Three weeks in a row we’ve managed this! We now can officially call this a “streak.”
Another Sunday means another episode of the G and T Show, with hosts Nick Minecci and Terry Lynn Shull (along with Mike Medeiros, who’s really the jam in their jelly roll), giving us the latest scoop from the various corners of the Star Trek universe. Their usual focus lies with the books and other tie-in products as well as the newest happenings from the realm of Star Trek Online, but they do pause every so often to discuss other topics such as conventions, fan film productions, and what have you.
Then there’s those few moments where everything comes to a screeching halt as Nick reads aloud the answer to the latest “Ask Dayton” query.
What did we have this week? Behold, yo:
Did you grow up playing home game systems from Atari 2600 forward? If so, what systems did you have and what were your favorite games? What games did you drop quarter after quarter in at the arcade? Please share your gaming memories with us, your devoted fans.
Thank you, Dayton
I’m sure there’s at least one person out there who’s hearing or reading this and thinking, “Great. Dayton’s just going to use this as yet another opportunity to shamelessly throw that picture of his Star Trek arcade game in all our faces, in a bid to make us seethe with jealousy.”
Well, you’re right. I am. Here comes the boom, y’all:
We’ve discussed my gaming habits before, but that was way, way back in February 2013. I know, it was like an eternity and a half ago, right? Now, a lesser question-taker might simply point you to that earlier response and send you on your way, but we try to go that extra mile for the G&T Show audience. Besides, this question is different enough from the original that it leaves us some wiggle room, so let’s see what happens.
As you surmised in your question, the Atari 2600 was my introduction to home video game systems, though it wasn’t even called that back in the day. Much like “Episode IV” was simply “Star Wars” at the time of its initial release, the 2600 was known by the rather unsexy moniker “Atari Video Computer System” or “VCS” for short. In retrospect, that abbreviation makes it sound a lot like a disease you might catch after banging an Okinawan hooker in some Whisper Alley whorehouse without proper armored protection and inoculation.
(And no, I don’t speak from experience on the latter topic. You’d know if I was lying about that, because my dick would’ve dropped off back in the 1980s, and my wife would’ve married that guy she met in college who probably ended up as a used car salesman in Fort Lauderdale.)
Back in those days, most of the Atari games I enjoyed were versions of games I was playing at the arcades: Tron, Asteroids, Defender, Battlezone, and so on. They were fun to play with friends when you were stuck in the house on a rainy day, but the real action, of course, was at the arcades. It wasn’t until I got that state of the art home computer system, the Commodore 64, that I started to get “serious” about home gaming. When I wasn’t trying to crack NORAD’s network and engage the WOPR in a friendly game of Global Thermonuclear War, I was playing the C64 version of the Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator, among other things. Get this: The graphics in this version actually were better than the original arcade game.
So, that brings us to those meccas of 80s teen frivolity: the arcade.
By Flynn’s avatar, I’ve never even attempted to tally up the sheer number of quarters I deposited into however many games were to be found in who knows how many arcades scattered across Tampa in the early 1980s. I’m pretty sure the total dollar amount would have to rival if not surpass the gross national product of most third-world countries…combined. Tron, Star Trek, Gyruss, Spy Hunter, Tempest, Star Wars…the list goes on. FOREVER.
When I was stationed overseas in the late 80s, one of the things we would do is head into town on Okinawa and find these massive, multi-floor arcades where everything was devoted to a single game manufacturer: Sega, Konami, Namco, and so on, each one showcasing their latest and greatest in arcade awesomeness. We were playing games there that wouldn’t even make it to the States for a year or more. Holy shit, but did I drop some serious yen in those places.
My favorites from that golden age are still Tron (and its sequel, Discs of Tron), Star Trek, and Gyruss. Yes, I have the Trek game in my home office, and acquiring decent models of at least one of the others is still on my Bucket List.
You know, for those of you looking to knock out a bit of early birthday or Christmas shopping, or something.
This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #143 on May 18th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.
Thanks again to Nick, Terry and Mike for letting me crash their party.