30 Day Video Game Challenge – Very First Video Game

I found a 30 Day Video Game challenge on Tumblr, but I’m so wordy that it would be impractical to post my thoughts there.  So instead, it’s going to be a series of blog entries! Enjoy.


Beauty and the Beast, 1981.

Listen, I may have mentioned this a few hundred times before (because it’s my favorite thing), but my parents owned an arcade when I was little, so when I say I grew up on video games, I mean I grew up on video games. My dad would put his big dad-like hands around my waist and hoist me up on top of one of the stools so I could stand there and play Donkey Kong or Centipede or Joust. I’m as bad at Donkey Kong now as I was when I was two, pretty sure – never can time those damn jumps right. Fuckin’ barrel-rolling monkey, I swear to God.

I feel a little sorry for the woman Mario is rescuing in that one, though. What’s her name? Priscilla? Talk about being left in the dust. I like to imagine her as Mario’s bitter ex girlfriend, seeing all these games featuring Mario and Princess Toadstool Peach and just. . .seething. Thinking maybe she should have gone off with Donkey Kong anyway because at least he was dedicated to her, unlike some tubby little assholes she knows.

(I’m not speaking from experience, I swear.)

But those are arcade games. My first video game? Surprisingly, we did not have an Atari. But in 1987, I got an NES for Christmas. It was the Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt pack with the bright orange zapper. I still very vividly remember taking the console out of the styrofoam packing with my mom’s help. We plugged up the RF switch (remember those?) to our huge, bulky tv and fired up the Nintendo and I was in love. The graphics amazed me – they were so much more detailed than the little colored blips and squares I was used to with arcade games. And I don’t have to tell you how catchy the music in Mario Bros. was. Everybody recognizes the theme, even these kids who have never actually played the game. Damn shame.

(I know. Shut up, grandma.)

Mario was amazing. Now, back in my day we didn’t even know what save features were, so I didn’t get frustrated when I died and had to start the whole game over again. That’s just how it was. Later, when I was introduced to the save features in Castlevania and my beloved Zelda, I was retroactively pissed off, but all the same – at the time, it was just how things were.

But Duck Hunt. Oh man, fuck Duck Hunt. Fuck Duck Hunt and fuck that snarky ass dog. I think that dog is at least partially responsible for turning me into the horrible person I am today. That dog is the reason I am a cat person. That dog is the reason I am an atheist. I wish I had known swears when I was little because I feel like letting out a good, strong “GOD DAMMIT” at the screen would have saved me a lot of internal anger.

As an aside, that reminds me of this video. NSFW toddler language ahoy!

I understand your pain all too well, little girl.

8 responses to “30 Day Video Game Challenge – Very First Video Game

  1. ZOMG, RF switches. I’d completely forgotten.

    My Wii came last week — from Knoxville, so son’t pretend you weren’t in on the whole thing. Anyway, it’s still in the box. I’m not allowed to touch it until after deadline-success.

  2. Do you remember a pizza place in town that had a bunch of arcade games and really good pizza? I think they closed in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I loved that place when I was a kid.

    • Hmm! No, that doesn’t sound familiar to me. Dad ran Funland, but it closed in the earliesh/mid 80s and I don’t think they served pizza. Do you remember where it was?

    • Ooh, actually I’m SUPER wrong. Dad sold Funland to someone else or something and moved to Jackson and opened another Funland there, which is where this picture is from.

  3. I can’t remember exactly where it was, but I”m thinking closer to downtown than like Walmart. Of course, that was before Walmart was where it is now. When town centered around Western Ave and downtown and the fairgrounds. I asked on the Crossville page on FB, but no one has replied. I’d really like to remember the name and the location of the place. My grandma worked there back in like the 60’s or 70’s.

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