Back in 1986 I attended a summer computer camp at my elementary school. I had just turned 6 and my mom, who was a teacher there, suggested it to me. On the first day all of the kids were given a designated seat in front of a computer. Once I was seated I looked on at the ugly, beige, brick of a machine in front of me. It had a multicolored logo on it. A rainbow colored apple. We spent the next hour learning how to turn it on, off, and how to put a disk in the five and a quarter inch floppy drives. After that we spent the rest of the day playing with programs that taught us how to type and run programs.
The first day sucked.
The second day, however, was awesome. We were allowed to play anything we wanted. We quickly opened the clamshell containers full of floppies and started reading off the labels. If it sounded cool, â€śrunâ€ť it. I quickly picked up a copy of Moon Patrol and typed the RUN command. Now the simple act of sliding a floppy â€śdiskâ€ť into the drive and telling the computer to run what ever was on said disk was fascinating to me. It was damn near magic.
Magic is just what happened when I saw the title screen for Moon Patrol.
I started the game and quickly hit every key on the keyboard until I figured out what the controls were. After that I was a driving and a hopâ€™n and a shootâ€™n all over the Technicolor moon. This gave me a new joy, a new sense of wonder and, I needed more. I quickly pulled the disk out of the drive, set it aside, and ran back to the containers. I looked around to see what the other kids were playing. One screen had two figures in what looked like a hand to hand fight. I asked what it was. After learning the title of the game I fished out a copy for my self.
Karateka was my introduction to one on one mortal combat. This was even more amazing than Moon Patrol. I watched as Princess Mariko was imprisoned by Akuma. I looked at my character as he climbed over the side of a cliff and onto that long, long, loooong path. My first few fights didnâ€™t go so well. I was promptly handed my ass over and over again. Once I learned to be patient and attack my enemies, with left right combos followed by a quick retreat, did I start to kill any enemies. I fought them over and over again, slowly making my way to Akuma and his damned bird. Jesusâ€¦ I hated that bird. After vanquishing my enemies I entered the Princesses room. I was still in my fighting stance when I walked up to her expecting to a warm greetingâ€¦ instead I was welcomed with a fatal kick to the face. That was my first WTF moment in video gaming. I then learned that you had to run to her and into her open arms.
Many of you have seen this, I'm sure:
Later I chased a bitch named Carmen around the world. All my attempts ended in vain. I was never able to get her, but I did capture a lot of her henchmen. I swear if I ever see a girl dressed all in red with a damned red hat Iâ€™m going to punch her in the face.
I took control of a transforming robot in Thexder: Hyper Dual Armor. That robot was sweet because it was armed with heat seeking lasers! FRICKâ€™N HEAT SEEKING LAZERS PEOPLE! The creators of this game had clearly been fans of Robotech.
I spent the rest of my week playing these games and others. My thirst for games grew and grew. Since my mom was a teacher at the elementary school I had hours every day after class to spend with the Apple II. I would play on it every day. Everyday that is, until I was given something that I learned to love even more, the N.E.S. Even though the Apple II saw less and less of me, I still thought about it from time to time.
Shortly before all of the Apple IIs were replaced at my school I sat down one afternoon and played. I played until my mom and I had to leave so they could lock up at night. That was pretty much the last time I played on one. It was a good afternoonâ€¦ read