I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by joysticks, twitching drooling elated, dragging themselves past the neon signs at dawn digging for their last two-bits, angelhanded gamers tapping for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of lights.
Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball, but, to be honest, I spent most of my formative years playing video games. I regularly haunted arcades in and around my neighborhood, and often neighborhoods far afield, just in order to get some quality pixel exposure.
I remember tapping a fire button twenty times for every shot on Taito's Space Invaders because there could only be one shot in the air at once. Similarly being engrossed in the camp lodge arcade near Bancroft, Ontario
with Space Zap's quad-directional firing pattern until my eyeballs dried over and someone played Queen of Spades
by Styx on the jukebox in the background. Hours spent at Queenston Mall playing Galaxian until the Food City got Galaga. Then over to Pepsi Pinball when aliens turned to insects in Centipede and Millipede.
I remember finally being able to master the the thrust, spin, fire buttons of Asteroids at Queen's Bowling as vector graphics spilled across the screen, but really having my mind blown with Tempest's spinning geometry and the ability to paint the playfield with fire.
I remember the advent of the trackball and consumption by the Xs and Os of Atari Football
at Eastgate Square, soon to be brought to apotheosis by Missile Command's patriotic defense of the cities as bombardments of pixellated gravity-drawn destruction rained down from overhead.
I remember sneaking to the downtown Casino arcade for the side-scrolling savior status scooping civilians in Defender, eggs in Joust, Scramble's labyrinth of fuel tanks and rockets filling me with Flash Gordon moments of space warrior invincibility, and Zaxxon's faux 3-D angles of doom.
I remember several doors down, at the Palace, strafing, guns blazing from room to room blasting robots in Berserk and Robotron while exercising a finesse with bow and arrow in Venture.
I remember Gorf
I remember fearing for my life at the Blue Lagoon Lounge all to stand in line for a yellow circle that didn't fire anything, but ate dots and was pursued by ghosts that looked like the McDonald's Fry Goblins prompting an onslaught of maze progeny that followed with Ms., Baby and Super Pacman, Mousterap, Ladybug, Dig Dug, and Mr. Do.
I jumped through carpal tunnels in Frogger.
I achieved transcendental states leaping barrels with Mario before he became the brand.
I travelled through the ages of Time Pilot.
I threw down the Gauntlet and it threw back.
I lived with Tron for half a year at 7-11.
I rented and stood in roller skates for hours on end, not because I enjoyed roller skating, but because Roller World had one of the best game selections in the city.
You can keep your Halo, Diablo, and Grand Theft Auto. Stop waxing emphatic about Wii Fit, Guitar Hero, and Call of Duty. I don't care if I ever hear another word about God of War, Final Fantasy, The Sims, or World of Warcraft.
Give me a quarter, a joystick, a fire button to mash, and a place to enter A J M when I get high score.