Polygon is a Vox Media property that focuses on video games and they had a room setup with retro and modern games during their SXSW event. I passed through a few times, mainly just to take photographs, though I did play the classic Atari game, Asteroids, twice. I always loved that 1979 vector graphics game, though I was never really good at it. Mysteriously, not playing it for thirty or forty years didn’t magically improve my score.
My favorite video game was Galaxian also from 1979, which is an older, less famous version of Galaga which came out in 1981. While Galaga is popular enough to make it into currently selling retro game packages, Galaxian is rarely seen. Too bad. I think there is a simpler purity to the original.
My high school years were the peak of my video game playing both for arcade and home versions. These addictive quarter powered games sprang up everywhere, usually in mom and pop stores in New York. Makeshift arcades popped up in hastily converted hallways, always dark and probably seemed a bit sketchy to parents. Not to a high schooler, of course. My friends and I lived for video games, until most of us moved into personal computers.
It’s interesting to see the “youngsters” playing machines that are nearly double their age. Pac-Mac, featured in these photos, is probably the most famous of all. While Galaga and Asteroids are known only by video game aficionados, I’m sure everyone has heard of Pac-Man. A simple game by design, but hard to master. It’s a non-violent game from another era. Yeah, I wasn’t very good at it either.
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