Got Game?

Not sports silly! Video games

I would not even begin to pretend to be a real gamer but my name is Becky & I’m a little bit of an addict.

It all started when I was 10 or so- we got an Atari – not the 2600 – it wasn’t quite out yet- we got an Atari that was a big gray console which you set on your lap & used a knob on the console & flipper buttons on the sides- it was about a foot long. it has basketball- multiple screens of pinball & the great big hairy deal- (at least for me) Breakout!

The whole family sat around for entire weekends playing & watching each other play – I am serious- my father- my mother & even my grandmother sat there entranced by this thing. I remember friends of my father’s coming over & playing it too- I remember one guy telling another he should be good at breakout because he was a bricklayer- that still makes me laugh- I remember wondering back then even- why that would make a difference!

Another friend of my father’s got a 2600- he was a divorced guy- his kids were grown up & he always got the latest & greatest gadgets- he had one of those 70’s vans with the bed- the bar- the CB radio & the porta john. His was the first walkman I ever saw- he had the first car I ever rode in which had a voice telling you that ‘a door is ajar’ which my father used to tease him unmercifully about- asking why the car was posing metaphysical questions to him- ‘a door is a door- it can’t be a jar’ my father would say.

So my father had a one night a week ritual to go to this guy’s house & hang out- for months they played video games on the Atari- Christmas came & Ben & I wanted an Atari in the worst way. My father was unemployed that Christmas I believe & so he wrote a poem on a card- I have the card somewhere but I’m not going to fish it out right now- it ended with

“we’ll get an Atari- but not in a hari
We’ll play space invaders- or Dad ain’t my name”

I believe it was New Years day when my father’s friend brought his Atari game to our house for us to keep- with about 25 cartridges- remember when they were called cartridges? The whole family gathered for awhile to view the video game phenomenon though the thrill wore off much more quickly for the adults that time & Ben & I were left to our own devices.

Many of the best songs of 1982 are mentally linked in my mind with Space Invaders- Asteroids & My very favorite game ever- Megamania. After awhile my brother Ben decided – since we were then listening to the top 40 religiously every single week- that we needed a chart to quantify how many times each game was played- we were supposed to put a tick mark next to the name of each game we played each time we played it- I complied for about 2 weeks & grew bored & stopped.

My brother- being a little obsessive hounded me & fussed at me & finally ended up sitting in the ‘school room’ (Also something of a playroom) making a tick mark for every game I played. We debated whether my resetting the game if I didn’t get a certain score by the end of the first round counted as a game or not- the relative merits of certain bands & songs (U2 broke big that year & of course Human League’s ‘Don’t you want me’ was almost inescapable) & of course – that ever present topic of conversation with my brother- how cute was Mouchacha- our dog.

I gave up playing video games for more fun out with Chrissie & other friends when I was about 15 or 16- when I left home & except for arcade jaunts (I lived at the beach 3 out of the next 7 years-so there were plenty of those) I didn’t play at all.

When the ex & I moved to North Carolina to live with his father & stepmother (That lasted 3 weeks) I was appalled at his stepmother’s Legend of Zelda addiction- I played Q-bert a few times with my ex & his dad & then 18 & I (she was 3 at the time) moved to Floyd co because the stepmom & I weren’t getting along well at all.

Then- when the ex & I moved back in together about 6 months later- we got- I don’t even remember where- a game boy & I discovered Tetris. For months I played- on the toilet- before bed- before getting out of bed- the only things I did besides play Tetris during my free time was make beaded earrings & read. I even gave up embroidery for a year or so.

After about 2 years the buttons wore out on the game boy & we couldn’t afford to replace it so that was that until I discovered Sonic my cousin- who was already on to better than the Sega Genisis loaned me his Sega & I played all that summer- then for my birthday in November that year the ex bought me my own Sega Genisis. I think ms 11- along with her interest in hair dressing & nail polish -imbibed the ‘Se-Ga’ song through the womb because I played so much when I was pregnant with her.

Once she was born I was busy- among other things when she was 9 months old my ex insisted I go to work so no more video games for awhile- When we moved back to VA in 1997 though- I dug my old friend out of the box & while my ex was out studying to be an EMT & practicing anatomy on his study partner (I found that part out later) & helping his friend build a race car I played Sonic nightly after the girls were in bed.

Occasionally the ex & I also would play video pool on the Sega- in the hopes that my ex might be able to take me out to play pool in real life someday & not have me embarrass him to death- it didn’t help- I’m great at video game pool & terrible in real life pool to this day. The ex was as bad or worse about the games as I was – he only played hockey- to the exclusion of every other game- games like Sonic were a waste of his time as far as he was concerned.

Once I was pregnant with Mr 8 our lives were in too much chaos & in the back to back (3 moves in 6 months while pregnant & with a 6 week old baby – the last time) moves the Sega Genisis got broken. The ex bought a used one from someone who had an ad in the paper – it turned out to be a girl I’d known back in 1987 too- such a small world- & especially a small town. And the final months of our marriage were marked with- on the nights he deigned to stay home with me endless games of Jeopardy on the new (actually older than the Genisis) video game & a lot of Rummy 500 with actual cards.

After the ex left there was no time for video games- work- sleep- interact with the kids- that was the whole thing for a few years- when we got a subscription to dish network I sprung for dishgames & promptly got addicted to Talisman (its like Bejeweled) among others- then I won a game boy advance at work- they just do drawings for things randomly there- I got it about the third week of November & managed to keep it secret & hidden- didn’t even open the box until Christmas & gave it to all the kids as a family Christmas gift!

We picked out 3 games- Maybe I should say I did- because the kids picked a Fairly Oddparents game & I picked an Activision anthology & a Namco classics game – it had Galaga & Ms Pac-man on it so I was happy- until- 6 months later when a certain dog chewed the power cord- these new games have cell phone – type batteries you can’t go buy triple A’s for them- for awhile someone was looking for a new power cord for me – but the conclusion was reached that I’ll probably have to special order one if I really want one.

Then I realized I could get games on my cell phone- Of course the first one was Tetris- my first two phones had that one & the second one had Bejeweled- the next phone had Scrabble blast- which I purchased on like – night one with the phone-I got a monthly subscription thinking that I’d try it for awhile & then change games I never got tired of Scrabble blast though & when the phone died last month I immediately went to re-load the game as soon as I could- They don’t have Scrabble blast available anymore!

So since I got the new phone I’ve been trying other games- the setup offers free trials of games a couple every night so I’ve been checking out everything on the new phone- many of them offer unlimited play until you exit – so the past couple of nights- when I found games I liked I ended up staying up way too late playing them because I didn’t want it to end! I am torn as to what game I might actually purchase to entertain me while waiting for the kids to get out of school or on a particularly long trip to the bathroom- or as I used to play the Scrabble Blast game- while I’m listening to the local & national news each night before bed.

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