Sunday, December 19, 2004

Classic (electronic) Games and "When I was your age..."

One of the fun things about being a father is getting to play with your kids' toys. Okay, playing with "Thomas the Tank Engine"™ isn't so great, but when they get into radio controlled cars, rockets, more advanced Lego™ and so forth, then it's fun!

My kids are just getting to that age (almost 8 and 5).

The kids are also getting to the age where they realize that things were different in the past, so I get questions like, "did you have electricity when you were a kid?" :-)

My father could honestly say that he didn't have indoor plumbing when he was a kid growing up in rural Colorado (though they did have electricity). But what can I say about the hardships of my childhood compared to that of my children? The answer lies in old video and computer games.

A company called Namco has released several classic (and some not so classic) video games in a console-less form factor — they plug directly into the audio/video jacks of your TV. They have one that includes Pong and Asteroids, two of my all-time favorites! I hope Santa brings me one this year.

On the computer game front, Wumpus and Adventure are still available (you can Google them yourself).
You are in room 1 of the cave, and have 5 arrows left.

*rustle* *rustle* (must be bats nearby)
*whoosh* (I feel a draft from some pits).
*sniff* (I can smell the evil Wumpus nearby!)
There are tunnels to rooms 7, 8, and 14.
Move or shoot? (m-s)

I showed them to my kids this morning and the older one was intrigued (the 5-year old can't read, so that's a bit of a challenge). I think it's really cool that these old games can still be fun even without the blood and gore of the typical FPS (First Person Shooter) type game.

Merry Christmas!

(Postscript: yes, we had Christmas when I was a kid.)

1 comment:

Gene said...

safely tucked away, I have one of the first Pong games - or is it a cheap clone? it reminds me of the "bounce" simulation I used to watch on the Sun 1 in the lobby of the Irvine office, when I worked there (1989-91). Yes, it was one of the rare Sun 1 workstations, nearly as fast as the cpu in my refigerator's light bulb.

not having offspring* I am spared having to conjure up stories of my youth. perhaps i would awe them with tales of my first computer experience, using a TTY with a 300 baud modem connected to a Honeywell mainframe at the University of Louisville. programs were stored on a spool of paper tape, which was punched 9 holes across (much like a Florida Butterfly ballot).

if you made a mistake, the reader/writer would punch a line of ALL HOLES which explains why a NULL is an ASCII 0! Hollerith cards came later. Why, I usedtahafta walk 10 miles in the snow (uphill each way) to write a single line of code!

* that I know about