A Little Nostalgic

I came across a website with an idea that at first sounds like some geezer trying to relive the 80's. It's not exactly a novel idea, nor is it particularly creative. No offense to Andy and the immense amount of work that went into it's creation, but when you hear about someone mashing together sounds from a dozen arcade game just to relive the feelings of being in one you think - why?

I was there, I can attest to the cacophony of noise that was associated with arcades. That acrid smell of smoke, sweat and occasionally french fries hanging in the air as you watched the pool players waiting for your quarter to be up. Do these hour long mp3 files take you back to those times? Most definitely, all that's missing is the jabbering, swearing and banging on machines when people lost. Yes, I'm there. I can pick out every game in the noise by name, I lived in arcades and if high scores were uploaded to some global master server somewhere my initials would still be on a few top 5's. I could beat Space Ace at the hardest difficulty on one quarter with one life and smile at the wide-eyed onlookers - it was fabulous.

These ambient sounds do the job nicely and it's nice to remember and wish, in a small way, to be able to visit that place again. Don't worry, I'm not about to expunge on how the simpler games of the 80's are superior to the latest video entertainment offerings. I wouldn't trade my Mass Effect 2 experience for an original Dragon's Lair cabinet with overhead monitor on any day of the week, but I do long for something else from that era - the staggering creativity that new-born technology brings.

Back then I believed I could single-handedly release a game on my own written on a 3.5 kb Vic-20, yes that's KILOBYTE, not Gigabyte, not even Megabyte. Nothing was there to tell me I couldn't, no wall of oppressive smash-hit titles that required hundreds of people and years of programming. I could sit down one night and plunk out a hit title by morning, ship it off to a company for consideration and be published next month. It's the dream that many gamers have today right before they realize that not a chance in hell will it happen.

Some defy logic and reasoning and plod ahead anyway, despite the obvious slim-to-none chance for success. We call these patently insane fellows Indie programmers and they persist in trying to instruct the powers that be about these creative ideas that drove the industry so long ago. Few listen so the Indies move to platforms that can support a single programmer as a team, the iPhone and browser-based gaming is where you will find some of the most innovative gameplay that can still turn a buck. The rest simply do it for fun and don't care for your money.

So I thank Andy and his labor of love that will serve as background music for my Mame excursions. I thank him for helping to remind the world, myself included, that creativity is not hindered by the laws of what will sell, what already exists out there, or what some other person thinks is useful.
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