Gaming for Luddites

I was born in the United States in 1973. If you were too, you either (1) heard of the Atari 2600 or, (2) grew up under a rock. Note I said “heard of” instead of “owned.”


While most definitely familiar with the Atari, I owned one of these bad boys.
Image credit: Evan-Amos

I often get nostalgic for the 8-bit halcyon days of the 80s. Be it the romance of the video arcade before it descended into Chuck E. Cheese corporate banality, or the simple Zen of playing BurgerTime on Intellivision, if there’s one thing I miss about childhood, that’s it. The adept video game historians among you know Intellivision was technically superior to the Atari 2600, so you might assume I’ve ridden the crest of technology ever since.

Well, you’d be mistaken.

I’m not technologically adverse in any sense. Hell, I’ve been online longer than some of my readers have been alive. In the early 2000s I held an A+ certification. I know my way around hardware and Windows. I try not to broadcast that too much because when I do I tend to become unwilling tech support.

I just wrote that on the blog, didn’t I? Shit.

Anyway, in spite of (or perhaps because of) this I became attuned to the caveat emptor aspect of technology at a young age. To wit, I’m all about letting SOMEONE ELSE fix the bugs. History proves over and over again that buying high in technology just to have the “latest thing” is not a sound philosophy.


Exhibit A.
Image credit: EdwinBetanc0urt

So what does that have to do with video games? Plenty. Over the past few days I’ve been playing my Xbox. I’m not talking about the Xbox 360, or the Xbox One. I’m talking about the Xbox. You know, the one Microsoft stopped making games for several years ago. Just for grins I tried to connect it online earlier tonight (for the first time ever). Turns out Microsoft discontinued online support for it over three years ago.


But hey, the hardware still works!

Eh, no matter. I still very much enjoy playing NCAA Football 06 as produced by the fine folks at EA Sports nearly a decade ago. It’s a good escape from reality, as I promoted my sad-sack alma mater Idaho State to the Mountain West Conference and currently have them en route to their fifth consecutive national championship.

Even so, the game still manages to inject a great deal of reality into the experience. As an example, earlier tonight my Bengals beat San Diego State 97-7 and were rewarded by being dropped in the polls, just like a real Mountain West team! Seriously, ask the guys down the road at Bronco Stadium about that. The game also seems to have a hard-on for Michigan.


I can’t imagine why.

You know what else is cool about original Xbox games? You don’t have to throw down 60 bucks for them. Not anymore. Any pawn shop today will be happy to sell them to you for $3.99. It almost feels like cheating.

Speaking of cheating, do I hit reset when the game isn’t going my way? You bet your ass I do.

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