PC & Console Game Week: 1 of 6

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Greetings Programs! Welcome to According To Whim’s PC & Console Gaming week! This week Chris and I will be posting 3 blogs each about different gaming systems, games, and PC stuff as well. This week was Chris’ idea that came about because I opened my big mouth about having more than one blog worth of stuff I had to say on the topics of games and consoles. Let’s get started!

Remember when video game systems were measured in ‘bits’? The Nintendo 8-bit system was the first system were people really started focusing on it. Before that there was the Atari (4-bit) and other systems like it but back then no one really talked about or cared about the amount of bits they had. When the Nintendo came out (in 1983 in Japan) everything changed and the console wars began again (as they had in the last 70’s).

Let’s jump back a bit to the days of Atari before we shoot forward to the Nintendo (which figured so prominently in my childhood). My brother got an Atari back in the very early eighties. We would play Combat together and I would get my ass whooped. I was six years younger than him so he had the advantage. When all was said and done Combat was one of my least favorite Atari games. I think Combat actually came with the system and we soon got Pacman. What an amazing game (to me back then) and Donkey Kong. I got better and better at them and soon needed more games to fulfil my needs. Pitfall was a favorite (for just about everyone) and I even enjoyed the shitty E.T. game (apparently the biggest commercial failure of the time). All in all I probably enjoyed a game called Midnight Magic the most. My friend had it and I used to spend a couple of weeks at his house each summer and we played and played that game. At around the same time a movie called Midnight Madness was out and we used to sing the theme with the Midnight Magic name plugged in there (hey I was young). There were other Atari systems to come out but we only had the 2600.

Let’s jump forward a few years… I remember playing Super Mario Brothers (the full sized arcade version) at the Putt-Putt in Fort Worth… well I say play, I mostly remember waiting behind others to play more than actually playing myself. The graphics were new and fresh and unlike anything before it. When I first got a whiff of what the soon to be Nintendo Home Entertainment System was going to look like I couldn’t believe Super Mario looked SO SIMILAR to an actual arcade game! I couldn’t afford it up front so I began to save my money for it. I had a piece of paper with each bit of money I had accumulated towards my goal (with appropriate Mario drawings). When the day came to get the system it was just like Christmas. On the first day I played and played and had gotten to world 8. That night I was reading the manual and discovered to my unhappiness that there was only 8 worlds! I was so disappointed but that didn’t stop me from playing the shit out of that game. Soon after I was able to snag Metroid and Kid Icarus. Between the three games I had total I couldn’t even begin to estimate how much time I put into them.

A couple of years later Sega put out the Genesis but I wasn’t interested. To me it was just something trying to horn in my Nintendo time. As a side note my Granddad’s wife’s sister’s grand kids had gotten an actual Famicom (Japan’s Nintendo) and I got to play it one summer. It was so awesome (the cartridges where like half the size of the US ones).

I was a Sega hater but it was competitors like Sega that pushed us into the next level of ‘bit’ gaming… 16-bit. The Sega Genesis beat the Super Nintendo by a year but I was still not paying attention. Other system had started to come out too like the Atari Jaguar (which boasted real video and ’64 bits of gaming’) but I was still only interested in Nintendo.

I can’t remember how or when I got my Super Nintendo but I can remember that I worked at Kmart at the time and we couldn’t keep them in stock. I got ahold of one one night before closing and opened it up and hooked it to one of the display TVs and played it for a while. Super Mario World was (and is still) one of my all time favorite games. The level of depth  and enjoyment of game play has made it a long lasting favorite. I also enjoyed Pilot Wings (the very ‘light’ flight simulator). The 3D like effect was amazing for the time. As much as all the later systems rocked I would have to say I enjoyed the Super Nintendo’s games best. It could just be that warm and fuzzy feeling from that time in my life but I really had a great time with that system.

Ok, thats all for today’s installment. Check tomorrow for Chris part then another part from me on Wednesday (and so on and so forth). I will cover more Nintento and then onto Playstation and computer stuff.

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