Archive for the ‘childhood’ Category

I May Have Played This Already? – Xargon

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

It’s a concept that’s nearly unheard of now, but there was a brief period in my life where I was the only person I knew with a computer.

I bring this up not to boast or imply any sort of superiority about my upbringing, merely to illustrate a story. My dad is a CAD drafter, and as such has always needed to own really powerful computers in order to handle the 3D modeling software he uses for his job. This resulted, one spring evening, in my parents taking my sister and I to the newly-opened local Best Buy where, amidst the giant Mario and Sonic statues they had on display near a wall of tube TVs straight out of a Kriss Kross video, my family bought our very first PC. It was then that the world of PC gaming was open to me, and for someone who at that point had only seen what the NES, Genesis, and SNES had to offer it was revolutionary.

My time spent with LucasArts adventure games and DOOM could fill a series of blog posts, so for the sake of brevity I’ll get to the point. Early PC gaming brought with it the concept of shareware, an idea popularized by id’s Commander Keen games wherein you give part of your game away for free and make people buy the rest. Sort of like DLC, except you’re actually being given a sizable chunk of a game instead of being forced to pay to unlock fighting game characters or some shit.

A lot of games would cross my desk as a young lad thanks to shareware – the burgeoning PC gaming community meant my dad worked with a lot of dudes just as nerdy as he and I who would gladly make copies of shareware games and pass them around so everyone got to try them. This sort of behavior was encouraged by publishers (hence the name ‘shareware’) and seems almost quaint and naive in retrospect, considering how abhorrent the idea of sharing a game must be to most publishers these days.

Most of my fondest PC gaming memories of those days that weren’t related to LucasArts, id, or whoever made the Magic School Bus PC titles, were shareware versions of games like Hocus Pocus, Duke Nukem II, or One Must Fall: 2097. I treasure these memories and love these games dearly, even if I’m…hesitant to replay any of them. Playing them under shareware, which generally just meant I had the first “episode” of the game, equal to roughly the first 10 or so levels usually, made them so much more…mysterious. Like there’s two whole other chapters to these games that I might never actually see, and it really built them up in my mind to be epic adventures the likes of which I’d never see.

One of them, however, eluded me for years. Amidst the deluge of generally good shareware games my dad would bring home, one of them never quite made the same impression on me – to the point where I couldn’t recall it’s damn name. I knew it had a map screen, I knew you played as some beefy European model, and I knew it was kinda hard and pretty to look at. A friendly NintendoAge user helped me track this mystery game down after some 20-odd years of me not really having given it any thought or effort…and it turned out my white whale’s name was Xargon.

Xargon, sure. Why wouldn’t it be called a made-up word starting with ‘x’?

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Sometimes I Miss Video Games, You Guys

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

So I’m going to be upfront with you right now – I don’t really know where this post is going to go. As is often the case with me, I’ve had a lot of thoughts and opinions swirling around that I can’t quite express or explain concisely. Maybe the point of this post is to give me the chance to do just that! So, please bear with me, as this one might get away from me at times. Screw it, that’s why people have blogs, right?

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little iffy about modern video games, and occasionally I get a little iffy about old games too (which may surprise you considering how often I write about them on this blog, and elsewhere). It’s just occurred to me more and more that the video games industry isn’t what it used to be (ugh, I know, I’m an old person now) and I’ve felt lately that either it’s losing me, I’m losing video games, or both. And strangely enough, I have The Misadventures of Tron Bonne to thank for this revelation.

tron bonne

Sadly, this wasn’t the first time Miss Tron made me…think a lot about myself. Look, whatever, I was young!

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WEEZER_OPINIONS.TXT

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Alright, so I wanna start this by apologizing for not posting a Halloween-themed post. I wanted to, I really did; Halloween is my favorite season, and as far as I’m concerned the year is basically over with afterwards. But I couldn’t think of anything that wasn’t super derivative, painfully generalized, or both, so I figured it better to just not bother.

And thank god, because that frees up time and space to subject you all to my opinions on Weezer’s new album!

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Feel the Urge to Surge

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
I’ve occasionally wondered how some food items can bring people of a given age or generation together better than…most other things, really. Especially to people around my/our/your age, the mention of a specific defunct fast food item tends to conjure up really specific memories of the sort that maybe you don’t experience by seeing the box art to a long forgotten game, or re-watching a beloved movie. Go ahead – ask someone about the Arch Deluxe or a personal pan pizza and see how it goes.
For people in my age group who had access to it, though, there’s probably one specific consumable that reigns supreme as far as triggering that latent “OH SHIT IT’S YOUR FUCKING CHILDHOOD BRO” impulse that exclusively powers Buzzfeed articles: Coca-Cola’s XTREME Mountain Dew competitor, Surge.

Oddly enough? It’s back!

Taken from the passenger seat of my best friend's car, likely while listening to Ween.

Taken from the passenger seat of my best friend’s car, likely while listening to Ween.

 

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A Good Time to Buy a Robot: Transformers Masterpiece Figures

Monday, March 24th, 2014

I’ve always liked Transformers as a thing, even if I haven’t always collected them. My need for plastic robots that are also other things has kind of waxed and waned through the years. Sometimes I need to own every damn toy from a particular line, other times I’ll just kind of hang back and grab the occasional one if they look cool – and if they turn into animals I’ll probably sit the whole thing out. But lately I’ve found myself with more grown-up finances and a strong need to spend my money on fucking something, and I’m running out of Genesis and Saturn games I need. So I decided to check in on whatever Transformers I may have missed from the last few years, especially the pricier adult-focused (non-sexually) Masterpiece line.

And in the interest of remaining a giant manbaby, I am so goddamn glad I did.

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Nice Working With You, Spengler

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

I won’t act like I don’t get down about celebrity deaths now and again. As a kid I cried when I watched a documentary about Freddie Mercury passing away, I got pretty sad about Steve Irwin for some reason, and I thought Heath Ledger’s passing was a big damn shame. But even still, in all those cases they still struck me as far-away people whom I never would have met anyway and whose passing wouldn’t affect me on a personal level too much. I would feel like that about really any celebrity death since, even Leslie Nielson’s.

That was before one of the Ghostbusters died.

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