A Momentary Lapse of Awesome

Posted on Apr 22nd 2018 at 09:09:50 PM by (nupoile)
Posted under gamenight, kids, halo, vectrex, contra, party

Sometimes people come to your house to play games, other times you have to bring games to them. I was invited to a game night for kids this month. For whatever reason they put me, of all people, in charge of bringing older games. Where would I ever come up with older games I wondered?....Probably in those large piles of boxes that have been sitting in the garage and basement since we moved my, wife told me.



It took quite a while to find things. Most of my collection has been in boxes since we moved. I peek into those boxes from time to time and wait for the day it's all set up again.

Knowing my audience was going to be young people, around 30 kids, middle school to high school aged was predicted. A few adults to keep things not on fire, or whatever it is adults do. I tried to come up with a good list of fun stuff they probably hadn't seen much of. Mostly games that were quick to pick up, nothing too obtuse. Also I didn't want it to be overly familiar, what's the point of having stacks of games if you can't show off something a little off the beaten path? Since this was for a group were the oldest one would have been born after 2001 I didn't think that would be too hard.





Several old consoles, a few handhelds, one to six games per machine, a dedicated screen for everything was my goal. I went to those piles of boxes. Some of what I wanted was easy to find, some not so much and some of it not at all. Two player Typing of the Dead didn't make the cut because the keyboards are hiding. Original Gameboy made it but not with Tetris, GB games are off in some un-found box, Pipedream was in the GB so that was what I brought. I did some cleaning, some of it had dust on it, some of the controllers were tangled with every other controller possible in the box...The Gameboy had some careless owner ahem leave the batteries in it when they moved which leaked. Fortunately Gameboys are made of adamantium and are impervious to all but fun. It cleaned up nicely after a very late minute disassembly.




You would not believe how many young people want to play the first Halo. So many times I heard someone come into my room and excitedly say "Is that Halo CE?! I want to play!" The weirdest thing was how many of them had current skills in the game, as in they've played it in the recent past. Several of them could navigate the menus and choose game types with ease. They could explain to each other the differences between CE and the later game in the series. When I joined in and played I wasn't able to go 25 and 0, the kids were pretty good Wink




There were two rooms set up at this thing. One with more current games and my room. There was another room to eat and play board games too. I brought 14 liters of Mt Dew because that seemed right. I think there was spaghetti and juice too but who knows.

In seriousness, the food was good and my wife complained of me smelling of garlic later, "They had garlic bread though!" I told her.





My room was used pretty well all afternoon. There were a few lulls in the action but not many. I got to chat with some of the other adults. One who had recently bought a Switch because he had to have Breath of the Wild. Another guy came in and immediately asked about the Vectrex, he then told me of the first video game he ever saw, I guessed the next thing he would say was going to be Atari but no, it was Pong, in 1971 though! I quizzed him about it later and he lived in the Silicon Valley area growing up. He had a friend who's dad worked for some tech company. Magnavox Odyssey didn't ring any bells for him so we were speculating he may have had some custom made pong console the dad brought home from work. We chatted a bit, pretty fun story.





I never got all of my machines set up. Even being there an hour early there wasn't time. No real need though. Kids were all over Contra, Halo and the Vectrex. Those three got by far the most playtime. There was some SMB3 and Duck Hunt. I got a few people to play Katamari Damacy for a bit. The new Oregon Trail handheld was tried out by several people, had one little girl come up to me at the end and say how she really liked it. Again it was funny how much the kids knew about the older stuff, one young lady, maybe 14? picked up my Game Boy and was like, "Hey! A Game Boy"

I was like, "Yeah! You turn it on by.....oh, you know how to turn it on..."
Her in all seriousness, "I'm a big Nintendo fan"
Me, "....awesome!"

She wasn't the only one either, how do these kids know how to turn it on so easily? I don't mean that they simply assume there is a power switch somewhere and look for it, I mean they just turn it on like they've done it a hundred times.





I put the Vectrex right by the door. So many people asked about it. The best part, aside from all the play time it got, was after me talking about it a few times, other kids started doing that for me. New person enters room "That thing!" other kids, "Yeah, it's a Vectrex, it came out in 1982 and was...."

The little kid in the picture, maybe he's 3?, played it for an hour I'm sure. A bunch of others too. No one even knew to complain about the controllers broken centering spring either, great stuff.





I didn't go into this expecting no chance of damage or loss. The only bad thing was this broken NES door. That one has the Blinking Light Win mod. Works great but games fit really snugly, takes a bit of doing to get  carts out. Probably, the kid was absently pressing it open in some way trying to get a game out. I heard a noise and walked over there, helped him out the rest of the way. Oh well, if that's the biggest loss I'll just count it as a battle scar.

I had fun, kids had fun, adults had fun. It was a bit of work getting it all together. Still wishing for game things to get organized here at home to make this sort of thing easier. While I knew to keep the game selection simple, next time it'll be even more streamlined. While I wouldn't go so mainstream as CoD or Madden, there isn't any need to drag out hundred hour RPGs or highly tactical grand strategy games. Fun and easy to play is the way to go. No need to bring out spendy collector items either, none of these people would know a hundred dollar shmup from a five dollar one. Game nights on the road are different than ones at home.

Anyone ever do this? Setup a mini traveling museum of sorts? Ideas for next time? I kinda wanted to bring Steel Battalion, Project Cars with a full race wheel and pedals, four NES Advantages with Smash TV, two player Typing of the Dead.....


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Comments
 
Looks like a lot of fun! Grab some Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries they are guaranteed not to leak.
 
Sounds great!
Oh, my friend, if you want advice/help/stories about traveling Retrocade/LAN paries, feel free to PM me.  We have... a little experience. 😉
 
That is so awesome!  I love this kind of stuff, so thanks for sharing.  You should take it on the road, especially with the four Advantage controllers.  The kids won't know why you are laughing at the announcer ("I'd buy that for a dollar!") but they will have fun.
 
@Addicted - Good to know about those! I have been re-thinking my use of batteries as it relates to storage for a while now. Growing up, my parents were stingy with batteries, we rarely got to use good ones. My dad mostly made us use rechargeable batteries way back in the 80's, they were super crummy. Didn't last at all. I feel like I am a battery baron with all the ones I keep in the house now. It's really not that many but I feel like it is  Cheesy

@slackur - Awesome, I want to hear your stories. One of the other guys there has a job where he gets to do gaming parties a fair bit with kids. All newer consoles of course.

@bombatomba - I could play Running Man on laser disc next to Smash TV. I'm sure the parents of 11 year olds would love it!

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