An Introduction to OLD SKOOL and Two Very Scary Scenes from Gaming's Past (Ahhhhhhh!)

Welcome to OLD SKOOL! 

Hello, my name is George, and here at the OLD SKOOL column I am going to take you on a journey through gaming’s past.  Each article will be a combination of videogame review, homage to the greatness of the "Old," and part personal story.  I not only want to break down the nuts and bolts of each game, but I want to tell my own personal story through gaming in hope to touch the other gamers out there who have grown up with video games from their earliest years.   

I Welcome discussion

It is my intention to elicit discussion.  Although many reviewers out there love to break down their vide games into categories in an effort to make their reviews appear rational I truly believe that much of gaming comes down to personal taste.  I do not consider my opinions the end all of gaming, however it is my hope that I can bring a perspective that is unique to the gaming community.  I welcome anyone to share their own views as it my hope to create an open and active dialogue on all topics discussed. 

Who am I? Just call me Captain ‘N’ 

Alright, I’m not really that conceited when it comes to my gaming and I have certainly gotten my ass kicked an infinite amount of times by human and non-human entities, but I like to imagine that at least at one time in my life I was knowledgeable and a fucking beast at gaming.  Whether I actually ever was is still up for debate.  With that being said, I want to introduce myself a little so that you can better understand my perspective. 

Video games were introduced to me virtually from the time I was born.  I have vague memories of a sometimes-working Atari sitting around my house when I was no older than three.  Around that same time, whenever I was being babysat by my cousins I would watch them play ColecoVision with its mentally scarring music and images.* (See Space Fury) By the time I was four I already had begged my mom and dad for my first Nintendo and somewhere in that time frame I was very effectively marketed for Nintendo Power.  In my piles of junk lying in a galaxy far away there lies the a very haggard first issue with the little clay model of Mario and his mushrooms on the cover. 

The First Edition of Nintendo Power

Nintendo Power First Issue Magazine 1 One Aug 98 Rare

(By the way i just saw this going for $34 on eBay! If I only took care of things… :(

After that I became engrossed in everything Nintendo and I found an appreciation for both the mainstream and the obscure games.  Along my way I dabbled in the world of Sega and tried to make a second home in arcades.  At my local arcade I was affectionately called "shorty" by all the twenty-somethings whose asses I would routinely kick in Street Fighter II.  At this point I may have been about ten…maybe twelve.    

The 16-bit generation was the last set of systems I loyally adhered to.  I got a SNES the Christmas it came out and explored the world as thoroughly as my parents would allow me.  (This is certainly where I fell in love with the Final Fantasy series)  I also got a taste of a wide range of Sega Genesis games thanks to some of my same-aged cousins.  Afterwards however, I was introduced to my first computer; a Pentium 90!  And this was at a time when most of my friends were playing on their pathetic 486s!

Once the computer came into my life I really did not go back.  I only scratched the surface with the N64, Dreamcast, GameCube, Xbox, and all the other mistake systems in between.  Since I often got the "hand-me-downs" in terms of computers, I rarely was able to play any of the current games.  In my boredom I discovered emulation and found myself re-exploring many of the games I had stumbled upon in my past.  I came to realize after playing many of these games that I was pretty stupid as a kid.  The puzzles were obvious, the past hard parts were a joke and the more confusing elements were often unveiled as being pretty dumb.  Despite this underwhelming discovery, emulation allowed me to explore aspects of gaming I never would have.  It was as if the games had transformed now that I had a pair of adult eyes and an adult brain.   

Lately I have moved beyond the realm of emulation thanks to a Santa and a new computer.  Currently I am thoroughly addicted to Fallout 3.  I really initially thought Bethesda screwed this one up when I saw the screen shots but I must say that they did an excellent job.  They included all the elements that made the series so unique and fascinating, and yet added features that make the game exciting and fast-paced. I love it!  It’s the fusion of turn-based combat meeting first person warfare all thrown into a choose your own adventure book. 

So there you have it, a little bit about where my gaming perspective has come from.  I apologize if it was a bit dry but from here on out it will be all about the games so get ready for the ride! 

*note on Space Fury.  This game to this day still haunts me as the horribly terrifying image and wretched sounds are permanently imprinted onto my brain.  I remember in an effort to overcome this stupid irrational fear I had decided during my freshman year of college to download a Coleco emulator and deal with my fear of the Space Fury alien face to face.  Even as a 19-year-old, the first ten viewings of this fucked up image gave me the chills.  Seriously what the hell were they thinking when they made this game?  They should have put a warning on this one; this game will leave PERMANENT psychological damage!  Sounds like a selling point to me. 

[flash width="425" height="344"]http:/[/flash]

Here’s a you tube video, reviewing Space Fury.  Turn to 1:09 on the video to experience the scariest moment in video game history!  WARNING**** This will scar you for life!

The only other game to completely freak me out like Space Fury was Goonies II for the Nintendo.  All I can say about this one is DO NOT DIE, otherwise you are forced to look at the most hideous picture that is supposed to resemble Mama Fratelli.  Even as a seven-year-old while playing this game, I always felt the anxiety of dying and having to face this ugly picture with her eerie sounds she made while the text appeared across the screen.  Usually if I did die I would run out of the room and have my dad take down my password.  In light of my attempt to overcome my Space Fury fears, I have completely avoided any intervention with this other mentally damaging game.


The Goonies II Screenshot

Now imagine this scary Mama opening and closing her eyes and mouth to the eerie quiet of nothing more than typing text sounds…It still gives me the chills…


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: George Brandes View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.