Right then, retro gaming is pretty in vogue now. Not always the way, but there is a pretty big contingent of retro themed youtubers, collectors, events and more besides and now, I, Rudy Manchego have caught the bug.
Well, caught is probably the wrong word. Its not some venereal disease or something, though it can cause some discomfort if not handled correctly. By that I mean, I have always cherished my old consoles. I still have the NES, SNES and Gameboy from my childhood. I still have a stack of games and just couldn’t, couldn’t face parting with them. However, I have lost bits and bobs along the way. My SNES cartridge boxes, once in mint condition got binned in the move to Uni when they were worth feck all and I needed space. The cardboard NES box is dead and when I had my first child, I got rid of an old Atari Jaguar, Gamecube, DS, PS1 and PS2. Now I find myself wanting to go out and collect them all again.
Why is this? Well, as my co-host has remarked, I am a console whore. I don’t need games to play. In fact, quite the opposite. I really DON’T need games to play. The current gen titles are already stacked up like you wouldn’t believe and I still seem to be collecting them up. In some cases, I’m not sure I really want to play them all again (or at least, all the way through or regularly). I mean, a lot of older games were really difficult and I suck at anything more basic then Lego Star Wars. So it isn’t like I yearn for the better or harder games of yesteryear. Is it because I live in a vast mansion and need to fill it up with stuff to occupy my useless life? Nope – my house isn’t tiny but neither is it a palatial estate with lions, tigers and goats and all that shite. It is full of stuff for kids because despite being small, the little buggers seem to take up a lot of space. Is it because my wife finds it sexy as hell and wants me draped in as many controllers as possible, my giblets covered up by the impossibly chunky OG Xbox beast? Sadly not and I could probably just use an old Master System controller for that.
The thing is, I think I might have sussed what retro gaming means to me and it goes back to my childhood. I have loved computer games and have played many systems but many of them weren’t mine. We didn’t have much money and while I certainly never did without, I rarely got things new. I first got a hand me down BBC B Microcomputer from my cousin which was great but then he had got a new Sinclair, and Master System. I got a NES when a school friend sold it to my parents when he got a SNES. I got a SNES just as the PS1 was about to launch. I got an N64 second hand when the PS2 and Gamecube launched. You get the picture. I loved these consoles and was spoilt for games on them. I’m not moaning. Yet, other friends would have consoles like the Mega Drive, Mega CD, 32X (feck knows why), or later the Saturn, PS1, N64, etc. I would go round and play everything. Not only that, but I loved gaming magazines, my favourite being Total Nintendo magazine and the big old ads at the back would advertise all the rival consoles, plus exotic systems like the Neo Geo or doomed to flop launches like the Amiga CD 32, 3DO or any Atari console. I wanted them all.
Of course, all first world problems. My first brand new, in generation console was probably the Nintendo Gamecube and I loved that console. Gaming took a backseat in my late twenties and early thirties but now it is back to being my main passion and it means I seem to want to go back and get all those gadgets and bits and bobs I couldn’t have when I was younger. Not because I feel entitled but perhaps, now, I can appreciate them as being things that really captured my imagination. Seeing them again makes me feel like I did back then. Excited with all the possibilities.
What does that mean? Well it means the small office space I have is now crammed with no less than 12 old consoles with more undoubtedly on the way. Can I play them all? No way. Can I look at them and occasionally drag a controller out and play? Sure. Can I collect some of the games I’ve always heard about but never played or played but never finished? Indeed and it places me in a new niche of a hobby I love.
Now, where did I put that copy of Conkers Bad Fur Day?