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Technology and Nostalgia: What does a 90s Kid Miss?

Human emotions are generally complex. Nostalgia, takes it up a notch. Whenever I feel nostalgic about the past, the outburst of feelings is generally unpredictable. At times, I would feel like laughing like a maniac. In some instances, I would barely be able to control my tears. No matter what, I thoroughly enjoy the experience.

I think this behavior has something to do with the fact that humans love to stay in a happy place. There is tendency to avoid changes and pain inflicting thoughts. Therefore, it always seems that past was much better and future will be comparatively brighter. However, this might not always be true. Brain tends to forget the actual life lived and remembers only the key highlights where it felt good. There is an incentive to discard unpleasant memories after all.

Philosophy much? May be. But as I write this blogpost, I am feeling exactly the way I described above. Slightly weird and different from other’s nostalgic experience. Why? Because more often that not, my nostalgia is tech heavy. I miss the times when social media was not an extension of your actual self. Rather, an entirely different persona to have fun online (Not something that we are proud of). Times, when ordering food meant asking your Papa to bring back something to eat from work. And finally, when each household had one computer for everyone with CRT screens, bulky CPUs and of course a UPS to back it up just enough to safely shutdown in case of a power cut.

In this post, I wish to take you all down the memory lane and talk specifically about some games we all enjoyed as kids.

1. Mario:

You anticipated this one right? Undoubtedly, none of us grew up without playing Mario. I actually completed the Mario one last time about a couple of years ago. My best memory of this game is when me and my younger brother put up a two player game. If you have played this before, you knew that there was nothing multiplayer about Mario. Mario had to die so that Luigi can start. And that could mean a wait time of hours if you have been practicing long enough.

So my brother always complained that I never play with Luigi until one day… My Dad. He decided to jump on the bandwagon and everything changed since. I actually realized how it felt being a Luigi for once. My dad would play for hours and he had no precondition like homework etc. to start.

And who could forget the crazy hack to save the princess finally. If you did not follow this pattern, you would end up repeating the level infinitely until 300 seconds got over each time. Don’t remember? This might ring a bell.

The music track, the graphics, story, everything was up to the mark for Super Mario Bros. There were multiple variants of the game later on, but I always preferred the original one.

A Facebook Post I made 10 years ago after finishing the Super Mario

2. WWF Wrestle Mania!

Wow! I just remembered that I got publicly thrashed because of this. So, it is one of those games which was NOT available on the NES Console. Instead, you had to visit a shitty game parlor and play it on those big ass machines. I think they charged Rs. 10 or 15 per 20 minutes of play. I always used to play with Yokozuna, because reasons!

As a part of his routine, yours truly would everyday go to the gym. Because Papa asked both of us to. Just a slight change of plans here though. That I played WWE for complete one hour instead. Not only that, I used to place bets with other players in the game parlor.

And like every good thing has to come to an end, one fine day, my dad decided to have PT meet with gym trainer. The fun began when the conversation started with the trainer asking “Ye hamare gym me enrolled hai?” Then what? I was beaten like I deserved right on the spot. My dad even asked the parlor guy to not allow me inside his shop ever.

I was a thug before it was cool. Great times!

3. Baseball:

And soon after me and brother teamed up and revolted against the likes of Mario and wait till eternity to play it, we began venturing into real multiplayer games. Finally we found baseball. Now, if you don’t know, baseball as a game is very American. At least in India, I haven’t seen someone playing it professionally.

Despite that, our entire family (including mother) knows all the rules of baseball. We never read about it online, never consulted someone who played the game and yet terms like strike, ball, bunt, balk were absolutely clear to us. Courtesy: Major League Baseball, the infamous game released by Nintendo in 1988.

We would play baseball for hours while our mother cooked snacks. The non playing brother and mother would be endlessly munching while stakes of those involved in the game were at it’s peak. Every other day, someone would learn a new trick of throwing a ball wide enough that it is still counted as strike. And the person batting would be infuriated, helpless. The laughter riot at that point would be absolutely worthwhile.

4. Track & Field:

While writing this blogpost, I realized that this game is called Track & Field. The very fact that I searched with the term ‘Olympics NES‘ and got this game as the first result vouches for the fact that everyone used to call it the same. Some of my friends also called it athletics. No matter what the name is, this game was a spectacular collection of some 5-7 mini games, all of which, were a part of Olympics. This consisted of:

  • 100m Dash
  • Hurdle Racing
  • Javelin Throw
  • Long Jump
  • Triple Jump
  • High Jump
  • Archery
  • Shooting

Another multiplayer classic which one could play for hours.

A quick secret though. With overuse of the remote controllers, one of them gave up one fine day. To avoid getting scolded from dad, both of us went to the market and brought an exact same one. For some unknown reason, that remote was supercharged. Any game you played with that remote, you were bound to win. We couldn’t keep this secret for long from our father. One fine day after losing the baseball and athletics match, he asked us to interchange the remote. And that was it! Later, we brought another remote like the new one so that matches remain fair and even.

5. Excite Bike:

A single player game I can still play for hours. Shitty graphics but insane adrenaline rush. Excite bike as the name suggests was a bike racing game. But there were lots of twists and turns. Track was made of bumps and mountains. You could be thrown out of the game for a short while if your engine temperature exceeded a certain threshold.

You could also topple some of the competitors by coming in their way. Even in those days when games were as basic as they could be, Excite Bike allowed you to design your own track for the next race. You could make it as nasty as possible when your brother was playing.

Conclusion:

Oh! And the cassettes which carried these games. 5000 in 1, 100000 in 1. Basically just 5 games repeated endlessly. Times have surely changed between NES to power-packed games on our PCs and consoles. However, that simplicity is unbeaten. The pure joy of family getting together to those fights that evolved due to minor glitches. Rage quitting meant ejecting the cassette out of the NES.

What all games have you played from the above?

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Until Next Time. . .

rgvdudeja
A techno manager by profession and a hardcore geek at heart. I love to poke my nose into tasks where other usually gave up on. My hobbies include, reading about latest trends in tech industry, playing guitar and yes, memes!
http://pandatechiein.wordpress.com

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