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On Permanence part II: Software

March 23, 2009

Those early computer-using days, from the final months of 1982 on, were good times for me. I spent many hours on the TRS-80 Color Computer playing Klendathu and Dungeons of Daggaroth, on the Atari 800 playing Rescue on Fractalus and The Last Starfighter, and on the early DOS computers playing Rogue, A-10, Red Baron, F-19 Stealth Fighter, numerous other flight sims, Tetris, and Mahjongg, and well into the 1990s with Mechwarrior 2 and iPanzer Ď44.

I still play some of those early games from time to time on one of the half-dozen ancient DOS and Windows 95 computers littering my house.

If youíve read my earlier postings on keeping all these time-worn games alive, youíre probably wondering why I cling to these old klunkers. Yeah, I know there are lots of great new games coming out all the time, but truthfully none of them have really curled my toes. Iíve gotten into the Battlefield 1942 series quite a bit, but not nearly to the degree of obsession that keeps me playing iPanzer Ď44 over ten years after its initial release.

Why? Theyíre fun. Thatís all.

Those early computer games had a certain type of primitive fun to them that I just donít see in the newer games, despite the better graphics. The old games are comforting in their familiarity.

So why am I so obsessed with keeping alive these memories of my deep dark past? Am I trying to cling to my college years? Is it some sort of subconscious attempt to bring back the years when I was in my twenties? Is it the same reason I like to listen to a lot of 80ís music?

Itís because I enjoy it. Itís fun. Do I need more reason than that?

I do have one redeeming grace in this regard: at least Iím not still obsessed with Tank Pong.


Jonathan left this comment:

Ooh, you played Last Starfighter? I love the movie, and may have the Atari catridge somewhere, but no Atari to play it on. Picked it up for the nostalgia value.

Battlefield 1942 is one Iíve been playing recently, or more specifically the Battlegroup 42 mod for it. A-10 used to be a huge favorite in our house years ago; I probably still have the old manual in some forgotten corner. I, too, still keep an old DOS computer, though itís not in commission. It has all my old Wing Commander games on it.

To which I replied:

Yes, I wasted many hours (that I should have spent studying for my college classes) playing Last Starfighter.

I still have my old Atari 800 in working condition but the floppy disk drive is shot. I found several Atari emulators that run well in Windows XP (AtariWinPlus is the one I like the most I think) and if you hunt around online you can find many of the games.

Wing Commander was one of those games I really should have gotten into way back in the day, but for some reason or other just never picked up. Too many obsessions, too little time.

This article was filed under:
Getting Old
March 2009 articles
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The content on this page was written: March 23, 2009
Last updated: June 11, 2016