Choose Your Own Adventure

Since 1968, video games have just kept getting better and better.

When the first issue of reason was published in May 1968, hardly anyone knew what a video game was. But that was about to change. That same year, inventor Ralph Baer patented the interactive television device that would go on to become the world’s first home video game console. The very first computer game, Spacewar!, was conceived by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student just seven years before that.

As reason evolved into something bigger, so did interactive entertainment. Today, video games have leveled up to the top of the home entertainment heap. They’re a $67 billion global business, and roughly half of Americans say they play them every week.

There’s no deep mystery to the popularity of the medium. Video games offer something that reason has championed throughout its existence: individual choice and personalized experience. Gamers aren’t stuck with the pre-scripted narratives of Hollywood, nor are they mere onlookers watching the elites-only competition of big-time sports. Modern games put you, the player, and your individual decisions at the center of the story or the action.

This fall, gamers’ choices are about to expand even further. Sony and Microsoft, two of the biggest companies in the market, are preparing a new generation of video game consoles for release. Early announcements suggest that these devices will expand the roles of choice and personalization still further.

Sony’s new system, the Playstation 4, is built around social networking options that encourage players to capture their in-game experiences and share them with others. Microsoft’s new platform, the Xbox One, looks even more ambitious: The system is designed as a full-fledged home media hub, built to switch between TV, games, and a slew of other living-room media options. It’s voice-activated and motion-controlled, with biometric sensors powerful and finely tuned enough to make the Department of Homeland Security jealous.

Amusement junkies didn’t always have such power at their disposal. And they had to fight government censors and nannying legislators in order to get to where they are. As Steven Kent recounts in his 2001 book The Ultimate History of Video Games, early games were in many ways an extension of the pinball business. Because mid-century politicians associated pinball with in the first place gambling, they spent more than a little time trying to shut the nascent industry down. In January 1942, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia signed an order banning pinball machines from the city. Police were allowed to smash them on sight—and they did. More than 3,000 machines were either destroyed or hauled away as a result of LaGuardia’s order, which stayed on the books until 1976.

It was around the same time that the video game business we know today was getting ready to boom. The first home video game console—the Magnavox Odyssey—hit the market in 1972. Meanwhile, full-size arcade games like Pong and Computer Space were beginning to pop up in pinball arcades and pizza shops around the country. The teen-friendly pastimes were bound together even further in 1977, when video game entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell opened the first Pizza Time Theater—later to become Chuck E. Cheese—in San Jose, California. The kid-friendly concept restaurant fused a pizza shop with a sizable video arcade, and it helped pave the way for the windowless, screen-lit gaming rooms that would litter indoor malls and other suburban shopping centers throughout the 1980s.

At the same time that video games were expanding their retail presence, they were also infiltrating American homes. The year that Bushnell opened the first Pizza Time, Atari, a company Bushnell had founded just a few years earlier, released its first home gaming console, the Atari 2600. After a rocky start, the system eventually became a huge success, with more than 10 million units sold by 1982. Games for the system were laughably simple by today’s standards, consisting mostly of slowly moving jagged lines and solid blocks of color. But they suggested the incredible potential of computerized home entertainment, setting players and developers on a path that would eventually lead to the Xboxes and Playstations of today.

That path was not without its political hurdles. By the early 1990s, video game graphics technology had become far more advanced, and game designers used their new freedom to create interactive worlds that were far more detailed—and in some cases more violent—than anything that had come before. That grabbed the attention of national politicians. Sen. Joe Lieberman, then a Democrat from Connecticut, arranged for a congressional hearing on the marketing of violent video games after seeing splashes of pixilated cartoon blood in such pulpy fantasy action games as Doom and Mortal Kombat.

The hearings made big headlines at the time, as politicians scolded game makers for marketing what they said was graphic content to children. Several states followed up with bans on the sale of violent games to minors. But courts consistently overturned those prohibitions. Now, with the passage of time and the advancement of technology, it’s hard to see the games that inspired such outrage as anything other than nostalgic early amusements. While many of the highest-profile modern games still revolve to some degree around violence, some of those same games offer a visual and narrative sophistication that rivals any pop-culture competition.

And while those competitors are still telling people what the story is and who the heroes are, video game designers have a more laissez-faire approach: Let the customer decide. No longer are players stuck with bland protagonists made to appeal to everyone: Role-playing games give players the ability to customize their avatars and their narratives, making them as weird and wonderful as they want. Play as an orc. Play as a robot. Play as a man or as a woman. Play with a silly-looking helmet or a scary demon mask. Play as a robotic orc wearing a silly-looking helmet and a demon mask. Over the 45 years that reason has existed, video games have been expanding the freedom that pop-culture consumers have to make those decisions for themselves. It’s an attitude that reason has celebrated from the beginning: It’s your game, your life, your story, your choice.  

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tman||

    RELEASE THE VIDEO GAME NERD THREAD!!!!!!!!!

    I'm getting pumped for GTA, anyone else?

  • anon||

    Never liked "sandbox" games.

    I wish Jumpgate: Evolution weren't cancelled; don't have enough free time for EVE.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Never cared for GTA.

  • ||

    No one cares, trust me.

  • Libertymike||

    Cyto defiled Abe last night and will finger you or me or OM.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I tried to make love to the statue but it all went horribly wrong!

  • Killazontherun||

    It's not green paint like we first thought, sir. It's cum with a fungal infection.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's Warty's! Not mine!

  • ||

    Neither do I but I'm currently having some fun playing Sleeping Dogs.

  • thom||

    I'm getting pumped for GTA, anyone else?

    A game based around driving where the driving gameplay sucks? No thanks.

  • Peter Suderman||

    They claim to have fixed this. My hope is that it works more like the horses in Red Dead Redemption, which were much easier to control.

  • Tman||

    Red Dead Redemption is probably my favorite game in the last five years.

    By far the most I've ever been immersed in a video game. There were a couple playable cut scenes that were different than anything I've ever experienced in a video game before. A true crossover between movie and game.

  • Irish||

    By far the most I've ever been immersed in a video game. There were a couple playable cut scenes that were different than anything I've ever experienced in a video game before. A true crossover between movie and game.

    So how long have you worked for Rockstar Games?

  • Tman||

    Christ, I wish. They spent something like $150 million developing the new GTA.

    And the will make it all back in the first weekend it releases.

  • anon||

    They claim to have fixed this.

    It only took 5 tries?

  • Tman||

    Wow, lotsa GTA hate here. I didn't expect that.

    The last one I thought was pretty amazing, Niko was a compelling character.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Too late for me to give a damn. Too many repetitions of games for angry people who don't mind ugly graphics and-worse-third person shooting. I've heard Just Cause is way better.

  • ||

    I should probably clarify that I love GTA, my comment was saying that no one cares what a sociopathic Randian Canadian virgin like Cytotoxic thinks about GTA or whether he likes it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    And yet here you are, responding to me. Must suck to be an angry immature nerd that's kinda clever but not very smart.

  • ||

    That seems like a fair interpretation of his avatar, certainly.

  • JWatts||

    a sociopathic Randian Canadian virgin like Cytotoxic

    Canadian? That's a low blow Epi.

  • ||

    The truth cannot be denied, no matter how ugly. But let's face it, would you rather have an AMERICAN like Cytotoxic, or a CANADIAN?

  • cavalier973||

    Canadian virgin? Epi, can you not show a little decorum, please?

  • KDN||

    They really fucked up the controls in GTA IV. It understandably put a sour taste in the collective mouth of the game-buying (and stealing) public.

  • Zeb||

    I liked the driving on the ones I have played. But then I don't really like video games very much and was just fucking around and not trying to accomplish anything. It's a good game for that if you find absurd, fake violence amusing.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I'm more excited about SR4 here in a few weeks.

  • jeanmorita||

    up to I looked at the receipt which said $7068, I be certain that...my... father in law woz like realie receiving money in their spare time at there labtop.. there friends cousin has done this for only about seventeen months and just took care of the debts on their apartment and purchased themselves a Lotus Esprit. this is where I went,www.Rush60.ℂℴm

  • mtrueman||

    I'm not pumped. These games are infantilizing, and I don't see them as expanding player's power to make choices. The important choices are made by the designers and programmers.

    The most valuable asset we have as humans is the ability to focus our attention on a given task. Name any human achievement and it will begin and end with this ability to focus attention. Video games are a frivolous waste of this precious gift.

    "It’s your game, your life, your story, your choice."

    What a pitiful pass we've come to.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Back in the olden days, the home consoles could never match the graphic quality of the arcade machines. And then the gap started to close...

    I still visit an arcade - Pinball Pete's in Lansing - but it's more of a nostalgic tour + the awesomeness of Bubble Dome hockey.
    http://www.pinballpetes.net/

  • anon||

    Arcades were a piece of history the youth of today will miss out on.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I'm not sad.

  • anon||

    I am.

    I grew up in arcades and "hobby game" stores. Shit, if it weren't for Shadowrun, Titan, Europa Univeralles, D&D, etc, I'd still be socially inept.

    Oh wait...

  • Nazdrakke||

    Shit, if it weren't for Shadowrun

    One of the greatest scars of my youth was being unable to convince my gaming buddies to get into Shadowrun. CoC is still my favorite, but there was something.. honest about Shadowrun that drew me in. Sadly if it wasn't AD&D or Tentacular Spectacular they weren't going for it.

    /kicks pebble

  • Rasilio||

    One really has to wonder just how safe it would be to try playing Shadowrun online these days?

    I mean you basically have a game in which the heroes are a cross between freelance corporate spies and terrorists, can you imagine how many red flags an In Character discussion would set off on an NSA language filter?

  • anon||

    Yeah, I better wait until my dog dies. I'd hate to put him at risk.

  • Killazontherun||

    Shadowrun fans? You like that you might find this kind of fun.

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/decker/

    It takes the Shadowrun rule set for hacking and applies it to a mini ap rpg.

  • Peter Suderman||

    Most arcade games are significantly *worse* than their console counterparts now. Last time I went to a Dave and Buster's, I was sort of shocked by how crappy the graphics were, and how limited the gameplay was. The only thing arcades have is an ability to use different, more lifelike -- guns you can hold and motorcycles you can "ride", that sort of thing.

  • anon||

    So, you grew up and realized how big of a money pit arcade games are?

  • Nazdrakke||

    So, you grew up and realized how big of a money pit arcade games are?

    Ah but that was the beauty of it. There was actually something at stake. None of this sissy just hit the start button and try again stuff that we have nowadays. Back then you zigged when you shoulda zagged and BAM you're hitting up the creepy old geezer with the quarter dispensing device on his belt for another round.

  • anon||

    I'll agree; seeing how long you could stand at the Mortal Kombat machine gave you a sense of ... pride.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I was a GOD!!!

    I played MKIII version a while ago and the muscle memory 20 YEARS LATER was amazing. I posit that I could still kick some serious ass in that game, even be in the top 5%, all without touching it in 20 years (except that once).

  • Killazontherun||

    Back in the early 80s you went to arcades because, believe it or not, that is where the girls hung out. Remember Ms. Packman? It was the most popular arcade game during its run for a reason.

  • JWatts||

    The big hair days.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've long thought that when full-immersion VR gets good enough and cheap enough we'd see it start out in arcades. With full haptic interfaces, which makes me also think they might start out in strip clubs. But that's another story.

  • ||

    Do you really want to use the holodeck right after Lt. Barclay?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Can you imagine being the janitor who gets holodeck duty? Holy shit. I hope it's self-cleaning somehow. They don't seem to do much with robots, but they could have a holodeck program deal with it?

  • anon||

    What if the Enterprise itself is just a big holodeck, and they were just part of the program?

    Mind: Blown.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd be more worried about your own reality. Does all of this seem plausible to you? It's got to be fake.

  • anon||

    The sad part is I'm still considering what you've proposed.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Come on, a black president elected in a nation full of racists? The Red Sox won a World Series? It makes no sense!

  • anon||

    When the Cubs win, I'll know I'm part of the matrix.

  • Zeb||

    Two world series, muthafuckas.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I decided that when I started looking at people's names. I mean, Ayn Rand was the sort of person would name a "looter" Mouch. And who do we have riling women up to mooch off the public? Sandra Fluke. A fluke being an actual parasite.

    I mean, if I was reading a book by some unsubtle author and a character was named Rand Paul, I would assume he represented the intersection point between objectivists and christian evangelists.

    I guess the only real question is whether I am someone from outside the simulation but unable to realize it, or am I purely a product of the holodeck?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Bob? Did you have a bad dream?

  • Vulgar Madman||

    You need to wear more sweaters.

  • Zeb||

    I should think that it would be self cleaning. If transporters can work, that should be no problem.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, I suspect that's how Geordi and Barclay were dealt with.

  • anon||

    Wouldn't it be just a little weird to blow your load in a strip club?

    How much do you have to tip the girls to clean that up?

  • Pro Libertate||

    1. Apparently not.

    2. A lot.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Serious question: why is porn not a bigger thing on Google Glass? I have to think the possibilities are endless.

  • anon||

    It is, people just don't talk about it.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Well that's just shameful.

  • Ted S.||

    Isn't Google trying to ban porn apps from Google Glass? I seem to remember reading something to that effect in a comments thread on H&R.

    Google's motto really seems to be "Let's be evil!"

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I never quite understood why you would need an app for pornography. Is a browser not good enough or what?

  • ||

    You need an app to use Glass POV functionality in ways you can't with a normal display and/or that integrate your ability make your own stuff more conveniently than with a cell phone.

  • ||

    Google "Tits and Glass." It got banned by Google as soon as they announced it and before it was even complete. My understanding is the development effort morphed into some other porn supportive function but they'd have to shadow market it.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Have you not seen the porn commercial for google glass...hilarious!

  • Killazontherun||

    Occulus Rift builders have announced there first convention earlier this year. Goes well, it may grow to be as fun as Quakecon a decade ago.

  • Ted S.||

    I just wish I could find a fairly close emulation of Q-bert that worked on my PC.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Google MAME (Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator)

  • Rasilio||

    Most, but not all, there were these...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BattleTech_Centers

    A full cockpit Battlemech simulator with better gameplay and graphics than the Mechwarrior games that existed at the time and all networked together for 8 on 8 (and in theory up to 16 on 16 if anyone had that many pods) battles.

    I probably logged over 1000 hours on the ones they had at the Dave and Busters in Atlanta back in the late 90's

  • anon||

    Holy shit.

    That would be awesomely fun.

  • mrgruesome||

    Dave and Buster's is a shitty excuse for an arcade and isn't representative of modern arcade games. Arcades are dead in the US and most new games produced never make it over here, let alone to Dave and Busters.

    As I've gotten older I've pretty much abandoned consoles for arcade games. I sold a pretty big console collection and bought a sit down arcade machine in 2005 and I haven't looked back. Most of the games I bought for the 360 ended up being ports of arcade games anyway, with the exception of Ninja Gaiden 2, Vanquish, and Dark Souls. I much prefer the tighter, more focused gameplay of stuff like Dodonpachi, Raiden, and Magical Drop 3, games that really challenge your hand eye coordination and force you to improve. I like that arcade games are all about getting better, where console games seem to be getting more and more focused on being interactive cinema and providing lots of content. I'll take a tightly designed 1 hour arcade game over a Bioshock anyday.

  • ||

    I'm still only level 47 in Borderlands. I got to play last night for a bit at least, though.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Haven't bothered with the DLC for BL2 yet. Any good?

  • ||

    There are four. The Pirate one is OK, the Torgue one is funny as hell and pretty fun, the Hammerlock one is a massive pain in the ass but you level up a lot (I hate Vampire Witch Doctors with a passion) and the Tiny Tina one has been great--but tough--so far.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Guess I'll start with the Torgue one then. Funny is the best part of the BL experience for me. That and loot exploding out of dead bodies like a cluster bomb went off in a pinata factory. I like that part, too.

  • Mock-star||

    I agree with Epi's assessment 100% The dialog in Torgue is pure awesome-sauce.

    "I have one question and one question only............EXPLOSIONS?!?" makes me laugh every single time.

  • Nando||

    HOW CAN YOU PLAY THAT DRECK

  • ||

    Because it's awesomely fun?

  • Nando||

    how is it fun? everytime you come back you kill the same people.

  • ||

    It's an FPS RPG with random loot drops, amazing variety in weapons and shields, and is humorous and just an absolute blast to play. When I play a game, I want to kill things and loot stuff. I don't want to talk, or solve jumping puzzles. I want to kill and loot. And that's what Borderlands is.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, I like some killinz and lootin myself...

    Epi, you should try the new Call of Juarez, Gunslinger. It reminds me of a Western Borderlands.

  • ||

    Dude, I was able to play a few hours over the last two nights after not playing for a week. Borderlands is all I have time for at this point. I'll be lucky to ever reach level 61, let alone the fact that they're adding a new level cap to (I think) 72.

  • Hyperion||

    I hear you, my gaming time is very limited also, it takes me months to finish any game, because I only have a precious few hours a week, if I'm lucky.

  • Killazontherun||

    Fuckin' hate jump puzzles with a passion in a FPS. And Borderlands, is a shit ton of fun, though I don't replay much.

    I do like a strong story in games though. On the second play through of Dishonored. First time I was a complete sociopath and the world responded, often wonderfully, in kind. You could see the big third act plot twist coming, (Mild Spoiler: hell, the cute cleaning lady gives you a key to an abandoned apartment telling you to be ready when shit goes down, so not like they tried to hide it)Endofspoiler but it was the execution of it that was the pay off. Now I'm ghosting instead of killing, and some people who loathed me the first time around approve of my decisions. Though alternatively, there is one who praised me for being a killing machine who is still praising me, though I haven't killed anyone, even those he order me to assassinate. He should be calling me a big fat pussy, like Anna Navarro would in the first Dues Ex, if you played passive.

  • Peter Suderman||

    " When I play a game, I want to kill things and loot stuff. I don't want to talk, or solve jumping puzzles. I want to kill and loot. "

    I don't always feel this way. (Hence my love for talkfests like Skyrim and Mass Effect.) But when I do, I play Borderlands 2.

  • Peter Suderman||

    The Last of Us is one of the best games I've ever played. PS3 only, sadly, but if you've got a Sony machine, it's worth your time.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Does it play on the PS4? I would assume so since Sony isn't retarded enough to make its console not backwards compatible. Which is more than I can say for some companies.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I thought I heard it wouldn't be backwards compatible. I hope that's wrong, seeing as I own a PS3 and games for it.

  • Peter Suderman||

    It's backwards compatible via streaming, apparently.
    http://www.techradar.com/us/ne.....ar-1158049

  • Tman||

    Check out Yahtzee's review of the Last Of Us, which is brilliant as usual.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.co.....ast-of-Us#

  • anon||

    I love that guy's reviews.

  • Tman||

    Yeah, he's great at getting to the meat of the game and explaining why it either is or isn't worth your time.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yahtzee is a pretentious fuck with terrible taste in games. He never 'reviews' games he just strings together banal 'clever' sequences of words.

  • anon||

    So, which game did he rag on that you're a fan of?

  • Cytotoxic||

    He praised CoD: MW1 after a typically asinine non-review of Halo 3. Shit taste.

  • anon||

    I see. You like Halo. This might be your problem.

    FPS are meant to be played on PC.

    Well, actually, pretty much everything but driving games and platformers should be played on PC.

    If you play FPS on xbox/ps3, you are the problem, not the game.

  • Cytotoxic||

    No I'm not. I'll pass on 'clicking' my enemies to death. PC gaming: great if you've got lots of money to blow on so-so value.

    Halo: it's just fun.

    Yeah, he's great at getting to the meat of the game and explaining why it either is or isn't worth your time.

    Or he just prattles on uselessly like he does at least half the time. See his review of 'The Witcher'.

  • anon||

    You've just proven to me how little you know of gaming.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You've just vindicated every caricature of PC elitists.

  • anon||

    I fail to see a problem with that.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I always wind up getting a controller of some kind for PC games. Call me stupid, but there's like sixteen keys you have to remember to play a PC game, and I'm just not in the mood.

  • anon||

    You only use 16 keys?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Gee, and I thought I was exaggerating!

  • anon||

    Heh, you've got to have those keybinds right to win.

  • Ted S.||

    PC gaming: great if you've got lots of money to blow on so-so value.

    Then again, my PC gaming of choice is Go. What do I know about gaming?

  • A Series of Tubes||

    "great if you've got lots of money..."
    It's not as expensive as people make it out to be.

    "...to blow on so-so value"
    The Steam summer sale would tend to disagree with you.

  • Hyperion||

    FPS are meant to be played on PC

    PC is a far superior gaming platform to consoles.

    There is no real debate to be had about that.

    Sure, you will spend more. WTF, If you can, and want to?

  • anon||

    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't having a debate; I was just informing.

  • Hyperion||

    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't having a debate; I was just informing

    Trying to inform console fanboys is like trying to convince a proglodyte about Libertarianism. Can't be done.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Consoles for some games-the ones to play with your friends-PC for other games-the ones you play alone.

  • anon||

    Why would I play games with friends?

    I might feel compassion for my enemies or something, and that would compromise me winning.

  • Bobarian||

    Friends? What the fuck are those?

  • A Series of Tubes||

    "Consoles for some games-the ones to play with your friends-PC for other games-the ones you play alone."
    Disagree. Exibit A: MMOs, Team Fortress, Counterstrike, Starcraft, etc.

  • Killazontherun||

    His annunciation of words is terrible. European Ebonics, all the annoyance, twice the ear strain.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I like Yahtzee when he's reviewing a bad game. The problem is when he ends up revieing a game that isn't bad, because he has trouble filling time when he can't rely on his schtick.

  • Careless||

    Given that only some of the early PS3s (and none of the later ones) are backwards compatible with PS2 games, I think your view of Sony is misguided.

  • Tman||

    I liked the Last of Us, but I don't think it was THAT much different than a good ole fashioned Resident Evil zombie shooter. I did like the ability to fashion weapons and the fact that the surrogate characters weren't a liability as in other games but I don't get what all the hype is all about.

    Not to say it was a bad game, it was a great storyline and the characters were interesting, it's just that it didn't feel all that unique in comparison to other zombie/mutant games.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The Xbone One gets mentioned but not not the Virtuix Omni or Oculus Rift? The article should talk only of the last two!

  • Peter Suderman||

    I have failed.

  • Libertymike||

    This is one subject where I must raise the white flag to Cytotoxic. His knowledge in this area is encyclopedic.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I have no clue what's goin' on man #towelie

  • ||

    You're the worst character ever Kochtopus

  • I can't trust my fans||

    Suderman, you nincompoop.

    Everyone knows that there has only been one good video game in the history of the art.

    Your ignorance is pitiable.

  • GILMORE||

    Tempest FTW

  • Ted S.||

    Q-bert, as I mentioned above. The adorable little thing swore when he got killed.

  • Robert||

    Of course that meant he was cursing you for doing that to him. But not as much fun as the "Whooooaaa" and splat when he jumped off an edge.

  • Robert||

    Of course that meant he was cursing you for doing that to him. But not as much fun as the "Whooooaaa" and splat when he jumped off an edge.

  • Scott S.||

    I cannot look at the coverage of the pope's visit to Brazil without putting it in terms of the the way Brazil operates in the new Civ 5 expansion. That's a huge tourism bonus they've got going. Definitely heading for a culture victory, what with the upcoming Olympics in 2016.

  • Hyperion||

    I keep seeing it on Globo since wifey has it on that channel all of the time. I asked her what all the fuss is about some old dude in a funny hat.

  • Careless||

    I imagine they're more excited for next year's World Cup

  • Fluffy||

    I'm still looking for a game as fun to play as the arcade version of Missile Command (the big sit-down one with the big ball controller) was when it first came out.

    The award for "Biggest Disparity Between Memory of Fun and Actual Fun" is held by the arcade version of Defender. If you enjoyed playing that game as a yute, find one now and try to play it. Watch your memories of childhood disintegrate. That game sucked.

  • SugarFree||

    I think you might have been playing Defender wrong. The proper way is to push the joy stick all the way to the right (or left, if you swing that way) and fly around the planet as fast as you can firing the entire time. That way it becomes a slalom course of pixel-drenched ultradeath.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I endorse this method. I always liked Stargate Defender better, though.

  • Fluffy||

    The problem is that the graphics were truly horrible even for an 80's game.

    So you have a memory of this really immersive experience that felt JUST LIKE flying around on a strange planet fighting aliens and rescuing your buddies -

    - and then you play the game again and it's these square flashing lights on a screen.

    It's wretched.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I third this approach to the game. Also the best way to play Asteroids, FYI.

  • sarcasmic||

    My favorite arcade game was the Star Wars one with the funky controller and wire-frame graphics. I wasted a lot of money on that thing.

    Talked with a guy who sells games and vending machines and he said the reason that particular unit is difficult to find and expensive when you do find it is that they don't make the monitors for wire-frame graphics anymore.

    So I guess I'll never have one in my basement, because I sure as shit ain't paying several thousand dollars for one. Especially since it will never live up to my memories.

  • Tman||

    LOVED LOVED LOVED THAT GAME. Especially the music for it.

    I probably blew a few pillow cases worth of quarters on that game.

    I saw the actual game on Ebay once but I wasn't dumb enough to buy it. The bidding was insane.

  • ||

    I remember when I used to rule at this game called "Starfighter" and then this dude showed up and took me to a space station and then I piloted a ship and did the Death Blossom and I think I was on acid when that happened. Anybody else remember that?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Did you see some spy tortured?

    *shudders*

    That stuck with me forever.

  • ||

    Wasn't that the plot of Q*bert?

  • ||

    Q*Bert is a metaphor for Jesus dying for our sins, you idiot. How could you not get that?

  • ||

    I feel like the Cleveland Browns were responsible for my religious and moral education.

  • ||

    Did they let you down one last time?

  • ||

    I doubt it was the last time. Your mom said nothing she gave me was fatal.

  • Tman||

    Frank Reynolds: I went on a manhunt once. I just got back from Nam. I was hitchhiking through Oregon. Next thing I know there's a bunch of cops chasing after me through the woods! I had to take them all out, it was a bloodbath!

    Mac: Dude that's Rambo.

    Dennis Reynolds: And that's not the first time you've compared yourself to Jon Rambo by the way.

    Mac: You know what? This is making me think I could get on board with a manhunt.

    Frank Reynolds: NO! YOU DO NOT GO ON A MANHUNT!

    Dennis Reynolds: [Mac and Dennis start laughing hysterically] Screw you.

  • PH2050||

    They drew first blood!

  • SugarFree||

    I remember when I used to rule at this game called "Starfighter" and then this dude showed up and took me to a space station and then I piloted a ship and did the Death Blossom and I think I was on acid when that happened. Anybody else remember that?

    Yes, everyone that read Ender's Game remembers that.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    No, I think Epi, you were the last one.

  • Rabban||

    The Last Starfighter for the win. Cray "supercomputer" graphics and all.

  • sarcasmic||

    "You're all clear kid, now let's blow this thing and go home!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    Vector graphics.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah. That's the terminology. They don't make that shit anymore, so the price of the unit is insane. Sucks.

  • Fluffy||

    That one was awesome, especially the version you sat inside.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, the sit-down version for the win.

  • ||

    I installed Shadowrun Returns last night but only had time to get through the intro. Looks and plays pretty fun. Apparently it is very short though.

  • ||

    Europa Univeralis IV comes out in 18 days! So excited.

  • anon||

    If it doesn't take months to play a single game, is it really Europa Universalis?

  • ||

    Even when I had a lot of time to play some games would take more than a month to finish. It will definitely take months now.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    My first FFVII run was 80 hours.

  • GILMORE||

    (snif). anyone with refined tastes still feels that nothing has improved since Pong. This is why your generation has no imagination whatsoever.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Pong? Ha! Colossal Cave Adventure for the truly sophisticated.

  • ||

    ZORK UBER ALLES

  • ||

    I could never figure out the damn dam.

  • ||

    *I* broke the dam.

  • ||

    I had a fucking map and I couldn't figure out the curtain of light. Or was that Colossal Cave Adventure?

  • Pro Libertate||

    XYZZY.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm pretty deep into the original 2 Worlds now (elite edition), and a few hours into Call of Juarez Gunslinger.

    Just ordered 2 GTX 660 cards with 2G ram to SLI, to replace my old Radeon 5750. So gaming will improve again in a couple of days.

    Anyone here have a 3D monitor? Looking at one of those also, 27" ASUS 3D. Not sure if it's worth it though, but Skyrim in 3D sounds tempting...

  • Careless||

    I've got a 3d laptop. Used the 3d mode once before my daughter destroyed the glasses, which are like $200 to replace

  • Hyperion||

    The monitor I'm looking at is $450 with the glasses, but the glasses by themselves, the NVIDIA glasses, you can get on Amazon for $125.

    So how was the one try? What game? I don't really want to waste that much on a monitor and not like it, but no one I know owns one, and there are none in stores that I have seen. I can only read reviews...

  • anon||

    I wish 3d tv's/etc didn't give me headaches/nausea. :(

  • Careless||

    It was something random, like Heroes of Might and Magic 5. I'm not into the 3d thing, but I got the laptop as a free warranty replacement

    I also played WOW on the 3d television, which worked ok aside from the icons all sitting way in front of everything else.

  • Hyperion||

    I haven't tried to play any games on my 3D TV. But it's because I don't like the console(Xbox 360). It's hardly ever turned on. Probably the only game I will even play on it is Red Dead Redemption, because it's not available on PC.

  • PH2050||

    I agree with your assessment of RDR but have realized the amount of money invested into Xbox and its ecology is a waste compared to my PC since crybabies killed what MS was trying to do with XBone.

    I'm currently attempting to sell my console and all games.

  • Peter Suderman||

    I am actually a little surprised that 3D isn't playing a bigger role in the new console generation. 3D movies blow for the most part, but 3D gaming strikes me as an obvious entry point (it's all 3D already) for the tech.

  • SugarFree||

    I contend the greatest stand-up game is Smash TV. No buttons, omnidirectional moving and firing.

    I LOVE IT!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I loved that game. And I could play it for quite a while on a quarter. It was like Robotron in play, but it had more to entertain.

  • Careless||

    Still play that on the xbox once in a while.

  • Robert||

    Oh. I gather from the replies that there was an actual commercial game with that name. If it hadn't been for them, I'd've taken SugarFree's reference to Smash TV, a game where you stand up, have no buttons, and can move in any direction, as one where you use a sledge hammer or ax on a TV.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't understand all this old school gaming crap. I didn't get into gaming, really, until a few years ago, because gaming sucked ballz. I'm just waiting for truly immersive VR.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's going to be just over the horizon for a very long time, just like the practical electric car.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Look up 'Oculus Rift' and 'Virtuix Omni'.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    BUT DO THEY DO PORN?

  • Hyperion||

    They are already working on that, and I kid you not.

  • anon||

    Of course they are. Did you think the internet was *not* for porn?

    Silly human.

  • Hyperion||

    Only some nanny politicians think that. Of course, they are wrong.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Links?

  • Hyperion||

    I'm at work, no pr0n links. Google.

  • Hyperion||

    Oculus rift is getting there, quickly. I thought about getting a dev kit, but I have no time to mess with it. I'm waiting from the first commercial release, when they will have a true HD display ready.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Finally, PC gaming will be totally worth it. Except for The Division and other TPSs, most of which I don't like anyway.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oh and military FPSs like Battle Field might be good again.

  • anon||

    Wow.

    You are the reason modern games suck balls.

  • Hyperion||

    Modern games suck ballz? I know several that don't. But it's all just opinion.

  • anon||

    I'm more talking about the percentage of "good" games to pure shit.

    CoD:Black Cocks 2? Really? How many times can you rehash the same fucking game?

  • Hyperion||

    I don't like pure shooters. I like the FPS/RPG hybrids. Well, they aren't all shooters, but they are first person. Some of the ones I own, like:

    Skyrim
    Fallout NV
    Two Worlds II
    Borderlands
    Divinity II
    Risen

    That's just a few.

  • anon||

    Yeah, that's about 1.5 good releases per year.

    I just feel like back in the SNES days we had better games more often. I remember having to save up to buy Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Final Fantasy 3 within a year of each other, and to me those two particular games were about the best of their genres (at least until ff7).

  • PH2050||

    FF3?! I still play it on a PC emulator every now and then! Along with Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger, of course.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Did you ever play the original Deus Ex? Looks like shit these days, but its conspiracy-themed setting and plot is something I miss, in these days of drones, mass surveillance, and mysterious deaths.

  • anon||

    Never played the original, tried to play the second one and couldn't really get into it. Was more into Daggerfall.

  • PH2050||

    Invisible War sucked imo. Original is legendary, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was very good.

  • Ted S.||

    How many times can you rehash the same fucking game?

    Considering how many first-person shooters the commentariat here raves about, the answer seems to be "quite a lot".

  • anon||

    It's quite infuriating.

    I remember when Counterstrike took the throne from Quake 2. It was a pretty big fucking deal.

    Now everyone plays a shitty version of Counterstrike.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Except they're mostly better than CS. CS was not that good.

  • anon||

    And you continue to prove how little you know about gaming.

  • Nazdrakke||

    CS was a great game if you were interested in seeing how long you could go without being killed by some hacker's aimbot.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Or if you thought bunny-hopping was the epitome of gamer sophistication like anon apparently does.

  • anon||

    Utilizing game mechanics to your advantage, how does it work?

    Seriously. You have no idea that CS was the revolution that your shittier versions are based off of now?

  • Cytotoxic||

    But the game mechanics sucked. Halo is way funner.

  • anon||

    Now you're just trolling. Halo's movement is sloppy.

  • Cytotoxic||

    ...what?

  • Peter Suderman||

    Halo 4's multiplayer is rather nicely balanced. But the original CS was just holy-shit, take-up-arms, the-revolution's-here good. Sure, sure, there were hacker troubles, but if you were in college at the time, you didn't play random hacker dorks, you played *your friends and neighbors* on campus. And the social pressure pretty much prevented serious cheating. Meanwhile, the team-building and high-strategy of it all turned a video game into an intramural sport.

  • anon||

    Really the only thing I've ever had against Halo is the lack of a keyboard and mouse.

    If I had an xbox and one of those converter things I'd probably like it.

  • Dave Krueger||

    This reminds me. I ordered a new gaming mouse, keypad, and headphones a few days ago and...

    ...THEY ARE OUT FOR DELIVERY! YAY!

    But, nothing beats the days of getting slowly shitfaced while playing Space Invaders until my wrist was so sore I finally had to quit and go home.

  • ||

    Or playing Space Harrier on a Sega Genesis as your acid kicks in. I UNDERSTAND THE MATHEMATICAL PATTERNS OF THE GAME OMG

  • anon||

    Space Harrier was good shit.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm using a Logitech G710+ keyboard and a Rat7 mouse. The Rat7 rocks, I can't imagine using another gaming mouse now.

  • anon||

    Heh, same keyboard, logitech g500 mouse.

    Left CTRL key broke on the keyboard though, so I had to steal the right one so that I can crouch.

  • Hyperion||

    I definitely can't do without sneaking, since I usually focus on ranged attacks as my primary kill method...

  • ||

    Remind me which of you assholes didn't like the Scott Pilgrim movie?

  • ||

    Me. It was weak and Knives was so much better than Ramona.

  • ||

    Did the Michael Cera scene in This Is The End give you any closure?

  • ||

    Dude, that was playing at The Big Picture and I wanted to go see it tonight and they only had it for one fucking week and it's not playing there any more. FUCK.

  • ||

    It's worth seeing for the first half but I'm in the sizeable minority who things it kind of falls off a cliff after a certain point.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I scrolled through all the comments, and not one mention of the Plants Vs. Zombies 2 sequel that is about to be released?

  • anon||

    That's because we aren't *all* assholes that play shitty games.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    What game do you play while you're shitting, hmm wise guy?

  • ||

    This is the first plausible excuse for iOS gaming I've read. But I usually browse the web or read a book.

  • anon||

    Yeah, I usually read or browse the web, which I guess should be considered reading too.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Angry Birds...just like The Most Interesting Man.

  • ||

    Anyone else getting sucked into the Steam trading cards nonsense like me?

  • Ted S.||

    Nope.

  • Hyperion||

    I see that I have one. So I looked at it, and said to myself 'WTF is that'?

    And that was about it.

  • ||

    Potentially the best part is that when you get enough cards for one game you can make a badge and get a coupon for another game. Assuming you want the game you get the coupon for.

  • Hyperion||

    They have something like that on GamersGate. I've already bought one free game with their blue coins.

  • ||

    Oh, also, you can sell cards you don't want and then use that money to buy more games. Which could be a free game if you're patient and wait for the next big sale.

  • Rhywun||

    Dear god is there any way to turn that off?

  • ||

    Biggest indie game you're looking forward to? Probably Starboud for me. It's like Terraria in space, with multiple procedurally generated planets.

  • ||

    Is Bioware going to stop their EA influenced slide into suckitude? I just want Jade Empire 2.

  • ||

    I got partway through the first one before getting sidetracked. I should fire it back up; it was pretty entertaining.

  • ||

    It's better if you have read Bridge of Birds and acknowledge it as the greatest fantasy novel of all time.

  • Cytotoxic||

    No. EA is both disease and unstoppable force. Everything it touches it degrades and destroys, even itself if EA's stock price is any indication.

  • anon||

    That's the first thing I've seen you post today I agree with.

  • PH2050||

    Wasn't EA voted most hated game publisher or something?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Worst company overall, IIRC. Though it was an online poll, so a little skewed.

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    Bought too many games during the Steam summer sale and am trying to catch up when I have a second.

    Dishonored started slowly, but by the end I found myself really enjoying the stealth aspect of the game. Once I caught on to the general idea, I played a humanitarian assassin who refused to shed blood with the exception of Daud's assassins, the torturer, and the conspirators. Fun little game.

    X-Com has god-awful writing but fantastic gameplay with immense replayability in Iron Man mode and the secondary options (not created equal and hidden potential lead to some great and awful colonels).

    Started up Crusader Kings on three occasions and wind up shutting it down a few minutes later every time after trying to navigate my way through scores of buttons and flavor text and unrecognizable icons. I'm sure the game has depth, but the design is the opposite of enjoyable and intuitive.

    The new civilization expansion is pretty good if you can get past the idea that the entire game is an apologia for the god-king engaged in centralized planning. Future editions should have libertopia options in which populist liberal revolts rip control away from the player and force him to watch as the market determines technological and economic policies. Sure to be a hit with the kiddies.

  • Hyperion||

    I sort of loaded up also on that. That was a great sale. Borderlands 2 for $10! I bought several good games for under $5, that aren't that old.

    I also got Metro 2033 for under $10.

    I have so many damn games it would take me 100 years to play all of them.

  • ||

    Yeah, I've got dozens of games on my Steam account now, with only a tiny fraction of them beaten. /firstworldproblems

  • anon||

    You'll be surprised how fast you can blow through several games on a good week's vacation.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I need to get into Metro 2033. Now that is a game for the PC.

    Anyone here played STALKER? Is it good?

  • ant1sthenes||

    I played it back in the day, but stuck at some point with what seemed like an unlimited number of baddies guarding a chokepoint I needed to get through.

    It wasn't bad up until that, though.

  • ||

    Yeah, it's pretty cool. Somewhat RPGish -- the shooting/targeting is a bit different from a standard FPS. Another game I started but have yet to complete.

  • Hyperion||

    I have Stalker and all of the expanions. It's great, very hardcore shooter/rpg.

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    Completely forgot about Borderlands--I snagged the year pass for some insanely good price and forgot that I had it. I stopped playing around level 31 or so, so if I can ever get through the 20 or so new games that are sitting in my queue, I might return to it. Sort of like Diablo 3. I keep thinking I'll return to them, but there are so many new games coming out and in my backlog that I never get around to the old ones.

    Can't imagine what having kids does to the average gamer's life.

  • anon||

    Diablo 3 probably isn't worth returning to.

    Such a huge disappointment.

  • PH2050||

    After waiting so long for D3 (and playing D2 most of the time), there are no words in human language to do my disappointment justice.

  • ||

    Can't imagine what having kids does to the average gamer's life.

    Destroys it. At least, until you can get them to start playing with you.

  • ant1sthenes||

    This. Although, in my situation it's about both time and money.

    It's all good, though. I play Scribblenauts with the little one, and Terraria once everyone is in bed. Currently in the process of pre-HM quarantine procedures by drilling a few mine shafts to Hell.

  • ||

    Hah, nice. A lot of the indie platformers are fun for my three-year-old son. I play the more hardcore stuff in the morning before everyone else wakes up. We also just got into Skylanders about a month ago.

  • PH2050||

    Hmm. Having child slaves to grind for me in MMOs is the first valid reason I've heard for reproducing.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Speaking of video games... Elien Kiel or Evon Gnashblade?

    #TeamKiel here

  • ant1sthenes||

    I should really get back to GW2. It's been months since I played. Anything new I should know about?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Yes, this new faction called the Aetherblade showed up and murdered one of council members, and there's currently and election being held to determine the replacement. Eilen Kiel (former head of the Lion Guard who you may remember from the Southson Island incidents) and Evon Gnashblade (head of the Black Lion Trading Company). Lion's Arch is also trying to negotiate a trade contract with the Zephyrites (the descendants of Glint's followers in GW1).

  • PH2050||

    You know...I have that game and leveled a guardian to 18 I think and haven't played it in a year. I didn't have the time then but I might return. The problem is I get too wrapped up in living out my libertopia fantasies in EVE Online.

  • OldMexican||

    The first home video game console—the Magnavox Odyssey—hit the market in 1972.


    My dad bought that one on a visit to Laredo, TX, back in 1973. The console itself had no CPU, was mainly an analog/digital contraption that used different circuit cards that contained the "games." The console included playing cards and vinyl sheets (that you would stick to the CRT in your TV) that had different things drawn on them, like football fields or hockey rings and such. The games consisted, mostly, of a few light squares you could move with a pair of control boxes with knobs. It was as clunky and primitive as you could get.

    After just a few hours of play, my dad put the whole thing in a box and placed it in a closet until we moved to another city. In 1977, he bought a Coleco Pong, which was a blast to play. We never purchased an Atari or any other console since, because we became more interested in personal computers, which had plenty of games themselves. It wasn't until I got married and moved to the US that I bought a PS2 - my very first modern game console.

  • Robert||

    Remember the loophole-exploiting games that Bally, Chicago Coin, etc. produced to get around the pinball ban? One common type had all the features of pinball except that the ball was put in play by means other than a player-operated plunger. Some were 3-D affairs where the ball didn't merely roll, but bounced around thru the air in the enclosure. There were some that included a miniature pinball table within that was triggered by certain scores the player made.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    I just now started playing World Of Warcraft. I'm always way behind on fads.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    Anyone up for a Freecell tourney? Can't beat the classics.

  • Samuel@ T Shirt Sayings||

    I will be more prepared to face the future of video games that will be highly developed and growing rapidly. video game for me is not just a game. It was the appointment of a challenge, courage, strength, and proper strategy while playing. For me, a video game addict is the genius who likes a challenge.

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