early spring cleaning

Happy New Years to everyone!

I restarted my quest to find one or two RPGs that I know I have around here. I know I have Xenogears, another was a copy of Chrono Trigger. When everything was moved around years ago, I lost track of where exactly I had put these away. On one hand, I’m pretty sure that they’re safe and on the other hand, they’re so safe, I have no idea where they are now.

This also gave me an opportunity to tear through some of the old stuff that I still have lying around from years of gaming. Here’s some of the stuff that I ran into on my trip through memory lane…and in trying not to choke on the dust that I managed to kick up along the way:

Dr. Dos

I don’t know what I was thinking when I got this for my lowly 386-33 way back when but I do remember screwing it up when I loaded this on it. It’s too bad that I haven’t completely geeked out enough to keep a 5.25 drive handy to see if the disks are even any good. If I did, I might have been able to find out what was on this…

Apogee Bonus Games

I think I got it along with Wolfenstein 3D when I ordered it in the early nineties and I really want to know what’s on here. Plans for world domination? Missing levels for Commander Keen? Directions to the nearest alien toilet to park your bricks in?

I kept digging further and found this buried beneath a few boxes…

Vectrex Box

The Vectrex entered the highly competitive world of console gaming in ’82, only to falter and disappear from the market in ’84. I remember going into Toy World, a kind of local Toys R Us, and seeing stacks of these things marked down to nearly nothing. Monitor, included controller, sound…it had everything that a portable unit today has, aside from the fact you need to plug it into the wall, was about as large as a lamp, and weighed just as much. It used plastic overlays to turn the small screen into an imitation arcade screen and each game came with its own. Mine Layer was a lot of fun, Bedlam, too, and then there was my favorite…


I loved this game, I only wish I knew where the damn carts were. And the other screens. I know they’re buried here somewhere, along with Xenosaga and Chrono Trigger. And yep, it still works…

Vectrex Power On

Mine Layer!

Aside from the buzzing speaker, the intro theme still brings a vector drawn tear to my eye.

Mine Layer!

Sorry for the quality of the pic. The controls still work and the sound effects were just as arcadey as I remember them. And the cord is still a tricky thing to fold back into the base of the monitor when you’re done playing. I’ll need to keep poking around some more to find those carts…and overlays…if they’re still here. Somewhere.

The other thing I found buried was this:

Mystery Box

An Atari that has seen better days

I’m not exactly sure what that crap is all over the panel beneath the RF connector. I’m not sure that I really want to find out, either.

Let’s see what games are still in here…

Atari games!

Ah, yeah…

Atari Haunted House

I remember that this game was so farking creepy. Well, I guess everything is creepy when you were as young as I was when I played this. But those eyes…THOSE EYES…

Moving on…

Atari ET

Yeah, today the game is reviled and treated like the albatross that Atari wore around its neck or the gaming equivalent of Attila the Hun’s arrival in Europe, but you know what, as a kid, I loved this game. It was just another challenge that I ate up. Phoning home, avoiding blocky FBI guys, falling in pits and having to raise my stretchy head to levitate out, recharging with candy…on second thought, those might be memories better left behind.

And if Mr. Awesome is reading this, this is for you…

Atari Missile Command

Atari games had some badass art in the day. Just look at this sample. Didn’t it make you feel all giddy inside knowing that you were going to be that guy pushing all of those buttons, sending those ICBMs into the sky to defend your cities? I don’t know what’s going on with the Buck Rogers helmet or the giant planet that the chick was carrying on her shoulders, though.

And who could forget a Real American Hero?

Atari GI Joe

In this one, you were fighting a huge snake head that shot lasers out of its eyes as a GI Joe, and that was pretty much the whole game.

And next up, we’ve got everyone’s favorite…

Atari Pac Man

Okay, even as a kid, I thought Pac Man on the 2600 sucked. Even the game art on the label was on LSD as I don’t remember the ghosts being all one color, the maze walls painted in phosphor orange, or Pac Man having arms and legs until the cartoon came out which pretty much added that to the canon. I also found it kind of weird in the game that Pac Man only pointed in one direction, or ate “wafers” since that’s what the dots turned into, or that the ghosts kept flickering…although they were different colors which was cool to see.

There was also a box that had been hit with serious water damage turning the boxes inside of it into brown mush which was pretty depressing to see. I could barely make out any of the labels on the soaked floppies or the box art, but I do know that Wing Command II was part of that collection along with Virgin’s “Conan”. Lots of 5.25 disks were scattered in among the cardboard corpses buried there, along with a few older adventure titles like Microprose’s “Phantom of the Opera” and New World Computing’s “Inherit the Earth”. I still have the manuals to these, though, which do make for some good reading as some of the better specimens from a time when fewer developers and publishers cared as much about the presentation of a game outside of the code itself.


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