|Wil Plays a Centipede
Wherin the author of this blog decides to not sign up for a ‘free trial’ just to make a comment on typepad.
I run my own code, mofos. boingboing mods probably wish they had an equally effective blockage for my brain leaks. So far my comments don’t get deleted, and I follow the relevance rules, mostly. Just that one time I got reverse-trolled. “Oh, you write so eloquently”. Water under the bridge.
Anyhow, I thought I’d ramble on Wil-style without the benefit of say, experience writing blogs longer than a paragraph accompanied by a larger image than the article. So that’s why this is not so good.
Living in the future of the past
When I grew up, I managed to karmically gain a living in a slow-speaking town. In the days before everyone went all paranoid and locked the kids into a safe zone. Just a point at 8 years old when you go through the obligatory bike-balancing lessons and general admonition not to ride into the path of a car. That’s about it. Free range-children, to quote another blogger. Hell, all I had to do to gain the privilege of owning a B-B gun was going through a gun safety course. Bite it, Christmas Story kid. Eyes, not put out to this day.
In my time, skates had four wheels apiece, on each corner of the shoe. I was also privileged to be able to wander to Beech Mountain, NC where winter sports included ice skating. Still to this day have not attempted that weird hybrid they call inline skating.
The author loses track of the topic
Oh yeah, thank you, boldface paragraph separator. I think I was supposed to be recalling that the skate arena had disco lights, you could fix your own exotic drinks at the soda fountain, and play pinball or Space Invaders. Sometimes skating if you had the time. Never did learn proper backwards skating. I can still recall exactly where the machine was, and the special dynamics required to stand still playing a video game while wearing skates. Tricky, that.
He still isn’t getting to the point
Okay, paragraph separator, you’re merely a fragment of my imagination. I’m talking here.
It seems that, like Wil, I managed to keep a inventory of where the arcade games were in each particular exotic location I could go to. Only problem I had there was the trust I put in others to not steal my BMX bike while I was inside playing. Eventually, you figure out to carry a bike lock.
The mall’s Gold Mine, is still around in some hideous mutation today as a dance-dance-dance-resolution/ Area 51/Carnival ticket dispensing loud place.
It was new at the time
I also would frequent a honest-to-buddha arcade where I got to play a brand-new-this-week Donkey Kong Jr., William’s Joust, and a host of many many games that filled up a retail store..
What is now often taken up by boring ‘Everything’s a Dollar’ stores. Sure, you kids have the wireless mega-processor Wiis and your 360s, but everything is new at one point in time, and 30 years later kids will look at those things as quaint. It’s all new when it’s new to everyone.
Build your own arcade controls
It took years, with uncooperative arcade operators grudgingly letting loose of bits they would otherwise throw away (as I found out much later) for $10, I had me a real arcade control panel that would mutate over the years as I hooked up Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and currently, a USB control system. Still have the same panel, still bearing the 1987 date burned into it from my trusty soldering iron.
Timing is everything, a watch is not
Unfortunately, the home video game market, with Atari’s always-deceptive box art not matching the game contained within, was eroding the very thing it was attempting to capitalize on. Corporate greed, mismanaged resources and the ever-loving need for profits drove the big companies out of the arcade business right about the time I should have been employed at one using my primal geek skills, in the days when typing classes were an exotic art usually reserved for future secretaries.
Career Inopportune Moment
I even managed to eventually get a job at a arcade/cheese pizza place, and demonstrated competency above and beyond the job description (and pay) but it was also a training ground for the chain’s manager droids.
Miss management, mister management, squared
I had half-a-dozen managers running around barking orders to me and the other employees as practice for their future pizza joint middle-manager-careers. Drove me nuts. Left for a day, changed my mind, but by that time it was too late. They wouldn’t take me back.
Does this guy ever get to the point?
Yeah, I’ve taken those disused arcade-fixing skills and mutated it into going into retail establisments and swapping out their registers, kiosks, and fax-machine mechanisms. Exotic locations, and the Power of Geek empowers me to wander to a store and rip their equipment out and they’re happy to have it done, since they don’t know what to do about it if something went wrong. I just follow procedure, and even if the train derails, I get paid.
Back to the future of the past, present tense
I’ve taken some of those funds and gotten hold of some 80s video games, but the first one I captured was an Atari Centipede. It’s since expanded to a Galaga, a color vector Gravitar, a Galaxian, and a converted old Asteroids Deluxe (as seen in the bastard’s toy room on Silver Spoons, don’t recall them ever actually playing the thing) and made a Spaceballs:the arcade game themed MAME-running machine.
And the point is?
I can go into the living room and work on my Twin Galaxies-eligible high scores at my leisure,
something Wil cannot. Well, at least until he convinces his family that Such A Thing Would Be Neat.
Of course he has a career, kids, and a much more popular blog, but I know someone who’s been on a Star Trek set and sat in the captain’s chair, so I’ve got my equivalents. And a much more obscure television career including such things as the local Romper Room, a 30 second commercial featuring me on a skateboard I couldn’t ride properly, and the secret knowledge that I contributed to a David Letterman Viewer Mail segment back in the NBC days.
I am not Wil, obviously
Never did see a dead body by the railroad track as a kid , but that, actually, is fictional, Stephen King and a good thing. And I did get many travels into Space with some tasty Jerry Garcia jams back when he was both alive and Dead.
Really, I think that’s all I was going to say. My mind tends to expand the process a bit.