Games by xpect

I remember in the late 70’s playing an arcade game named “Ducks” (at least it is by that name that I recall it). You had a rifle, you shot ducks. It was that simple and that addictive.

duck-hunt-cabinet-thumbUnfortunately only in the summer I had the possibility of playing any games because there were no Arcade places in my little town. Only when we were on family vacations to the beach in the deep south, it was possible for me to go to the arcades which were filled up with those addictive Ducks machines and an oddity called Pinball.
cinema_pinball_2.Pinball machines was another discovery for me because every time I grabbed a chair to see the action on the side of the machine, I never quite understood how the ball moved. But one thing I knew for sure back then: I liked Pinball, I liked Ducks. I was addicted to games.

To be able to play Pinball I had to call my cousin, who was a good 10 years older than me, to move all the other kids older and bigger than me, so I could have a round of Pinball. This was possible, of course, giving him 2 or 3 coins for his own rounds. Raaaaw! …call that about exploiting minors!! :D
Pinball and Ducks were electro-mechanical. I still had no joy in playing electronic goodies like Asteroids, Space Invaders or Pong and never knew they existed until then.
I really can’t recall when I played my first electronic game after my Ducks experience. What I do remember in a very accurate way is that I turned to be a really great Pinball gamer and I made my days gaining many bets, breaking scores on those machines.

In 1983 I had my first console: a Pong clone. :p It was not a simple Pong clone. It had as many as 25 variations of the game. Wooohooo! Well, it sucked big time. I remember that me and my brother played no more than an handful of times on that console.
PongBy that time I tended to go to a young peoples gathering house called InforJovem (direct translation) “InforYoung”. It was a teenagers dream house. At the time InforJovem was a governement’s program so the young people could have access to new technologies and promote the interest for youngsters to learn ‘how to compute’. For me it was spot on, I had access to ZX Spectrum 48k, ZX80, TimexSinclair 1000, MSX1 machines, modems, printers and so on. There was no teacher or co-ordinator, just people taking care of the stuff there and we were pretty much on our own.
It was great for me because I had the opportunity to read the manuals and learnt the basics of BASIC on the MSX and Spectrum 48k. I even made my first music blops on the MSX. And that was pretty much it.
27539_106418849385877_9431_nMy first moustache hairs started sprout when I finally had my first computer: a ZX Spectrum 48k. Thanks dad.
I finally was able to resume what I had learnt in InforJovem and able to delv into more obscure commands like Poke and Randomize. ;-) NOO! I already knew everything I wanted to know: J->Symbol Shift+P+P: LOAD”” + press play on tape. :D I was finally able to play games! o/
I played a lot of games. Even my mother had a go one night on 3D Death Chase, I think the only game she played seriously in her life. Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Chuckie Egg, Atic Atac, Skool Daze, Saboteur, Cybernoid I/II, Arkanoid, Target Renegade and many, many others occupied my evenings and nights. In winter, the Spectrum was a really good hand-warmer, because it always got a bit hot with such gaming abuse.
But during those years I’ve never stopped going to the arcades (by the mid 80’s already very much well established in my home town) and loading my coins in such game machines like Out Run, Bubble Bobble, Commando, Bionic Commando, Operation Wolf and other favourites.
chuckie-egg_2Then the great year of 1988 came and also with it my Amiga 500. With it: bang! I had my personal arcade machine in the bedroom. That was a massive jump in game quality and game addiction. I remember being in the arcades and seeing someone playing The Newzealand Story. The game was really good, but I spoke with a friend I was with at the arcades that I had it at home, so we headed to my house to play it. The Amiga version was a perfect (at the time) arcade conversion in graphics, sound and gameplay for me. My Amiga was really an arcade machine. Never once I wasted a dime on The Newzealand Story at the arcades and really never put another coin in a machine till Ridge Racer appeared 1994 on the arcades (even that short lived until I got my PS1).
newzealand_story_02But all my gaming within five years from 1988 to 1993 was done exclusively on Amigas. It was a real joy to have so many good titles to play with and to have enjoyed so many memorable games in those years. I think only 3 or 4 games on the SNES caught me with the same WOW factor and the same pleasure to play during the following two years, that many games on the Amiga (too many of them to account for) did for the previous years.

Over the years I can count with my fingers the games that I have truly enjoyed the same way when I played on my Amiga. The only game I really never stopped playing in my life since it came out for my CD32, is Pinball Fantasies. A master piece of fun and playability. Stunt Car Racer comes in a close second. ;-) And now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve never stopped playing Amiga games because of emulation. I always turn back in time playing again such great pieces of coding.

pinball_fantasies_04There are too many games I like, to be able to make a definitive all-round list, but I think for me, that no list is ever complete without several Amiga games in it.
I remember the Amiga sessions with my brother very fondly, because with him, I have the best memories of my life playing games. Discovering with him the secrets and tricks of most games was a feeling that I’ve never had repeated after that in any platform.

Of course we shared great times on SNES, PS1, and even PS2 games, but my fondest memories of playing with my brother are forever tied with the Amiga.

Amigaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! o/ (thanks for letting me steam down a little)

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