Lego and 8-bit
Weird how you don’t notice anything until it comes in waves. The other day I was looking on the iTunes store and I found Ataris greatest hits, for both my iPad and my iPhone (I know I’m an Apple fanboy). I couldn’t help but buy the whole collection of 99 games for $14.99. I played that thing for hours laughing at the graphics but still having a blast. Even my daughter was having fun, it was the game, not the graphics. She would play, then I would play and the games were short little niblets of entertainment, not 4 hour, stretched out multiplayer, jolt cola fueled marathons. We would play for 20 minutes and be done. When I was a kid I remember everyone would get a chance to play, you would have 4 guys in a room and with 2 joysticks you were playing within 5 minutes, Combat, Sea Battle, Circus Circus, Space Invaders…these were the games I grew up on. The graphics were blocky and crude, but you knew what to do. Get the guy to pop the ballons, shoot the other guy, kill the aliens, it was a simple. We’d play for a while and then ride bikes, wow there’s a concept, outdoors!
Anyway later that week I went to visit my parents and I come into my room and my 5 year old daughter is playing on the living room floor. “Look dadddy Lego!” like it was the coolest thing ever. My mom had pulled out my old box of Lego from storage. We sat down and started to build stuff, she had a lego guy with one arm and decided he was a zombie (yep, she’s my daughter). She wanted to build a tower to keep him trapped so he wouldn’t hurt anyone, so we started to build and the story progressed. She decided that they put a door up too high to mess with him and a window too, but in case he escaped they needed a guard out front. These are just little plastic blocks, vaguely similar to the graphics on the Atari, and we laughed and played until we decided to go tobogganing. I thought to myself, it’s not the quality of the graphics or the complexity of the toy, it’s what you bring to it, your imagination is a powerful thing and no matter what you’re doing it will fill in the blanks much better than any game designer or toy company ever could. Simplify your life, play a few games, and get outside is what I learned this weekend. Your childhood will thank you for it.