Ah, Wil. You have a great way of sparking a long train of thoughts based on memories that have often been well buried due to extreme old age. I am speaking of course of this post by the always lucid and erudite Mr. Wheaton, regarding the ghosts of video gaming past. It seems to have sparked a long chain of memories by other readers of the blog.
When did I become a gamer? Pong was floating around in the background, I remember that, and I believe I even knew someone who had it. It wasn't until the local drugstore, LaVerdiere's (now owned by Rite Aide), put in an Asteroid console that I realized what I was to become: a video game addict. Hi, my name is Jeff (crowd: "Hi Jeff!"), and I am a video game junkie.
Asteroids was soon joined by a couple of other games, like Centipedes and Space Invaders. Eventually LaVerdiere's moved their location from downtown Pittsfield to a site where there was a new plaza going in by the highway, and they opened an entire arcade room. Many many MANY a quarter was dumped into the machines that came and went there over the early years of the 80's, before I finally moved out of town and into my own adulthood.
But even today I sometimes still walk past an arcade in a mall and can't help but want to wander in just to see what consoles they might have. What's new and interesting. But even more important to me, what do they have that's older and memorable. Sometimes the shiny new toy electronic toy isn't nearly as much fun as a hoop and a stick.
So LaVerdiere's is gone, and I believe the arcade there is long gone as well. The only other location that had games was the bowling alley, which burned down a couple of years ago. But now we just play games at homes on our own consoles, our PS2's and 3's, our XBox360's, or our Wii's and Cubes. We no longer have to congregate at a public location, being jostled by those who just want to shop and aren't interested in those "damn video games" we kids were in love with.
Boy, I miss those days.....