C. Derick Miller – Head Writer
Your Stories on Video
I can’t believe it’s finally here! The temperatures have dropped in Dallas, Texas and fall is definitely in the air. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the overrated Dallas Cowboys and everything to do with the Dallas Stars hockey team, right? Yes, we have a hockey team in Dallas. They won a championship in 1999 and almost won another one a year ago. The football team hasn’t won anything since 1995. So, who are the boys of Autumn? I think I rest my case!
To be quite honest, I didn’t spend too much time out in the crisp, cool air this weekend like most of you probably thought I would. Sure, my wife and I did our fair share of cycling, thirty miles to be exact, but I had something else in mind altogether. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had business to attend to on the inside!
I am the proud owner of an iiRcade system. If you don’t know what that is, feel free to look it up at http://www.iircade.com. Yes, I was one of those kids who were born in the seventies but cultured in the eighties. I spent the majority of my quality time from those years inside of a videogame arcade. Even though we barely use cash nowadays, I will never forget the value of a quarter. So…the centerpiece of my living room is a standup arcade cabinet that I can download tons of classic games to like people do on their phone. They’re not cheap but it was worth the money. At least to me.
Every Tuesday and Friday, this company releases a new game to download via a live stream and, when I can get away with it, I shush my art clients and watch whenever I can. On Friday, they released a game titled Elevator Action and my life seemed to go on hold. It was at this exact moment that I new what I’d be doing all weekend long. Riding virtual, low-resolution elevators and shooting bad guys.
So, I did what every red-blooded American who was raised in the eighties would do at a time like this. I purchased the game, set it for download, (Which only takes a few seconds. All of those old arcade games from my childhood can be measured in kilobytes and megabytes rather than the gigabytes of todays offerings) dropped a easy hundred dollars at my local liquor store, (something I didn’t do as a child but always dreamed of) and prepared my eighties music playlist.
After a couple of matches, a switch flipped in a room of my brain that no one had entered in decades. I realized I was obviously a lot better at this game than I remembered. I’m currently sitting an #1 in the world with a high score no one else has been able to beat. I don’t know whether I should laugh at their misfortunes or cry because I’m the owner to such a wasted talent.
Other than the classic arcade games, I haven’t really been involved in them much over the last few years. They’ve gotten so complex and it’s almost like watching a movie rather than playing a game. It takes less and less skill and more time. I find it rather lazy compared to the ones I spent hours per week playing on in my local mall. Wow. Malls. Arcades. Where has the time gone and what in the heck happened to it all? The arcade is in my living room and the mall is on my phone. Technology changed but I didn’t.
I wasn’t much of a shopper when I was younger, but I still went to the mall daily. Why? That part is easy. Socializing. I couldn’t wait to go there every day after school or during my summer break to spend time with all my friends. There was no such thing as cell phones (other than those huge ones doctors carried in giant bags because they were rich showoffs) and no social media to connect with my closest of the close. We used the mall and arcades as a way to communicate with one another.
The difference today? First of all, I paid for these games, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone else beat them up. These things are expensive Second? I live an hour away from everyone else I cherished as a child, and no one is willing to make the trip. Finally, we’re all still living in the middle of a global pandemic and I’m not so sure if inviting tons of people into my home is the right thing to do. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain that inviting tons of people into my home is the WRONG thing to do. I have an immunocompromised wife and a young stepson who spends the better part of his life inside the walls of an elementary school.
What does this mean? Really, all I have of my childhood is my memories when it comes to things like this. Every time I press ‘play’, I’m living a moment from long ago. How long? This particular game was released in 1983 so thirty-seven years. It has nothing at all to do with wiping people out on the leaderboards and maintaining the highest score in the world. No. Every time I begin playing this game, my mind wanders back to simpler times when everything lay ahead rather than behind me. I’d never known the love of a woman or the joy of having children. I wasn’t able to understand the value of a dollar or how hard you have to work to make it. At that time, I didn’t even know the sorrow of death. It was the most alive I’d ever been at that point in life and the most alive I’ll ever be again. This is why this game is so important to me. It’s a cheap version of time travel.
Was there something in your life that seemed to mean the world to you but others just couldn’t understand? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Have you forgotten that cherished object or activity completely or do you cling to it as though it’s the only thing keeping you alive? Did you share this with friends or siblings or where you the odd man/woman out among your circles?
Whatever that thing may be, all that matters is that you loved it and that you still love it today!
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ever.