Category Archives: Defined My Childhood

I’ve decided to go down memory lane & reflect on the things that defined my childhood.

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined My Childhood: Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Okay, so it is no secret that this game was, & still is, amazing. The graphics (for the time!), colors, & soundtrack are perfection. The gameplay was fun; stressful, but fun. I was on Pinterest recently & saw this meme depicting Mario on the very edge after landing a jump:

That is something anyone who has ever played this game experienced, & that pin just reinforced it.

This game’s soundtrack still transports me to when I was younger & playing, regardless of the context. My palms still get balmy & my heart accelerates whenever the music that meant you were running out of time/health plays, even when I am not even playing the game! I had that ringtone on my iPhone for exactly one week before I just couldn’t stand it. I would freak out whenever I’d receive a call. I kept the music from Level 1 as one of my designated ringtones (assigned to my mom) on my iPhone, which is a happy audio trigger.

This musical trigger also affected me years later while playing Super Mario Galaxy! The music is not the only thing that transports me. Whenever I would play Super Mario Galaxy, I’d obsessively collect extra lives, only to be irate when I reloaded my saved game to be back down to 3 lives! Obviously, this harks back to the pre-save conditions of the original Super Mario Bros.

This is a game I remember my mom playing, as well. Watching someone play this game is almost as fun as playing it yourself.  Jumping along with the character was a normal sight.

I would often go back to this game & replay it, years after I first played it through. On my previous JB iPhone, I had this ROM & found myself playing this & Legend of Zelda all the time.  There is a huge retrogaming community & it is very active.  This is a testament to how influential these games were to those generations.

What are your Super Mario Bros. memories?

Check out other posts in this series!

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined My Childhood: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

I was born in the early ‘80s, so the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a HUGE deal. It permeated American culture. There were toll numbers to call for gaming tips, which of course died off after emergence of the internet. There was the famous NES specific troubleshooting technique if your cartridge wouldn’t load: blow on the cartridge opening, insert into NES & push down, then slightly slide cartridge to the left & then right, finally turn on NES. Nintendo Entertainment System NEW controller drawingOf course, there were other tricks of the trade, such as control combinations during the loading screen. I have many memories of playing for hours on end, mostly because we didn’t have the luxury of save points. But some of my fondest memories came from swarming around a small TV with friends as we played in multiplayer co-op or against each other, or even working together as a team by taking turns to beat a single player game.

This console, much more than the ATARI, really became a thing I had in common with other kids, creating a sense of instant community. It was right up there with the latest cartoon episodes as far as go-to conversation starters. Be it in the spirit of sharing the latest cheat code or boasting that you had defeated a certain level boss, you were all of the sudden in a very intense conversation with someone who a second ago was probably a perfect stranger.nintendo heart

I LOVED my NES. I played it for hours for years, even after I got other console systems! I was lucky enough to have had a couple accessories: the NES Zapper (light gun) & the Power Pad. I discovered I am a sharp-shooter with the Zapper, as I am sure many of my generation also learned. However, the Power Pad was the precursor to the foot pad controller of games such as Dance Dance Revolution & then onto Kinect for the Xbox 360 & the Wii’s Balance Board. I’ll go into more detail regarding the game that my brother & I played obsessively using this Power Pad in a later post. The fact is that my brother, who does not like video games, loved playing with this controller is a testament to how it reached new players. It helped bring kids who would not normally want to play, into the fold. This controller didn’t convert my brother, but he still lights up whenever I remind him of the game we used to play with it. (Spoilers.)

My NES allowed me to enter new worlds & become immersed in each’s story & history. It etched sights & sounds into my being. It helped me live epic tales of heroism, while honing my eye-hand coordination & learning to cope with my dyslexia through thousands of hours of practice.  I am indebted to my mom for buying me this machine, especially since we were on a tight budget.

Radar image of Hurricane Andrew 24 August 1992

via wikimedia.org

There is another way this console system defined my childhood. I grew up in Miami, FL & so I lived through the unimaginable destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. My family & I had to evacuate our house & I could only take the essentials. I had to make the hard choice of leaving my NES behind. I can personally vouch for how amazingly well that machine was built: not only did it survive the eye of the Category 4 hurricane (which would have been the equivalent of a Category 5 today), but after I found my NES stuffed with pink insulation in the rubble under the fallen staircase of what used to be my house, my NES worked! It started right up & continued working for many years!  It may seem silly to most, but having lost everything so jarringly, this small bit of normalcy helped me cope with the unimaginable shock of the destruction and mayhem left in the wake of Andrew.

Did you have an NES growing up?  What is your fondest NES moment?

Check out other posts in this series!

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined my Childhood: Pac-Man (ATARI 2600)

Continuing my exploration into the home console video games that Defined My Childhood, starting in chronological order with my ATARI 800 & 2600, I dedicate this post to Pac-Man on the ATARI 2600.

Pac-Man (ATARI 2600)

Who born post-1980 hasn’t been fascinated with Pac-Man at one point or another?  Hell, who born post-1970?  Granted the Pac-Man port to the ATARI 2600 was pretty much not a good idea on a plethora of levels given that ATARI completely overestimated demand by a 7 million & the 2600 didn’t have enough memory to support the game, causing the distinctive flicker of the ghosts (seen in the video above).  But as a child, I didn’t know the difference nor did it make much to me. I remember falling in love with Pac-Man & playing innumerable times.  How I managed to do that without it going into an epileptic seizure from the flickering (see video inserted above), I have no idea.

Pac-Man definitely faired better on other platforms & continues to find success in version after version, no matter the platform.  The arcade version remains one of the most memorable & still relevant games of all time.  Two years ago, I came across Pac-Man Battle Royale in a Hong Kong arcade.    Pac-Man Battle Royale four player arcade game

This past week, Google even placed a playable version of Pac-Man superimposed on actual roads in Google Maps.  Pac-Man is burned into our society’s core, especially Western society.


Do you have any memorable Pac-Man experiences?

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined my Childhood: Space Invaders (ATARI 2600)

Space Invaders retro video gameContinuing my exploration into the home console video games that Defined My Childhood, starting in chronological order with my ATARI 800 & 2600, I dedicate this post to Space Invaders on the ATARI 2600.

Space Invaders (ATARI 2600)

In preparation for this series, I asked my mom what games she remembered me playing often as a child, & one of the first games she mentioned was Space Invaders.  I remember Space Invaders fondly, but she emphatically stated I played it almost every single day for hours at a time as a very young child.  The game came out for the ATARI 2600 in 1980, but I’m not sure if we got it right away.  My mom says she remembers me playing this game at a very early age.

I’m sure that many of you have seen this game in an arcade at some point, but my first exposure was in my home on the ATARI 2600.  This is probably where my fondness for Galaga and shooters originated.  But funnily enough, I don’t think I played Galaga on our ATARIs at home nor did I play Space Invaders at the arcade.  I’m just weird like that, I guess.  This game laid the groundwork for my taste in, & definitely for my love for, video games.  Looking back at this game, it was also probably extremely helpful in mastering my left/right dyslexia, honing my eye-hand coordination, as well as timing in general.  Hours of fun, over countless days of my childhood.


Do you have any ATARI memories?  Or any Space Invaders memories?  Which home console video games helped define your childhood?

Blog series: Defined my childhood video games

How I became a video game sniper

If you have been reading my blog to any extent, you know I have loved & played video games since possibly the womb.  Video game play has gotten a bad rap, but I definitely attribute my stellar hand-eye coordination to my countless hours playing, & in particular shooting.  Three years or so ago, I had an epiphany while playing MAG on my PS3: I am a video game sniper.  So, how did I get here?

In the beginning  …

On my ATARI, I remember shooting up a storm on Space Invaders, but it all really began with my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  When we got the NES, we also got the Zapper light gun controller & Duck Hunt.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Duck Hunt

via Wikimedia.org

Firstly, who didn’t technically cheat by holding the gun right up to the screen & still somehow miss?!  Secondly, who didn’t hate that condescending dog after playing for more than 20 minutes?

Screen shot of NES's Duck Hunt.

via wikimedia.org

So, that is my first memory of using guns.  My dad taught me how to shoot an air pellet gun in real life, but I never really went beyond that for me … except in video games that is!  I remember playing Contra & loving it.  There was also the Mega Man series: the android with a heart of gold & a gun for an arm!  And of course, Metroid!  For the NES, that is all I can remember as far as shooters.

Next gen shooting

On my Sega Genesis, there wasn’t any shooting going on, unless you count Earthworm Jim.  We then got the Nintendo 64 & while it wasn’t a gun that I was shooting, I was shooting the hell out of my bow & slingshot in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Then, Goldeneye was released.

Screenshot of gameplay from N64's Goldeneye.

via wikia.com

Goldeneye multiplayer was everything at the time.  First, ground rules for multiplayer: no one can pick Oddjob nor the Golden Gun. Second, don’t look at my screen!  I spent countless hours playing multiplayer matches of Goldeneye with my friends.  Definitely a COD precursor.  Playing this game, I first heard of the complaint of “camping”.

Shooting up a storm in the arcade

I won’t delve too deeply into this medium, because I already discussed it in previous posts, but Time Crisis II & Silent Scope were big favorites of mine whenever I saw either machine in an arcade.  Certain portions of Sega’s masterful Star Wars Trilogy, also had blaster action that was performed using the joystick.

Games come on discs?! (Next next gen)

The first time I played Metal Gear Solid, it was on the PS1. Two words: Sniper Wolf.  Enough said.

Sniper Wolf (Julie Monroe) from Metal Gear Solid 2 on the Playstation

via photobucket.com

While Halo: Combat Evolved has a lot of shooting on the Xbox, I don’t really remember getting much sniping done while playing it.  On to the PS2, I returned to the Metal Gear Solid series with MGS 3: Snake Eater.  Talk about sneaking & waiting for the perfect shot.

Next next next gen

I never did buy a Xbox 360, so I can’t comment on the rest of the Halo series.  I did, however,  have a PS3 & Wii.  I played a lot of first person shooters (FPS) on the PS3 including the three Uncharted games, & Valkyria Chronicles (which is a beautiful combo turn-based shooter that you should check out if haven’t already), but the three games that really solidified my sniper leanings were: Starhawk, Fallout 3, & MAG.

Starhawk (PS3)
images gathered via google.com

images gathered via google.com

This game had everything I enjoy: the ability to snipe, teamwork, strategizing, building/deconstructing, & capture the flag!  Sniping from within a bunker was always fun & frustrating (the good kind).  I hope that a version of this fun online game makes its way to the PS4.  I am sure this is the reason I enjoy Destiny on my PS4 so much.

Fallout 3 (PS3)
via google images

via google images

This game had a really disappointing regular sniper rifle that, at first, truly frustrated me.  But, then, I came across the Drifter & everything changed.  Basically, my primarily thought while playing Fallout 3 was, “I hope you aren’t important for the storyline, because I really want your gun.”  A post-Apocolyptic world will do that to your thinking.  The Drifter did not need to live & so I acquired the Reservist’s Rifle, which by far is the most durable sniper rifle in the game.  Durable is as important as impact/damage in this game, since you are constantly scavenging to find parts in order to repair, mod, etc.

MAG (PS3)
MAG (PS3) Sniper and Marksman

Compilation via images google.com

This game was insanely fun.  It was so large in its scope, with 256 simultaneous online players in Domination, & a wide array of customization and skill set building that it stayed fresh over countless replays. I had different sniper load outs, depending on what role I was going to play in my platoon & what game mode I was playing.  I also enjoyed the ability to change your load out before you respawned in order to adapt to changing conditions of attack/defend.  While sniping didn’t lead to astronomical kills, it did lead to amazing kill-to-death ratios! I cannot say enough about this game.

Current gen

As of right now, I only own a PS4.  The games I currently play the most are Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (COD:AW) & Destiny.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4)

I remember playing through COD: Ghost Recon on my PS3, but not really enjoying the online multiplayer aspect of it, especially not in comparison to MAG & Starhawk.  I’m still getting the hang of it, trying out different sensitivity settings, & figuring out which weapons work best for my style, etc.  I”ve been looking at Youtube videos to help orient me on how to successfully snipe in COD:AW & found this sniper class video from Anonymous Player:Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sniper class

I’ve recent joined up with a clan, The Purgers, & I can definitely state that playing COD:AW with friends is what makes the experience for me.  We participated in the latest Clan Wars & won 1st place! If you are interested in joining our clan, send us a tweet!Purgers-collage

Destiny (PS4)

Destiny is online only & reminds me of what I enjoyed from Starhawk.  From the moment I began playing, I have met countless fellow guardians that have been helpful & welcoming.  I have been lucky enough to create an unofficial crew/clan with a few fellow Guardians with whom I play whenever any of us is online.  They are very welcoming and helpful.  Team chat is the great on Destiny because you don’t have to hear anyone else while playing the game, unless you are on the same fire team or Crucible team & elect to turn on the audio.

As with COD:AW, I have recently joined an official clan on Destiny for the PS4, Dames of Destiny.  I look forward to meeting fellow gamers in this clan!Destiny-collage

The first exotic weapon that I purchased from Xur was Ice Breaker, the sniper rifle.  Thanks t the handy-dandy Destiny app on my iPhone ,I can swap this little baby between both of my Guardians with ease.   It holds 6 bullets that regenerate, has great range, plus one of the perks is highlighted in my tweet shown below: victims spontaneously combust, dealing damage to others nearby.  How can I not love this weapon?  I’ve used to with great success in the Vault of Glass & Crota.

 

via Twitter @GeekSideShowing


So, do you play first-person shooters?  What kind of video game gun &/or style do you prefer?

Top Ten 1-Player Arcade Video Games

I used to LOVE going to the arcade. There was something about the whole ambiance that just enhanced a certain gaming experience for me.  I’m planning on discussing home consoles in further depth within this series, but for now I will say this: once Sega decided that the home console market was no longer a focus (I loved my Sega Genesis!), it went all out in creating fabulous arcade games.  Some of these are mentioned in this post.

I’ve already covered my Top Multiplayer arcade games in a previous post, and so this time around I wanted tackle my favorite 1-Player arcade games.

10. Silent Scope (Konami)

Silent Scope arcade video game

via www.arcade-musuem.com

This gem of a machine by Konami game came out after I had become hooked on the Time Crisis series, & it was great to play through the actual scope.  My inner snipper couldn’t have been happier in the arcade.  Playing through the scope, also, created a sort of focus cocoon while at an arcade.  You were more focused on the game than in normal instances.  The story was not the draw for me, as much as the experience this arcade came created.

9. Paperboy (Atari Games)

Screenshot from the arcade video game Paperboy by Atari

via arcade-museum.com

Who knew that vicariously having a paper route would be so fun?  Well, apparently, some marketing genius at Atari Games did!  I even played this on my NES when it came out.  It seems so weird to me now, but there was great satisfaction in throwing a paper perfectly into the mailbox of someone who had a subscription.

8. Donkey Kong (Nintendo)

Donkey Kong arcade video game  screenshot

via arcade-museum.com

The inspiration for Mario of Super Mario Bros., & clearly riffing off of King Kong’s kidnapping tendencies.  Ladders, barrels, a very upset giant ape.

7. Q*Bert (Gottlieb)

This game had it all: funky looking main character, trippy color combos, & jumping diagonally.

6. Frogger (Sega/Gremlin)

Screenshot of Frogger arcade video game instructions.

via arcade-museum.com

Crossing the street has never been so fun, frustrating, & deadly!  Why the frog in Frogger couldn’t swim & why those diving turtles were so treacherous are still unknown.

5. Pac-Man (Midway)

Screenshot of Pac-Man's start screen.

via arcade-museum.com

One of the first arcade video games that made a big impression on me.  This was all about memorizing the paths of the ghosts & outsmarting the pattern.  Also, I love that the characters had nicknames!

4. Dragon’s Lair (Cinematronics)

Screenshot of gameplay from Dragon's Lair arcade video game

via arcade-museum.com

Laserdisc technology meant amazing graphics! You get to direct the choices of Dirk the Daring (which is a great name BTW) in this great arcade RPG.  You basically need to make the “right” choice or poor Dirk instantly died.

3. Star Wars Trilogy (Sega)

This arcade game cost me a bunch of money in 1998, as I gladly took part in some of the most memorable battles of the Star Wars trilogy.  Battling Darth Vader with a light saber: check! Fly a X-Wing on the assault on the Death Star: check! Trip up a AT-AT on Hoth: check! Parry blaster shots from Boba Fett with your lightsaber?! Check!

2. Galaga (Namco)

Screenshot of gameplay from the arcade video game, Galaga

via arcade-museum.com

I love this game! If I see this arcade machine anywhere, I play it.  I cannot even adequately describe why I like it so much, but I had a moment of epiphany recently while playing the opening sequence of the campaign mode of Call of Duty: Advance Warfare.  There is a swarm of flying drones that are attacking your unit in Korea & you need to jump into a tank to take them out.  Once in the tank, you take control of the turret & the swarm of drones becomes a modern version of Galaga!  I keep replaying that sequence just for the sheer fun of reliving Galaga. Granted you end up needing to use an EMP to take the swarm out completely, it is just all kinds of nostalgic fun.

1. Ms. Pac-Man (Midway)

Screenshot of one of the 4 mazes in Ms. Pac-Man arcade video game.

via arcade-museum.com

One of the most famous Ms. ever.  Talk about fun!  Obviously a spin-off of Pac-Man, this game was fun in its own right because it had different mazes that alternated, instead of the same maze.


 

So what games are on your Top 10?  Share in the comments, send me a tweet @GeekSideShowing, or like my blog’s FB page.

Defined my childhood: console video games

#tbt: Defined My Childhood: ATARI 800 & 2600

Atari console

Atari = old school gaming

The consoles that started it all for me.  My maternal grandfather always loved technology & so, when the ATARI 800 came out in 1979, he bought the console for my mom.  I’m not sure if this is something she asked for or not, but I reaped the benefits!  I was a precocious child, so I was very interested in technology & how things worked.  I especially enjoyed puzzles & patterns, something that has stayed true to this day.  I played Pong a lot, though my mom says I wasn’t very good.  But hey, as a 2-3 year-old, I think I was pretty awesome!

In 1985, my mom bought the ATARI 2600 for Christmas, since she saw I enjoyed playing the ATARI 800 so much. The elegant simplicity & simultaneous complexity of the games this console brought into my life were wonderful.  I loved the joystick controller; some games should only be played with a joystick, in my opinion.  There is no doubt in my mind that my affinity for arcade machine controllers with joysticks stems from my ATARI 2600 playing. [See my post on my top single-player and top multiplayer arcade games for more.]Atari joystick

Both ATARI consoles were an important introduction to video games & they began my diverse interest in gaming genres. It also helped hone my developing eye-hand coordination, which would serve me well later on as a soccer goalie, volleyball player, & 1st base in softball.  I don’t remember playing ATARI games that were multiplayer with anyone other than with my mom, so it definitely wasn’t something that I remember bonding me with other fellow emerging gamers.

In upcoming posts of this series, I will be discussing the games that really defined my childhood on these consoles (in no particular order): Centipede, Joust, Pac-Man, Pong, & Space Invaders.

Do you have any ATARI memories?  What ATARI game made the biggest impact on you as a child?

Photo credit: striatic / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: 
mrbill / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Defined My Childhood: Console Video Games

#tbt: Console games that defined my childhood

So, apparently I have yet to master the art of scheduling a post to auto-publish at a predetermined time & date!  What was supposed to be Thursday’s post is now Friday’s!
Cie la vie!

I have been thinking a lot about video games lately, & I decided I would go back down memory lane to consider which games I love, potentially which games I disliked/hated, & ultimately, what gaming has meant to me.  My childhood was filled with enriching video game experiences.  I already started by looking at my favorite multiplayer arcade video games in a previous post, but this post will start a series consisting of the consoles games that defined my childhood.

Generations of kids have shared experiences, and therefore connection, because of video games: shared frustrations with a boss, the NES cartridge troubleshoot, or taking the “secret” shortcut.  It united us, albeit in some ways superficially. But, this bit of shared escapism was no different than the shared reading experiences of generations before.  It created communities through the simple connection of that shared experience.  A lot of criticism is levied towards the video game community for creating isolated or anti-social individuals that do not go “outside & play” with other kids.  But, I have found that gamers will find each other in a crowd & can become instant friends.  It is not rare to instantly decide you like/dislike someone based on what was/is that person’s favorite game.

“Do you like Zelda? … I do, too!  Well, I already know I am going to like you & we are going to be fast friends!”

For me, video games have greatly honed my eye-hand coordination & helped me learn to cope with my dyslexia in a fun way.  They taught me to plan, but be flexible & make necessary adjustments on the fly.

So, I invite you to also think about your most memorable childhood console video games.  Have you too bonded with a stranger over your mutual love or dislike of a video game?  What did gaming mean to you then & how has that affected you today?

 

Multiplayer at the Arcade

Some of my fondest video game memories as a child & teenager happened in an arcade.  Don’t get me wrong, being able to play on your console at home was AMAZING, but it couldn’t compare to the sweet victory over an opponent in public, in front of (ideally) a bunch of spectators.  Yes, 1-Player games had the boasting upside of attaining a high score, but 2+ Player games had the thrill of the instantaneous gratification of glory over an opponent or joining forces & taking on a baddie.  I will most definitely go into the 1 Player games I adore/hate in the near future, but today’s post is about the 2-Player & up-to-6-Player, arcade games that I remember most fondly.

I was usually the immediate under-dog, because I was generally one of a handful of girls who weren’t just there in a baby-sitting capacity & because most boys are overconfident.  My version of babysitting while at the arcade, much to my little brother’s vocal chagrin, was having him stand right next to me while I played for hours.  As you can guess, he was not a fan.

As I grew up, I continued to venture towards the arcade area in restaurants, movie theaters, malls, & even rest stops.  Funny story, I was once accidentally left behind by my church’s Youth Group at a rest stop while we were driving to Disney World for an organized bonding trip because I was playing one of the Street Fighter II series in the mini arcade section.  Thankfully, I was playing solo & then against other persons, so by the time I realized what had happened, they were already on their way back.  But, they left me for over 20 minutes before realizing I had been left behind, all this in a time before cell phones (the horror!).  My rest stop “buddy” completely failed at her one job, but then again I also didn’t notice she was nowhere near me either, so we both failed at our assigned task.  With my left over 50¢ I called my mom from a pay phone to let her know what had happened. Needless to say, I stopped going on trips with that group after that ordeal.  I even searched out an arcade while visiting Paris for the first time & had the great pleasure of annihilating a truly horrible French guy in record time playing Tekken 3.  I didn’t need advanced French to understand his boys were dogging on him after his pre-match trash talk didn’t hold any water.

So without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 multiplayer arcade video games:

10. Rampage
1-3 Players


Audio is a bit distorted, so adjust your volume accordingly.

The great anti-hero game.  Instead of trying to save people or the town, here your task was to destroy it as completely as possible, & if you could kill some people in the process, even more points for you!  Ripping off King Kong & Godzilla just enough so as to not get saddled with a copyright infringement lawsuit, this game had you choose between George (aka: King Kong knock-off), Lizzie (aka: Godzilla knock-off), & Ralph ( a giant werewolf just to spice things up).  Button mashing plus destruction are always a fun combination.  The way the story justifies this complete disregard for human life is by having the characters be the victims of experiments at the hands of the evil-doers of Scumlabs.  Though, with a name like that, at least a few suspicions should have been raised prior!  This game was, as is the case with all of the great arcade video games on this list, ported to home consoles.  I personally think that the joy of button mashing is best experienced on an arcade machine, console controllers (even the ones modeled after the arcade game) are just not as satisfying.

9. Mortal Kombat II
1-2 Players

The Mortal Kombat series is definitely not my favorite fighting game (Spoilers!), but it had an undeniable grip on arcade all goers since it was released.  The sheer gore on the screen was enough to draw a crowd.  The audio was also very attention grabbing & appropriately loud (for an arcade), Scorpion yelling, “Get over here!”  And the announcer, Shao Kahn,was always very even-keeled but validating, “Flawless victory” & “Excellent.” Plus it had the buzz of having secret characters & other goodies such as character & level specific fatalities.  Some of the fatalities were just hysterical: Reptile takes his human mask off, grabs the opponents head with his Go-Go-Gadget tongue, rips off the opponent’s head, eats it, then smiles at the camera & rubs his tummy in satisfaction.  My favorite fatality was “Friendship”, even the announcer was confused by the non-violent nature of it all. The other bit of memorable humor was the “Toasty” taunt (Check out this video for an explanation of the Toasty taunt origins).  My character of choice was Reptile because he could become invisible & spit venom at you as a projectile weapon, plus he had that orb that knocked the opponent down.

8. The Simpsons
1-4 players

Gang up with three friends & button smash your way through Springfield with The Simpsons.  This game was just fun, plus snarky catchphrases from our beloved characters.  I loved playing Bart, who would smack anything on the screen with his skateboard.  I enjoyed how you could get the individual characters to interact in certain combos, such as Homer carrying Bart, or when the characters got sent flying into the screen.  This game didn’t break any new ground, using a tried & true template from one of the games further on this list (Spoilers), but it was fun nonetheless.

7. NBA Jam
1-4 Players

I heard a game call out, “He’s on fire!!” as I walked passed.  It was NBA Jam, & I was hooked.  Not only was this the first game with NBA licensing, but everything was exaggerated for maximum fun. 2-on-2 basketball at its finest.  Throwing elbows was the only way to defend & jumping unnecessary high added to the fun of this game.  The game was also chuck full of easter eggs, which are always a great addition to a game’s replay value.  This game spawned various sport 2-on-2 officially licensed games by the NFL, NFL Blitz, & the NHL.

6. Time Crisis II
1-2 Players

The only light-gun, shoot ’em up game on my list.  While definitely not the first of it’s kind, it was definitely the one I enjoyed most & spent a lot of money on.  I’d go to the bowling alley & play through this entire gem with my best friend at least once a week during high school (we’d also bowl). I, like many my age, had been introduced to shooting games with Duck Hunt on my NES, so shooting at the screen with a light, plastic gun was already familiar.  What Time Crisis series did was to add the petal pushing & shooting off-screen to reload, etc.  I loved the multi-tasking involved in this game because it made the adrenaline flow faster.  The co-op was also great, because you are both helping each other, but there is still a bit of bragging to be had.  The gun upgrades & health, blowing up stuff, & memorizing where the bad guys would emerge to kill them in record time, all made this such a great game for me to play multiple times.

5.  Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
1-2 Players (could technically be 4 player*)

Introducing tag team fighting that kind of allowed for 4 players*, if you actually tagged in & out with a partner in real time with the game. This style led to the visually stunning Tekken Tag Tournament many years later, which I also love.  So, you loved Capcom fighting games & the old school X-Men game, well then this is a dream come true! I enjoyed playing this as a real life tag team experience with 3 other friends, this way you can do more taunting!  A new kind of strategy needs to be used in order to have the best offense & defense, as some super power moves do substantial damage even when successfully blocked.  I would rotate my secondary character, but I always played Wolverine.  Can’t resist a “Berserker Barrage!”  I loved the nostalgia revamped with favorite characters, such as Mega-Man.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1-4 Players (Deluxe)

As a child of the ’80s, TMNT were awesome.  If you were lucky enough to have access to the deluxe 4 player version of the arcade game, then you & 3 of your friends could have fun endlessly button-mashing all over the baddies.  This was such a great cooperative onslaught that it could bring together complete strangers.  I personally liked playing Michelangelo, but didn’t have a problem playing any of the other three.  Just fun all around.

3. X-Men
1-6 Players (Deluxe)

All the fun of co-op button-mashing mayhem possessed by TMNT, but with super powers?!  And the deluxe version was 6 players?! Sign me up & take my money!  The ’90s introduced me to the X-Men via the spectacular cartoon series, X-Men: The Animated Series, on the Saturday morning cartoons on Fox.  These X-Men were based on Jim Lee’s version of them in the comics.  I had four characters I loved playing: Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, & Colossus.  Wolverine was obvious: “Berserker Barrage!”  Not only is the character a bad ass, but in the video game I’m pretty sure he could use his powers a lot more often than the rest. Nightcrawler was my second favorite character <Bamf!> & so the fact he was included in the game just warmed my heart.  Storm had the best range with her power & was particularly effective against Magneto.  Colossus Smash!  The fun & nostalgia I have for this game led me to playing X-Men Legends & X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, both on the Playstation 2.

2. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
1-2 Players

http://youtu.be/lGSKZgEnbYI

This game set the standard for 2-Player fighting games.  I remember skating (it wasn’t weird, keep reading for context) up to this game & the hoard of people around it, while checking out the arcade section of the local roller rink as a young girl (see, I told you skating was contextual).  The commotion & excitement was electric.  Instant glory or defeat in front of an eager audience.  It was hard to get time alone on the machine to learn the moves & transcend beyond sheer adrenaline fueled button mashing, but it was well worth it.  The only thing that I think started on this game & has held true for every fighting game since is if I am not Player 1 on the left side, everything is “backwards”.  I blame it on my dyslexia; if I find myself on the right side trying to take over the machine, be forewarned I am immediately going to try to out maneuver Player 1 to gain possession of the left side of the screen!  I usually played Chun-Li, not just because she was the only female character, but mostly because she was a bad ass.  Energy projectile: check! Lightening Kicks: check!

1. Tekken 3
1-2 Players

My favorite multiplayer arcade. Period.  I love fighting games, so that is why Tekken 3 is my #1.  Of course, I am not alone in praising this gem, as it routinely shows up on top game lists.  I really enjoyed playing Tekken 2, but this game was a revelation.  The graphics, the music, the sounds effects, the fleshed out stories. ❤️  My two favorite characters are Jin, because he beautifully combined both of his parent’s fighting styles, & Eddie, because I have always been interested in capoeira.  I remember going to the Borders (R.I.P.) & looking up the chains & special moves for Jin & Eddie in GamePro Magazine (R.I.P.).  I memorized each’s 10-move chain special attack & could perfectly execute them.  It was a thing of beauty: 30 seconds in & my opponent, computer or human, was toast.  I learned to always block as my first move, just in case.  I even learned to almost completely overcome my right player “backwards”-ness, that is how much I played this game.  For a while in high school, I was really good friends with the guys who worked at the arcade by my house & every day after school I would swing by & play.  Oh, the glory of the master key & unlimited free credits.  Those guys deserve a special place in gamer heaven, though their boss would probably beg to differ.  To this day, whenever I see an arcade, I look for this game.  The console ports are fun, but there is something lost in the art of executing combo chain attacks when you can simply assign them to a button.  For the fighting game purist in me, the arcade is where these games are meant to be played.


So, what multiplayer coin-operated arcade video games are on your list?

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog!  I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while & decided to finally jump in with both feet discussing a large part of my life: my geek side.  To quote a stereotypical hipster, I was a geek before it was cool.  Well, that may not be a 100% true. Being a tomboy, I already had a built in uniqueness.  The fact that I played sports well, loved video games, read comic books, & collected baseball cards was initially met with suspicion by boys, but quickly it was apparent that I had credibility.  Obviously, most girls were not as thrilled by my acceptance by the guys.  The beauty of it is that, even before the amazing simultaneous outreach & community created by the internet, when you love something you can’t help but find likeminded others, no matter the gender.

As a child of the (early) ’80s, Atari, NES, Transformers, He-Man, G.I. Joe, Fraggle Rock, Teddy Ruxkin, et. al. were a huge part of my life.  Of course, this continued & evolved throughout my life.  So, my goal with this blog is to express my never-ending joy in showing my geek side & sharing it with my fellow geeks out there. So, let the journey begin!