Would You Like To Play A Game?

The whole reason quarters were minted in the 1980's.

The whole reason quarters were minted in the 1980’s.

prompt logo 2It’s been a rollercoaster of a prior 48 hours for me with a series of dramatic events that began almost the instant I officially added another year to my age on Wednesday… and I had considered the thought of skipping this week’s Prompt the Squirrel Friday post to take one more unnecessary task off of my to-do list before I go back to work tonight.  The three remaining prompts that have been stowed away in my inbox longer than that moldy jar of pickles in my icebox fridge all require a fair bit of work to turn into something that meets the (cough, hack) lofty expectations of this blog.  But fortunately, Jenn (Jenn’s Midlife Crisis) bailed me out with a late arriving prompt that is something I can chew on and spit out with relative ease… so the show will go on!

Woohoo! Time to send in the clowns!

Woohoo! Time to send in the clowns!

Jenn’s actually submitted four different ideas in one contact form, which can either be considered environmentally friendly or cheating.  Since I’m pressed for time today, I’m going to assume I was allowed to pick which one I wanted to pontificate about, and so I took the third…

3) What are the Nest’s fav. video games – classic or current? (there’s one I’m so hoping will go Halo like me, but I’m not telling…)

Sorry, but The Nest is a halo free zone.

Sorry, but The Nest is a halo free zone.

For someone who seemed to spend half of the 80’s with some kind of joystick constantly in their paws (DON’T even go there), gaming is something that has long since passed me by.  The most advanced gaming system I have ever owned was the 16-bit Super Nintendo, which I bought as it was being phased out in 1998.  Not that I don’t have some familiarity with more modern games, but this is going to be a list of classics all at least two decades old.  Those of you who only think of gaming as playing violent war games with anonymous avatars that live halfway across the world in Bumfuckistan will be sorely disappointed…

Blip wouldn't want it any other way...

Blip wouldn’t want it any other way…


Released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986, Metroid was innovative not just because it popularized the notion of a free-moving explorer game, but because it kicked male chauvinistic pigs right square in their tiny ballsack by having the hero of the game reveal themselves to be a woman upon completing the mission.  And to show their further support of the woman’s lib movement, the designers naturally had her pose for the dramatic reveal in a sexy, 8-bit space bikini…

Who cares if the atmosphere is full of noxious gases? There's skin to be flaunted!

Who cares if the atmosphere is full of noxious, flesh-dissolving gases? There’s skin to be flaunted!

Kid Icarus:

This was the less popular sister game of Metroid, created at the same time and with much of the same Japanese design staff (including legendary MIDI music composer Hip Tanaka).  But while Metroid was poised to be a trailblazer in the early gaming industry, Kid Icarus was just designed to be as fucked up as possible.  Nowhere else in the pixelated world of Nintendo could you be magically be turned into an eggplant, have God Himself call you a giant fucking pussy weakling, use credit cards in 700 BC, or fight off hordes of living Groucho Marx masks?

Don't shoot until you see the greens of their noses!

Don’t shoot until you see the greens of their noses!

The Goonies II:

I already wrote a post on this extremely bizarre video game version of the cult 80’s classic movie, so if you want a good laugh or need to shake your head at the strange world of Japan, go ahead and check it out here

It promises to be a real ballbusting experience.

It promises to be a real ballbusting experience.

Final Fantasy:

No, not one of the endless string of sequels that are probably still being made for the PS69 for all I know, but the original.  The game that started it all for the NES in 1990.  I wound up with it after one of my aunts parted with all of her Nintendo stuff and played the shit out of it trying to beat the game.  If you love convoluted fetch quests and seemingly endless repetitive battling of random monsters just to level up, then this is the game for you!  I love the symmetry and the elemental aspects of the storyline, even if the time travel part is so confusing, it makes even Back To The Future make logical sense…

Final Fantasy also released the Kraken long before it was cool to do so...

Final Fantasy also released the Kraken long before it was cool to do so…

Squish Em Sam:

Now I’m predating even the Nintendo, as this almost unknown game was made for the Colecovision in the early 80’s.  The titular protagonist Sam is trying to climb a building without being touched by any of the strangely shaped, extremely poisonous bugs that are creeping about it.  Oh, and some dipshit is throwing stuff at him from up on the roof as well.  The only way to fully demonstrate the fucked up factor of this game is to watch someone attempt to play it themselves…

Out Run:

This game was a staple of American arcades in the late 80’s, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… this was the greatest racing game ever fucking developed!  Only in the Fast and the Furious world of Japan would you see an autocross race taking place on the same streets everyday traffic is just trying to commute on.  Look out SUV-piloting soccer moms, Sunday drivers and possums everywhere!  The branching, unique stages in this game make it for me…

Shit, even the folks out on the water aren't safe from this unsanctioned motorsports event.

Shit, even the folks out on the water aren’t safe from this unsanctioned motorsports event.


Do pinball games count?  Or at least pinball-style games?  If so, this baseball simulator ate up a lot of my quarters in the early 90’s.  The pinball was “pitched” to you, and you hit it into one of 7 targets in the backdrop that rotated between possible outcomes (or over the wall if the ramp was raised).  For eight quarters, you could get a full 9 inning game… and I’m proud to say my record was 93 runs scored in a single game.  As a bonus, if the accessory was installed on the particular unit, it dispensed baseball cards for achieving certain run thresholds and hitting homers (especially grand slams).  This machine helped stockpile my hoarder-level collection of now totally worthless baseball cards I had back in the day…

You can't beat fun at the old, simulated ballpark.

You can’t beat fun at the old, simulated ballpark.

The coolest thing about this game for stat geeks like me is that it had a nine-man lineup of fictional players (Also a second roster for two player games), and it KEPT THE ACTUAL STATS of these players over time for as long as the machine stayed powered up.  After all this time, I still remember all 18 Slugfest players… check these great names out:

First Team:

1 – Ivan Goldaroun (Play off of outfielder Ivan Calderon)
2 – Jacque Hitch
3 – Willie Bonillie (Play off Milli Vanilli and likely Bobby Bonilla)
4 – Hose A. Casino (Jose Canseco)
5 – Stale Murphy (Dale Murphy)
6 – Error Jordan (Michael “Air” Jordan, and several years BEFORE he retired to become a baseball player!)
7 – Billy Bumpkin (Probably Cal Ripken, though the nod seem to be to his lesser known brother)
8 – George Brat (George Brett)
9 – Fernando Argentina (Fernando Valenzuela)

Second Team:

1 – Pat Ternity (Steve Garvey, who was involved in several well-publicized paternity suits at the time)
2 – Mike Spit (Mike Schmidt)
3 – Charlie Parlay (Pete Rose, aka Charlie Hustle, who was banned for gambling)
4 – Bull Bobinski
5 – I Dunno
6 – Ryne Sandtrap (Ryne Sandberg)
7 – Sty Slob (Ty Cobb… sorry, no Klan outfit was included)
8 – G. Howie Eets
9. Vaseline Ali (Gaylord Perry and his infamous doctored balls.. also a callout to the Indy Motor Speedway’s Gasoline Alley)

You are thrilled to have this information... I can tell.

You are thrilled to have this information… I can tell.

If you made it through that without nodding off and want to see a demonstration of how the game was played, watch it here.

And I’m going to end this  tribute to my favorite video games of days gone by before you all throw the GAME OVER screen up on me.  Thanks to Jenn for playing along with PTS2, and I’ll leave you with everyone’s favorite scene from the “educational” computer game that the children of my generation couldn’t get enough of…

The Oregon Trail was a bloodbath, I tell ya!

The Oregon Trail was a bloodbath, I tell ya!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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27 Responses to Would You Like To Play A Game?

  1. garym6059 says:

    You had me reliving my childhood here, I had many an epic Metroid marathon!

    • I still remember a completely random 24 character password from 1988 that I entered so many times trying to get past the Ridley stage that it literally became burned into my brain. I remember we had gotten Metroid along with the original Zelda, but I played the former a whole lot more off the bat…

  2. ody & biskit….de food serviss gurlz a big fan oh final fantasy; zelda…golden sun….her TRIED ta play mario bros……hizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..had ta take de game inta her place oh employ; & give it two a co werker …..sew she in tern could have her FIVE YEER OLD get de game past level 6 we think……. ahhhhhhhhhhhh de good ole dayz !!!!!

    heerz two a yellowtail catfish kinda week oh end ~~~~ ♥♥♥♥

    • The Mario games were great, but not as good as they were popular. I loved a lot of the second-tier titles though… and I’m proud to say there weren’t many games that came my way that I couldn’t beat… and older games were so much harder than these more modern ones because short attention span kids will give up on a difficult game in a blink rather than play it for hours and hours like we did.

  3. Gosh I really missed out on a lot not being a gamer “back then”…..my one experience early on was when the ANCIENT computer which used to monitor the telephone system in one of the hospitals I worked in was brought out of the basement, dusted off, and put on my desk (remember how big those things were???? I had about three inches of desk space left to work on). They actually expected me to learn how to use the computer to do correspondence on, etc. Anyway, the telephone guy who used to watch the phone switch in the basement had installed a game on the computer for his “bored” moments when there was nothing to repair. I believe it was called “ZORK”……..it was frustrating to play – there were no graphics – just text……I just googled it and apparently it’s still around.


    • Never heard of Zork, but it’s probably a bit like the games that I played in school back in the days when computers were first being made available for kids. Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego… there was a neat game called Lazer (sic) Maze that I absolutely loved! All were either text or very ancient graphics…

  4. Happy Be-lated Birthday!!! If you’re old enough to drink (;-) ), be sure to toast one up from me. Hope you had a nice one. But dude, are you telling me you didn’t enjoy Tempest, or Centipede, Frogger, or Galaga to be a blast to play? smh…you youngsters these days, I’m telling you… (lol)

    • I’ve played Centipede (though HATED that roller ball type of controller) and Frogger in both the arcade and on the Coleco. They’re both OK, but not quite as great as the status they still have in the gaming world. Never played Galaga or any of the other space type games…

  5. Ever since I was the Queen of Space Invaders, I have never really connected with another arcade-type game. I was also the ultimate conqueror on Caesar II to the point where the game sent me a message telling me there was nothing left to conquer. It literally said, “Hang up your crown, O Caesar! You are 473 years old and have conquered everything.” And then, it turned itself off. Is that fair?

    • So that’s how it works…. you own the whole world and then everything just shuts off. That’s a pretty big accomplishment to keep Caesar alive that long, though… guess Brutus and Cassius missed the target on his back…

  6. gentlestitches says:

    I hope your roller coaster events were good ones, or at least had good outcomes. That was a treat of older games AND I am glad you included PINBALL! Yay! 😀

    • I loved playing pinball games… especially once I finally learned how to not hit both flippers at the same time! Given how uncoordinated I can be, that was quite a feat! I may elaborate on the roller coaster in one of next week’s posts…

  7. a1mamacat says:

    Lordy, lb, are those ‘MOM’ jeans you’re wearing in the childhood photo? LOL. I remember the first computer game. You typed commands like north, south, dig, fire, and had to work through a mountain I think. Don’t remember the name, but it was great.

  8. draliman says:

    I’ve hardly heard of any of those – I had a ZX Spectrum back in the 80s so I was all Jet Pac and Manic Miner. Sometimes I miss those old simple games which didn’t have multiple menus and key combinations you have to remember in the heat of battle…

  9. I only played super mario and super mario kart … I was not smart enough for more LOL

    • I remember some pretty dumb kids who were pretty good at video games back in the day. The hand-eye coordination and figuring out the bizarro video game logic are the main keys to being good at Nintendo…

  10. Merbear74 says:

    Pac-Man, Popeye, Castlevania, Super Mario Bro….they are bringing out an old school NES in November loaded with 30 classic games. I plan on buying it.

  11. Trisha says:

    I am always late to catch on to everything so I didn’t play video games much until my kids were old enough to play them in the PS2 days. I’ve never even heard of these games! I’m sure I would have sucked at them though. I’ve never been good at any video game.

    I hope everything turned out okay after your 48 hour roller coaster ride.

  12. Ally Bean says:

    I don’t remember any of these games. I never was much for video games, preferring the quiet pursuit of reading every book I could get my hands on. Of course, once Tetris came along I was hooked on my Game Boy… which was about the same size as a book, now that I think about it.

    • Funny how many people I know who really only know of video games from the Game Boy (Which I never had). I guess it should have been taken as foreshadowing of the world that was to come of cell phones and iPads. I guess people have always loved their portable devices….

      • Ally Bean says:

        I think you’re right. My Game Boy [a hot pink girlie one, of course] was fun, but sitting in front of a TV screen to play a game seemed sad to me. Couldn’t tell you why I thought that, but I did.

  13. PacMan and Tetris were games I remember as a kid.

    At primary school, they had the BBC MIcro Computers, and there was a game called Granny’s Garden on them, and another called Podd. The thing I remember was the teachers not getting the hang of having to hold the shift key and then press and release the break key before letting go of the shift key to get these things to work.

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