Grandma Takes The Mystery Machine Back In Time, Baby!
Grandma picked one up today and we'd like to tell about it. We named it the "Mystery Machine" because we are not creative and enjoy Scooby Snacks. Originally we wanted to tell the story by singing an incredibly long song accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a flute with a big orchestral part at the end, you know- to get in the mood, but the musicians were in a god damn union and demanded benefits.
The console is basically a preloaded Atari 2600, complete with B/W | Color switch and two joystick controllers. This fucker has 40 games on it, some of which I will list here to make the post seem longer:
Asteroids, Asteroids DELUXE, Pitfall!, Centipede, Yars' Revenge, Yars' Return, Maze Craze, Adventure, Lunar Lander, Missle Command, Outlaw, Combat, River Raid, Pong, Hanuted House, Space Duel, Millipede, Hangman, Atari Climber, Fatal Run, Radar Lock, Secret Quest, Aquaventure, Combat, Combat 2, and MORE!
Grandma and I hooked it up (A/V cables, thank god; I was worried I'd have to get an RF adapter for old time's sake.) and immediately began to suck at Pong. It's a fairly smooth version of the game; just two paddles, one fast little dot and the scores. The style wasn't as original arcade as Grandma had hoped (there are borders on the screen, she doesn't remember them being there,) but for $30 what do you want?
We then sucked at Pitfall! which now seems like a practical joke Activision played on Ubisoft. I imagine it went like this:
Ubisoft - "Man, I'm working on Farcry Instincts, it's a bitch coming up with these textures..."
Activision - "Yeah? Well here, here is an early build of Farcry we were working on, maybe it will help!"
Ubisoft - "Hey thanks! What is this, a cartridge?"
Activision - "Yeah, it's SUPER secret."
Ubisoft - "Okay..."
[30 minutes later]
Activision - "So what did you think of the game?"
Ubisoft - "Go fuck yourself."
The unit comes with the added bonus of historical accuracy of technological difficulties! The screen flickers occasionally, games lock up halfway through, sometimes a little lag ends up making the screen go black; just like old times! The errors are rare, but the system hiccups every once and a while add as a little frustration nostalgia treat. The controllers are single buttoned joystick type, and they aren't so bad. Forget the sensitive Logitec flight-simulator joystick made to conform to the ergonomics of your hand with fingerprint identification on the trigger; these controllers are light but stocky bricks of "go to the left! THE LEFT!!" move-yo-body joy.
The games are best played listening to The Who or The BeeGees.
It's easy to make fun of the old games, but these were the genesis of the industry. These are that which wet Grandma's curiosity until the invention of the NES; prepping her for Zelda, getting ready for Mario and MegaMan, teaching her, grooming her addiction to its current levels.
I have the same fascination with candy cigarettes.
In other news, Grandma is gaming hard in Growlanser III for the Playstation 2. Here are some choice transcripts of today's exploits:
Grandma - "That BITCH stole my APPLE!"
Me - "So? It's just an apple."
Grandma - "No, this apple was pretty damn expensive. Now this cat woman thing just STOLE it."
"No!!! NO! Fuck! They're killing all my turkeys!!"
"Come on.... Come on... COME ON, one guy left! Just one more GUY! If this guy doesn't make it I have to- FUCK!!"
"I only have one player than can attack indirectly, and she sucks. THIS chick over here keeps healing everybody so I have to KILL HER, but I can never reach her in time and Fire Arrows do dick to stop her."
"I hate this 'unknown ring' bullshit. I wish they'd just tell you if it sucks so you don't have to pay somebody to find out."
"Shit! He's paralyzed! [...] SHIT! HE'S DEAD!"
The only thing that upsets her in Growlanser III is the inability to save during a battle. On the first disc, she could achieve one objective in a fight and save her game to make death seem not so bad. Growlanser III has specific save points or one can save on the map, much like Final Fantasy.
Grandma has discovered how much you miss something when it's gone.