tecmo Football. No one was allowed to play the Giants or Raiders because of Lawrence Taylor and Bo Jackson.

16 Bits

It was a golden age for strategy games and flight sims. The names Lucasfilm, 360, Microprose and SSI might be faded memories now, but they were the shit for me. I flew too many missions (instead of you know, studying) of the various X-Wing games, F-15E Strike Eagle, Falcon 3.0 and F-19 Stealth. Got stuck hunting subs and dealing with Backfire bombers in Harpoon. Fought aliens and UFOs in XCOM. Conquered the world in Civilization. Played Doom, but for some reason (I get easily sea sick) I used to get massive headaches if I played too long which prevented from getting addicted to it so I didn’t get caught up in the first person shooter games that now dominate the games market.

32/64/etc Bits

The first person shooter has pretty much become the defacto computer game. Outside of stuff like Farmville, Candy Crush and Angry Birds that is. Thanks to Steam I played XCOM and MechWarrior games for older people who get sea sick playing First Person shooters, but not very often.

Why the Drop off?

1) Who the hell has time? I don’t have the spare time like I did when I was young. Geez, I sound like my dad. A decade ago, my dad remarked at how Koreans became among the most addicted gamers in the world and lamented at how stupid they were. I laughed and told him that I was the OG Korean Gamer. He rolled his eyes and snorted.

Thanks dad.

2) They don’t make games I like as I prefer strategy and tactical games. That’s not the games gamers like these days.

3) Seriously, who the hell has time?

What games do you like to play? Or like WOPR, the best play is not to play at all?



  1. I like all kinds of games! From PC to mobile to console. I rarely play PC games anymore because I don’t have a good enough computer. Mobile games have proven to be quite addictive as I always have my phone on me and they are cleverly designed to not require much time per go but for you to constantly check in on them (I’m looking at you Summoners War, shout out to HammerTime Guild!!!). I love console games but rarely play them anymore because they require large chunks of time. I’m old and in no way an expert gamer even tho I’ve gamed my whole life. So if I start a game, I have to keep playing it every night until it is done or else I lose the plot and worse I forget the controller mechanics. My favourite game series are Zelda, Pokemon, and Borderlands. I always make time for them. Whenever they release new games my husband is like “See you in a couple of weeks.” Unless it’s Borderlands because that we play together.

  2. oh..the backlog of games i have to catch up on at the moment….gonna take me years

    just dont have the time for games anymore….doesnt stop me buying them tho…

    anyways…anyone remember syndicate on the amiga?

    i was hooked on that one for ages

    walker was good fun too



  3. Same time frame. Atari, Intellivision, Sega, and PC. Still have two working Sega CDXs. Civilization was my first PC game. Loved Command and Conquer, Half-life, all the Fallouts, Diablo 1 &2. Diablo 3 was horrible. Oblivion was good Skyrim not so much. All time favorite is Lord of The Realms 2. Miss the Counter-Strike LAN parties.

  4. I play video games on PC, and especially like racing games like Forza Horizon, The Crew, etc.  And yes, I also have a lot of fun in open world FPS like Far Cry and third person games like The Witcher.

    I didn’t have computer games growing up, so I’m making up for lost time.

  5. Well…where do I begin.

    My friend (also in my housing “project”) had an Atari. We were allowed to play it once or twice a year (because, of course, we had to be outside if we weren’t eating). Every time we played it we felt like we were rich.

    We got a Nintendo for Christmas one year (after a whole lot of begging because we knew our mom couldn’t afford it). We used to play Ice Hockey and write down our statistics (one skinny, one fat, and two mediums and the two mediums counted as the same player).

    Fast forward to my teens…I converted an old Nintendo shelf into a multi-gaming unit. I had Sega, Sega Genesis, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, & Turbo Graphix 16. I mostly only played Sega Genesis’ EA NHL.  I found a way, in NHL 94, to score every six seconds. Once one scored more than 99 goals/game the number in the graphic turned into various blue images. I submitted the final image from one game I played to the monthly gaming magazine and an article was posted about me breaking the record for most goals scored in one game.

    Fast forward to 2008, after I grew up and hadn’t played video games in years, I moved to central MA as a management consultant and had a lot of fun because not only was I stabbing myself in the face – in my mind – teaching CEOs and CFOs and chiefs of staff how to not be fucking complete idiots I was also teaching a lot of “kids” in their early 20’s (I was a few years from 30 at the time) who convinced me to get an XBOX 360 to play Call of Duty 4 with them (I ended up with every golden gun and ran around shooting from the hip with a golden mimi uzi). That was fun. I also got myself NHL 2008 (I had been playing every NHL game throughout the years off and on) and ended up (and I fully intend to brag as I have mentioned this before but please allow me to Al Bundy four touchdowns in one game here?) being the best in the world in online vs. mode. Followed that up by being the best in the world at OTP in 2009 and 2010 with a team of almost as good as me people as teammates. Now, I mostly just go on to f around and am nowhere near the best…but my excuse is that it’s because I don’t have the time.

    I like to play Red Dead Redemption 2 and pretend I’m in the good ol’ days before electricity was everywhere (I also pretend that those good ol’ days didn’t include the racism – which unfortunately still exists – and that women could vote). I find it relaxing. Fuck off, everyone…I am sitting by my fire eating fish.

    The Commodore 64 was a life-changer for me. I had a friend with a modem and my eldest brother’s friend had a modem. We were fascinated by the fact that we could “text” each other through this weird contraption. We’d have Bubble Bobble competitions and I’d shit-talk my brother’s friends. I’d challenge myself…not in Bubble Bobble, but how to find more clever ways to humiliate my brother’s friends who were 4 years my senior. I was 10.

    I’ve been an internet troll ever since. I’ve been an internet troll since BEFORE the internet.


    • Oh and I also hacked GTA V when it came out to give myself a few billion dollars so while everyone else was driving around in the fake lamborghinis at the beginning I had a full garage of all the expensive cars (all chrome, of course) in the best apartment. I didn’t convert my account to XBOX One in time…so now when people ask me to play GTA V i decline…because I don’t want to start off as poor. It’d remind me of my youth.

  6. I have a Steam account on my laptop but rarely use it anymore. But when I did I liked point and click games like Thimbleweed Park and Wolf Among Us. But I have a lot of different kinds of games on there too, most that my daughter bought me. I prefer my Nintendo Switch – loved Animal Crossing, who didn’t during lockdown, and all the Pokémon games. I’ve been playing lots of Stardew Valley lately, and I bought Dusco Elysium recently bought haven’t started it yet.

  7. I never had a game system or a computer as a kid. I got a PS1 for my 18th birthday from Husband, and Spyro the Dragon to go with it. Oh, and Tetris shortly afterwards. I kicked ass at Tetris. If I recall correctly, he got himself Command and Conquer and Final Fantasy Tactics, too. Later, there was a PS2 and I discovered Katamari Damacy, which is amazing. I have it on Steam now, and play occasionally.

    I still love Spyro (and 2 and 3). Still can’t get through the flight levels, though!

    These days, I have a couple of games on my Kindle (Word Hero, Covet Fashion, and Design Home), a couple on my phone (Blossom Blast, AlphaBetty [sadly, no longer being updated], a mahjong one, a solitare one, and Peggle), and my friend and I share a Big Fish account that I mostly use for the hidden object mystery games.  Oh, and Other-Husband got me Pharoah/Cleopatra and Zeus/Poseidon (old city building games) on Steam and I play those once in awhile.

    I’m just not a “gamer”… I mean, I enjoy the occasional video game, but mostly I like the ones like on my phone where I can pick it up, play a level or 2,and then put it down and do something else. I can’t get into sitting and playing for hours and hours, especially these days because my wrists and fingers freeze up and hurt!

  8. Grew up too poor to have any gaming systems when I was a kid.

    My cousins had various systems, though–the oldest had an Atari back in the day, and when the Nintendo systems hit the us, there were 2 sets of cousins with NES versions–wikipedia tells me that was around ’88 & ’89, going by the games the cousins played–and that i tried to play!🤣

    I’ve allllllways sucked at most video games… I realized after I got my ADHD  diagnosis and after I started working in the Autism Day Treatment program, that many of the issues I had with the games that had controllers probably stem from motor control & proprioception issues. I mostly stopped even trying to play NES games, after the Christms where our whole family got together, and a bunch of us kids ended up playing Mario Cart (Super Mario Cart?)… I didn’t have good hand-eye coordination with the controller at all, and was basically “driving” it like we’ve been able to once systems like the Wii came out–leaning left & right, moving the controller left, right, up, & down–like I somehow thought that would make my player go in the direction I wanted it to move…. annnnnd my whole extended family thought watching me play like that was about the funniest thing they’d ever seen–because obviously my on-screen character was simply driving off the edges of elevated tracks, or into the walls of tracks that were on “land.”

    So I stuck with the only types of games I could be good at–Tetris-style ones, which required no “movement” skills, just spatial/pattern recognition…

    Growing up in MN, even though I was poor & rural, meant I was one of the multitude who benefited from MECC. My school had some alumni who did well after they left our tiny town (population 250-ish), and those folks–along with funds from The Minnesota Miracle meant that, even though our school district was poor & rural (90+% of us were on Free & Reduced Lunch programs).

    From the mid-1980’s, our school had a computer lab with a dozen Apple IIe’s, the 4th, 5th, 6th, and Special Education classrooms also had an Apple IIe each–and the one in the 6th grade room even had a color monitor!!!😉🤣

    So we all played a lot of Number Munchers, Word Munchies, and of course, Oregon Trail.  The 5th grade classroom also had Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, and Crypt of Medea…

    Because we had the computer lab, and computers in the classrooms starting at 4th or 5th grade (my class was in 5th, when the school got all the MECC computers), my classmates & I were all taught how to use them, from childhood, and we became semi-digital-natives, even though we were solidly part of Gen-X. We were lucky. The grownups around us saw the importance of teaching us how to use Tech, and because of that our town brought in Rural Broadband in the mid/late 90’s–unlike “a couple towns over,” where there is still not solid & dependable broadband internet today, because the folks over there thought it was going to be “a fad that doesn’t last!”🙃🙄😖😱


    Mom & Dad ended up getting a computer at home when I was in 8th or 9th grade, and that was when I was finally able to try playing any sort of game on a semi-regular basis.

    The ones I ended up playing were the solitaire game that came on the computer, minesweeper, and a knock-off version of Dr. Mario.

    As an adult, I never really got into games until I had a phone that had apps. I started out with Solitaire, then got Tetris. Tetris is one of two games I’ve ever “beaten”/”finished.” The other–as Smacks mentioned playing & liking–was Katamari Damacy–recommended to me by then (and again current!) girl-roommate. It was her game & system, and she thought I’d enjoy it–she was 100% right!😉

    The ones I play now (Since Dr. Mario World stopped service last November🙃) are Pokémon Go (i will totally go walking for miles to catch stupid imaginary bugs, if the weather is even halfway passable while I’m walking Lily!😆🤣), occasionally Hay Day, and since November–looking to fill the spot from losing Dr. Mario world–Merge Dragons.

    My main requirement, when I’m chosing app-based games for my phone, (aside from PoGo & Hay Day, which I’ve played for years now!) is that they don’t require many permissions, access to my phone’s contacts, or access to many of the various storage sections on it…

    I’ve had roommates who were involved in Tech, and they were the ones who taught/told me to lock that shit down (and keep current on all my app/system updates!), so I’ve taken their advice ever since.

    I have enough of a tendency to kill computers, watches, and various other electrical things in strange ways, that I don’t want to chance killing my phone or having it completely hacked/ bricked, just because I didn’t keep it updated properly!😉


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