Retro Gaming RoundUp

MIKE JAMES
(UK Mike / miner2049er)







Hello everybody, welcome to what will be a great ride through the annals of what may be gone but is certainly not forgotten. I'll be the one responsible for keeping up the British end in this adventure and I may need your help because I'm outnumbered by two to one.

I was born in 1970 and my first gaming experience came in the form of the British Prestel Machine (Press Telephone) in the late 70s. Next came the generic "Pong" machine from Binatone with an amazing 3 games on it, Tennis (Pong), Football and Squash. Basically using a long stick to hit a square ball but man the hours I put into that thing!

A few school friends had the Atari 2600 that we used to play a lot, and while I hated the port of Space Invaders I am one of the few people that will openly admit to liking Pacman on the "Woody." In 1983 I got what was one of my all-time greatest Christmas gifts, a Commodore 64 bundle and I have never looked back since. While I occasionally took a break to play games in the arcades like Pacman, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Sprint and Rally-X, most of my gaming at that time was done at home either on my Donkey Kong Game & Watch or on my C64.

The rivalry at school between the Commodore group and the ZX Spectrum group was intense and I played many Spectrum games during that time too but I was Commodore all the way and even more so when I upgraded to an Amiga 500+. The Amiga got me into computing as well as gaming and I wasn't sorry about missing out on the home consoles of the era, the NES, the Master System, and later the SNES and the Mega Drive (its real name) but hey, I could save my progress to floppy disk and pick up where I left off later. A fact I constantly reminded my console owning friends of.

I owned a Sega Game Gear around this time too and often lorded it over my Gameboy owning friends with my colour screen but man did that thing ever use batteries. The fact that I could watch TV on it did not entirely make up for that fact that the Gameboy and Gameboy Colour had a great library of games, many of which I would play later on my Gameboy Advance.

My first true home console was in fact the Sony Playstation in 1998 and not since the Commodore 64 had I put so much game time into a system.

In 2003 I toured Australia for four months and my constant companion (as well as my family of course) was my Gameboy Advance though I am glad I added the backlight before I went. When I got back home I bought an XBox, and while I did play XBox games on it I mainly used it to emulate the systems I had missed in the 80s, the NES, SNES, Master System and Mega Drive, and while I've played most of the killer games on them I'm looking to you to tell me about the hidden gems that I may have missed.

More recently of course gaming has seen somewhat of a revival with Nintendo refusing to lie down after its under achieving Gamecube and Microsoft being first to market with the 360, both stealing Sony's mantle.

This time around I have planted myself in the Nintendo camp with a DS and a Wii but I am tempted by the falling price of the 360 constantly. I haven't completely abandoned Sony though as I bought a PSP last year and have begun to explore the back catalog somewhat.

A few years ago I started to collect the hardware I had missed out on the first time round and I bought systems like the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast but my ultimate "expense" was the Solitaire Challenge arcade cab I picked up and refurbed into a M.A.M.E. unit which also runs Visual Pinball, Daphne and a Jukebox.

My one gaming regret?

I don't have any. Gaming is what you make it, so let's make it fun.

Retro Gaming RoundUp