Can you go home again?

Can you go home again?



There is a certain fondness with which I recall my teen years. Not quite the kind of reverence that one reserves for nostalgia but there is certainly affection for that time. Some of my more vivid memories involve skipping class with friends and venturing to the local arcade; no this is not intended to serve as encouragement to others. Here my friends and I would spend hours feeding quarters to those hungry video game machines. Holding mini-tourneys to determine who was the best player at a given game. Galaga was my game of choice.

Well, now Macromedia has given me the opportunity to relive those days of yore. Through an agreement with Atari, Marcomedia Shockwave now offers Frogger, Centipede, Super Breakout and Missile Command available for play. For me it was an inexpensive stroll down memory lane. Inexpensive because these games don’t suck away any quarters, thankfully they’re free.

The game play remains true to the originals, if you played the monster machines you’ll remember how to play these. It’s like riding a bicycle. If you have been so unfortunate as to not have experienced the originals you’ll pick the play up very quickly.

The shockwave versions of these arcade classics bear more than just a passing resemblance to their forefathers. The biggest difference is the size of the shockwave games, while I didn’t break out a yardstick my guess would be that these games were no bigger than 2 inches by 2 inch. Eyestrain developed faster than a centipede could make his way to the bottom of the screen and the fun factor dropped just as quickly.

So, the look, feel and game play remains similar to that of the arcade machines but … there is something essential missing. Maybe it’s the sounds, maybe it’s the noise and general ambience of the arcade or maybe I’ve just grown up. Regardless, if you’ve been there before you’ll find that you can’t go home again. If you haven’t been there before there are certainly better places to spend your online gaming time and that’s too bad.

I realise that this article might be stretching the boundaries of my column, but well the whole thing was just too much to pass on.