Why Hand Held Games Make Me Feel Old
About two weeks back, I was going to meet some friends to see a movie. I, and another friend, arrived early, and as so often happens these days, out came the iPhone.
We played Battleship on my friend's iPhone. I mention this to illustrate two points; the first is that I rock at Battleship, I won four games to zip, and secondly, to show just how far portable gaming has come in my lifetime.
I still have my original Gameboy, and as of last night when I resurrected it with four AA batteries, it still functions. Ditto for my Gameboy Color, and GBA. Heck, my Game.com can still wheeze to life. As a kid, and as a young adult, I loved portable game systems. I have since I first got my Donkey Kong II multi screen, back in the late '80's (Which also still works).
Lately though, I haven't been a consumer of the newer hand held systems, I just don't see the point. I know that the Nintendo DS has some great games, and every time there's a new Medieval game, I feel a pang of regret that I don't own a PSP, but overall I don't feel the lack.
This might be explained away because anyone who owns an iPhone, or any other smart phone, can download a proverbial infinite universe of games. But I don't have a smart phone. For reasons having to do with my inability to keep track of anything smaller than a breadbox about my person, I carry a very bare bones phone system.
Phone games are too ubiquitous in any case. There's too many. In many ways I pine for the early days of the Gameboy, when you could name a game to any other owner, and have a reasonable chance of the person knowing what you were talking about. I miss that camaraderie (And yes, I've played Angry Birds), that just doesn't exist among the largely utilitarian phone owning public.
Looking back, it occurs to me that I never really took my portable devices anywhere as a child, anyway. Which also explains why I still have those, while a seemingly endless parade of cell phones have gone before me. In the late '80's and early '90's portable technology was cool because it was small, and small computers were novel. They just simply aren't anymore.
I loved my old hand helds, heck since the GBA had so many NES and SNES games ported on to it, I still use it for playing classic Zelda, Altered Beast, and Mario 3., it's just easier than getting my original NES out, which if you read my first blog post, is a forty-five minute drive to my mother's house.
So, for me, hand held games are essentially me, sitting in my living room playing games that were made when Culture Club was on the charts on my aging game machines, muttering to myself about these young whippersnappers who take for granted being able to carry thirty games around one device in their pockets...with no cartridges!
And that's why hand held games make me feel old.