retro geekdom

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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5 Responses

  1. sidereal says:

    The personal trinity was Bard’s Tale, Oregon Trail, and Crescent Hawks RevengeReport

  2. I cut my teeth on a Texas Instruments PC. Games that were mostly knock-offs of other systems but the colors were fantastic and it had a voice box so you could actually get speech which was pretty revolutionary in 1981. I miss that old thing sometimes.Report

  3. Kyle Cupp says:

    I’ve enjoyed going back and replaying some of the NES and SNES games I grew up playing (assuming I grew up) and some I missed out on. Never played Wonder Boy or Golden Axe, alas. My favorite game remains Vagrant Story on the Playstation: great puzzles and game-play, an unconventional, haunting story, and a spellbinding script.

    Thanks for posting!Report

  4. Consumatopia says:

    A friend of mine told me that he liked the original Metroid because it felt like you were some place you weren’t supposed to be. His observation is kind of extensible to retro games in general–today’s games take you some weird places, but all of those places are products of human imagination–they’re focus grouped, story boarded, prototyped, programmed by intern-slaves, textured and debugged until they look and feel like summer blockbuster movies. Yesterday’s games were pixelated bleepy bloopy blinky hallucinations run by simple yet alien logics. And even better, when the cartridges got dirty, sometimes they’d get even freakier–graphics and sound would get corrupted in abstract ways, or the whole game would be replaced with dancing, scrolling fields of unintelligble digital shapes. Damn, those would give me awesome nightmares. You know what happens if you get your Wii disc dirty? Probably something boring like “disc error detected”.

    Poor kids.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Zork taught me how to touch-type. You get home from school, you go down into the basement, you’ve got some underground to explore… and, when the sun goes down, you’ve got a choice between learning to type and getting up and turning on a light. I chose to learn to type.

    That said, wasteland was the game that I still remember fondly. WWIII was that itch you couldn’t scratch for most of the 70’s and 80’s (in first grade, I experienced the joys of a nuclear bomb drill… they were discontinued the following year). Wasteland did a great job of running with that sense of discomfort and making it into an RPG.Report