Video game memories

Wil Wheaton has reminisced about video games, and why not? And it’s prompted me to remember old video games, too.

  • Asteroids Deluxe, the short cabinet version, Elevator Action, and several others will always remind me of the 7-11 at Park Ave. Kevin and I would play that damned Elevator Action for hours.
  • Dragon’s Lair will forever be associated with Kellogg Bowl in Milwaukie, OR. I remember Terry putting quarter after quarter into it, while I stood around and watched, until he got to the end one night. He had done it before, and wanted to show me that at the very end (Spoiler Alert!), when the knight killed the dragon and rescued the princess, his helmet came off and he looked like our friend Andy.
  • There was a video game that involved landing on a planet that was only found at Kah-Nee-Tah in eastern Oregon; it was a black and white vector graphics game in a primitive cabinet. I can’t remember the name but I have a vague feeling it wasn’t Lunar Lander, though it may have been. I played it once during one brief glorious road trip, with Amy and Terry.
  • I and others from high school would play Battlezone, the tall cabinet version, at the Kienow’s in downtown Milwaukie, a store no longer there. Steve Kilgore was the best at that game. Kilgore was also the best I’d ever seen at regular ol’ Asteroids; he demonstrated the trick of saving one small asteroid, then flying up constantly and waiting for the saucers to come out, picking them off one by one.
  • I know there were games at the bowling alley in Gresham where mom and dad and Donna and Gary would play, but I can’t remember what they were.
  • And the sit-down versions of Pole Position and Red Baron, and several others remind me only of the arcade at Clackamas Town Center. I can still hear the sounds of that arcade, and feel the excitement of knowing all that entertainment was waiting for me. I can hear the jingle of exchanging quarters for tokens, see the specific brass color of them, and feel the groove in one side of the tokens that made sure you could only put the token into the slot one direction. I remember the red-headed guy who worked there, then moved next door to the hamburger place after a while, and spending hours talking to him. I worked in that mall, at a small game store that sold, among other things, Dungeons & Dragons books and dice, for six long years, and spent years there prior to getting a job, and the arcade was a favorite hangout. I could write a week of blog posts about all the silly things I did or saw there.