Vintage – or “retro” as many call it – has been the rage for a while. Whether it’s cars, clothes, vinyl, or video games what’s old is new again. There’s been a renewed interest in old video games, both stand-up arcade and home consoles, for a number of years.
In the early 80s, after several years of trying, I finally succeeded in wearing my dad down to the point that he bought the family an Atari 2600 Video Computer System. Think Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun in the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story”, but for me it was all about the Atari 2600. I fondly remember the marathon Pac Man high-score sessions, me and my dad playing for hours on end – in the days before you could pause or save a game – trying to beat our high scores.
In those days I’d ride my bike to the local K-Mart in Herndon, VA to check out new Atari game cartridges and to play the stand-up games in the video arcade at the back of the electronics department. It was the greatest “twofer” a future computer geek could ask for.
For many of us “mature” gamers there’s clearly a nostalgia component to retrogaming. Whether it’s an Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx, or Jaguar, a Sega, Nintendo or other system, many of us enjoy the journey down memory lane. I still have that Atari 2600 today. For others retro-gaming is a fun look back at the history of video games. The vast number of retrogames available ranging in styles from restyled console systems to the stand-up mini-arcade machines from companies like 1UP point to the continuing popularity of classic games.
But, what if your interests span multiple systems? Thanks to a number of savvy programmers and assorted groups all over the world, there’s an opportunity for the DIY crowd to create their own multi-game system. In our first Jham Session project we’ll explore building our own retro-gaming system. How far will we go? Most likely to 11.