Paul’s endeavor has been very inspiring to me. I hope that others will watch this video and read his “offline” posts at futurepaul on The Verge.
I have been reading his posts and seeing things in a new light. As one might think by my tumblr page, I’ve been on quite the nostalgic kick for the last few months. I feel that much of that has prepared me to make some changes to my daily use of technology. Maybe not in the fullest extent that he has done, but what I can practically do. Unfortunately, my job does require me to use the Internet on a regular basis.
I am now considering doing what I can to maybe not eliminate all usage of the Internet but to trim out much of my casual usage especially on social networks and sites where I consume media for entertainment. I still have to think about this some more.
“ReBoot is a Canadian CGI-animated action-adventure cartoon series that originally aired from 1994 to 2001. It was produced by Vancouver-based production company Mainframe Entertainment, Alliance Communications, BLT Productions and created by Gavin Blair, Ian Pearson, Phil Mitchell and John Grace, with the visuals designed by Brendan McCarthy after an initial attempt by Ian Gibson.
It was the first half-hour, completely computer-animated TV series. Reruns of the first three seasons can be seen in Canada on Teletoon Retro, and the first two seasons are available on Netflix’s streaming service in the US.”
I found some old friends while digging through some stuff in my parents’ basement yesterday.
The Zip drive was a particular favorite although I no longer have my original purple external one that connected via parallel port and had a printer pass-through. I remember really bragging to my friends over the fact that I could fit like a hundred floppies onto my awesome new Zip disk. The Windows/DOS manual was leftover from my first computer. Some of the other stuff was all hooked up to my first computer.
X-Wing has a special place in my heart and mind that probably no other video game has. As with most of my memories of old school gaming and computer related tv series it is not so much the games or shows themselves that I hold dear but the people or places connected to them. The sounds and images of these pieces of entertainment are purely conduits to memories that hold even greater value. This is absolutely the case with X-Wing. X-Wing is a great game in its own right but it runs deeper than that for me.
Following my graduation from high school in 2000 I lost my best friend from middle school and high school to a tragic car crash. We grew up together through the 90’s. He was monumental in teaching me when I got my first computer. We were together when the Internet came into being. He loved technology as much as I did and I am in awe today of the things that he is not able to enjoy along with me. I write this using an iPad. I can’t even imagine his joy today if he were to see what tablet computers are now capable of. I think this tragedy has changed my view forever of the progress of technology. While most young people today look at technological progress at face value, this experience has constantly made me compare what we have today with what my friend and I grew up with in the 90’s. Tablet computers and video games are all just “things” when it comes down to it, but to me, some things like X-Wing remind me of the times we had together and the enjoyment we had together. So, yes, X-Wing is a great game, but it was also our great game.
I got out my Atari 2600 for my son to play with a bit tonight and snapped some pics to post. As you can tell, this is not one of the original versions of the Atari 2600. This is an Atari 2600 Jr. It has all of the same capabilities as the original versions but was a later model that was smaller in size and cheaper. It sold for around $50 when new. This one obviously is not in great shape but my main goal when I purchased off of Ebay last year was not to drop $150 on a mint unit without games or controllers. I instead just wanted something that was playable and came with everything or almost everything that I needed to get started. For the most part I got all of what I have for around $100. The unit itself with one joystick and a few games was about $70 which is what you can probably expect to pay for a unit like this these days. The rest of the stuff I bought is small lots of games on Ebay or off of atari2600.com (which I can highly recommend buying from). I saved a lot of money by buying some of the torn label games since I really only wanted playable games and didn’t really care to much about what they looked like.
As I’ve said before, I really want my son to experience some “retro gaming” before he really gets into the new mainstream stuff when he gets older. I guess I feel that maybe he will have a better appreciation for what is around now, like I do, than if he hadn’t ever seen old technology before. It’s worth a shot anyway and for now he thinks it’s cool but he wants to change the game cartridge about every 2 minutes saying “How bout a new game”. I’m sure that will change once he’s a little older and kind of knows what the point of the game actually is. Until then, you can’t help but to smile while he gladly plays what is basically vintage gaming history.
I did not have an Atari 2600 when I was young. My first console was the NES which sadly I sold long ago. I had some older friends that did have the classic Atari 2600 though and I remember fondly the times that we had playing Pitfall and other classic games in the living room of their homes. That was cutting edge stuff back then! You didn’t have to go to Aladdin’s Castle at the local “mall” to play arcade games! What a concept!
“Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD) was and still is a text-based online role-playing video game, released in 1989 by Robinson Technologies. LORD is one of the best known door games. The player’s goal is to improve his or her skills in order to defeat the Red Dragon which has been attacking the village. The software is compatible with DOS, Microsoft Windows, and OS/2.” - LORD on Wikipedia
My local BBS in the mid 90’s had this game on it and it was my go to application whenever I was able to get onto the BBS which wasn’t that often due to the low number of modems in the modem pool at the BBS and getting busy signals all the time! Sometimes when I would finally get connected one my parents would pick up on of the phones in the house and I would get knocked off only to call back in and get more busy signals. Modems of the 90’s are one thing that I can honestly say that I DON’T miss.
LORD was one of the first games that I played that allowed for multiple players online. You could choose to attack or communicate with other players via the game while you were connected and when those players came back online a few days later they would be able to respond to those actions. I thought it was amazing. This of course, was before I had the Internet. Once I got the Internet the BBS seemed like ancient technology and for the most part it was.
My son is 2 right now and I thought he was getting to the point that maybe I could start him on some older computer games that I used to play. I found out really quickly that the keyboard and mouse were not the best choice for a 2 year old and decided he would maybe have better luck with a joystick. I figured the concept of move it forward to move forward and to the right to move right, etc would be easy enough for him to learn. Of course, as most things these days I was looking for something for my son for us to do together right then and there without much planning. I didn’t have a joystick anymore. I had sold all of what was probably 3 or 4 of them in garage sales long ago thinking that I would never have a need for them again. Well, as with most things, you find out usually sooner than later that you should have kept that old stuff and actually I’m learning now that I wish I would have kept almost all of my old technology. I just assumed at the time that technology gets obsolete and you get the shiny new toy and what use is the old stuff anymore, but I was wrong. I do have emotional attachment to some of that old stuff and as I’ve said before, there is great joy in watching some old tech videos or handling a piece of old computer equipment that still moves me. So anyway, that stuff is gone now.
Back to the case of the missing joystick.
So I decided that I wanted to get my son a joystick to play some old computer games. It seems that not long ago you could get a PC joystick just about anywhere you went even in my small rural Indiana town. Walmart had them. Kmart had them. Sears had them. You could drive 5 mins in any direction and have your pick of probably 1 to 10 different joysticks. So I figured this was still the case in 2012. Not so. I tried Walmart, Kmart, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Meijers, Sears, Gamestop, etc. Not one of them had a single PC joystick. NOT ONE! It wasn’t that they were out of stock. They didn’t even stock them anymore! I felt like I was about 100 years old and my son at this point in the trip was starting to repeatedly ask me, “Where’s the joystick? Where’s the joystick? Hmm… maybe we’ll find a joystick, Daddy” from the back seat. I gave up my search and returned home after about 2 hours of searching for a joystick with my head hung low in shame. Luckily the market on the Internet for a joystick is a different story. I placed my order on Amazon for the $18 Logitech Attack 3 joystick and my son waited patiently for a few days until it came. The first game I fired up for him was Monster Truck Madness 2 by Microsoft and now he asks me a few times a week if he can play the “Monster Game” and I am happy to let him. : )