Yesterday was the last day of E3 2015. I got a chance to attend and check out some of the really cool upcoming games — Street Fighter V! Disney Infinity 3.0! Mario Maker! — and even got to take selfies with some of my favorite industry personalities. But 10 years ago, I was taking a whole different kind of photo.
2005: E3 has been bubbling up in the early 2000’s and at the show, it’s getting harder and harder to find the games as you drown in a sea of promotional toys and “booth babes.” I’m slowly shuffling forward in a neverending line of nerds, but instead of inching toward a playable demo, I’m — oh, wait, it’s my turn.
I walk up a couple of faux stone steps, and there are three “booth babes” standing at the top. All day, they’ve been posing with men up there. I say “hey, so I’m doing something a little different,” and the second one of them starts to nod, I drop to the ground and slump down the steps. My friend says “it’s okay, this is his thing,” and snaps the picture. The women laugh as we walk away. The next 400 men squeeze between the women and wrap their arms around them, proudly posing for their photo as if they’ve done something other than stand in line for it.
Back when it was a totally dope diss to say “don’t have a cow, man”, kids had a vocabulary full of pop culture. There was something magical about old video games’ vocal snippets. Because games had limited memory, and because we were dealing with cartridges and CDs instead of giant hard drive installs, sound bytes were short, succinct and hilarious.
My friends and I would dole out disses and exclamations based on video game sound bites. I wonder how many of these were common among your group of friends too! The best thing is that I’ve found that some old school video game phrases are totally still usable now that I’m a father…
Game: NBA Jam (1993)
System: Arcade, Genesis, Game Gear, SEGA CD, SNES, Game Boy
Usage: After jamming home some trash next to your unaware child.
Of course. NBA Jam was a game full of sound bites and quotables. And while “he’s on fire” was commonly thrown around by my friends, the more forceful exclamation was a gentle “BOOMSHAKALAKA” yelled into the ear of a friend who merely had the bad luck of standing next to a trash can while you had something to throw out. You’d throw down the trash so authoritatively that let’s face it, you should have looked into a career as a garbage man. Well, now you’re a parent, so part of your job is being a garbage man, so the next time you need to throw something out, do it with style and scream “BOOMSHAKALAKA!” Your kid will repeat it in no time.
If there’s a God, Andy Baio is doing his or her work.
Andy, a 37 year old dude from Portland, Oregon, has his priorities right. While the rest of us are content to plop our kids down in front of whatever the most recent video game is, Baio wanted to know what would happen if he ran his son through the history of video games from past to present.
I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to leap through the computer and hug the crap out of Andy when I first read this story.
This week marked 20 years since the release of the Sony PlayStation. Gaming’s come a long way, but I have too – I’m now married and I have a five year old son. I’ve lived during the lifespans of four Sony PlayStation consoles and a handheld. But somehow, this isn’t the only gaming birthday that shows my age.
When I heard that the PlayStation turned 20, I thought about what I was doing back then. I was sitting in my friend’s living room, playing the “PlayStation Picks” demo disc – featuring games like Jumping Flash, ESPN Xtreme Games and Wipeout. I was playing a CD-based system for only the second time – the first, of course, was the SEGA CD, which next October will be 23 years old.
If you sit and think about all of the video game birthdays that pass by every year, it’ll break your brain.
The best part about the holiday season is that everyone you know has some sort of time off of work or school. When you were younger, time off always meant video game marathons with friends.
I’m a grown-up, human, father-type and it still means the same thing for me. And now that I’ve got a son who is as equally jazzed about playing games as I am, time off of school and work means that we are going to turn off all the lights, sit on the floor in our boxers, and play games until our eyes bleed.
Or until dinner. I mean, whatever’s cool.
Since I’m all grown-up and semi-responsible, I’m more interested these days in finding deals on video games. Sometimes, I won’t buy a video game right away because I’m deterred by the price. And especially now, with developers piecemealing games through DLC schemes a couple dollars at a time, discounts help the burn your wallet feels when you shell out cash on games.
I can’t think of old style video game arcades without getting a little misty. Those loud, dark rooms, packed with upright arcade machines, all singing to themselves, ready to explode when someone dropped a quarter into them…it was magic.
A magic that, frankly, kids these days don’t get.