Tuesday, September 07, 2004

REVENGE OF PONG

In the beginning, there was Pong.

And it was good. The ball bounced back and forth, ricocheting off walls and paddles. After all, wasn't it a metaphor for existence? We all had balls in the air--where would they land? Who knew? It was one of life's great mysteries.

Across America, our hands tightened around black and orange joysticks, forming a death grip. We shot down Space Invaders and Asteroids, just because they were from somewhere else and in our way--a metaphor for manifest destiny, xenophobia and expansionism. We hopped across busy highways and skipped over the backs of turtles and alligators to find our way to our lily pads--the constant quest to individuate from our parents and find overpriced studio apartments of our own. Those of us who did not own an Atari system eagerly ran down the block to someone's house to wait for our turn--we sensed the greatness that was coming, the promise of a pixelated future.

Flash forward. We're twenty years older. We all have early onset arthritis from our Video Game Babylon. Today's video children have X-Boxes. Graphics rival real life in versimilitude. It all looks and feels so real that no one can even tell the difference between playing Grand Theft Auto and actually stealing a car.

In this time of "I Love the 80s" and the return of rubber bracelets and Duran Duran, it's only fitting that Atari's chosen to reissue 85 classic games so that today's kids can get a more complete understanding of what Generation X experienced when the first video games really hit the cultural scene. Coming in November to an electronics store near you for the suggested retail price of $20.

Perhaps this will be the bridge between our generations. Perhaps Pong's Revenge is to unite us all through the love of gaming. As John Lennon might have said, all we are saying is give Pac-Man a chance.

Aah, nostalgia. Someone wake me when Q-Bert and Burgertime arrive.

2 Comments:

At 5:33 PM, September 08, 2004, Blogger Madonna said...

I have my share of classic video games, as well as some of the new ones (the GTA series, the newer sports games). As much as these new games look and feel amazing life-like, there's just something to this day that's special about the classics. It's like a 1965 Mustang vs. a 1995 - the 1995 is great, but it's just not 1965.

Sadly, my impression is most of today's youngsters don't appreciate the classic games. Sure, there are some who do. But far too many think without top of the line graphics and millions of controls, that they must not be very good.

I personally would rather play Ms. Pac-Man over Doom 3.

 
At 6:41 PM, September 09, 2004, Blogger Gooch said...

Only $20? I'm so getting that.

 

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My Urban Kvetch: REVENGE OF PONG

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

REVENGE OF PONG

In the beginning, there was Pong.

And it was good. The ball bounced back and forth, ricocheting off walls and paddles. After all, wasn't it a metaphor for existence? We all had balls in the air--where would they land? Who knew? It was one of life's great mysteries.

Across America, our hands tightened around black and orange joysticks, forming a death grip. We shot down Space Invaders and Asteroids, just because they were from somewhere else and in our way--a metaphor for manifest destiny, xenophobia and expansionism. We hopped across busy highways and skipped over the backs of turtles and alligators to find our way to our lily pads--the constant quest to individuate from our parents and find overpriced studio apartments of our own. Those of us who did not own an Atari system eagerly ran down the block to someone's house to wait for our turn--we sensed the greatness that was coming, the promise of a pixelated future.

Flash forward. We're twenty years older. We all have early onset arthritis from our Video Game Babylon. Today's video children have X-Boxes. Graphics rival real life in versimilitude. It all looks and feels so real that no one can even tell the difference between playing Grand Theft Auto and actually stealing a car.

In this time of "I Love the 80s" and the return of rubber bracelets and Duran Duran, it's only fitting that Atari's chosen to reissue 85 classic games so that today's kids can get a more complete understanding of what Generation X experienced when the first video games really hit the cultural scene. Coming in November to an electronics store near you for the suggested retail price of $20.

Perhaps this will be the bridge between our generations. Perhaps Pong's Revenge is to unite us all through the love of gaming. As John Lennon might have said, all we are saying is give Pac-Man a chance.

Aah, nostalgia. Someone wake me when Q-Bert and Burgertime arrive.

2 Comments:

At 5:33 PM, September 08, 2004, Blogger Madonna said...

I have my share of classic video games, as well as some of the new ones (the GTA series, the newer sports games). As much as these new games look and feel amazing life-like, there's just something to this day that's special about the classics. It's like a 1965 Mustang vs. a 1995 - the 1995 is great, but it's just not 1965.

Sadly, my impression is most of today's youngsters don't appreciate the classic games. Sure, there are some who do. But far too many think without top of the line graphics and millions of controls, that they must not be very good.

I personally would rather play Ms. Pac-Man over Doom 3.

 
At 6:41 PM, September 09, 2004, Blogger Gooch said...

Only $20? I'm so getting that.

 

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