My Life as a Gamer - Part 2 - The Tales of Aquatic Birds and a Birthday Party for a Rabbit
After I became addicted to video games on that fateful day in 1989 I had to have more games to play, all the time. Thankfully back then, my Dad was just as into gaming as I was, so he gladly bought the games on his own, with minimal haranguing from me. Two of my earliest games I can remember (apart from the wonder that is SMB) are Duck Tales (by Capcom) and Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout (By Kemco). Both games were platformers like Mario (my first gaming love) and both were licensed properties. Yet both hold dear and warm places in my heart and if you'll bear with me I'll explain why.
I'm not sure when I first played Duck Tales, how far I got into the game or even if I was good at it, but what I do remember is how much fun I had. Capcom, even then, were masters of the video game art. The game was simple yet elegant and devilish in its difficulty. You play as Scrooge McDuck who decides that he is not quite the richest duck in the world and sets off to collect riches all throughout the world to achieve that goal. Riveting stuff. However, I clearly remember having the time of my life playing it. Bouncing around the screen as old Scrooge, using his cane as a pogo stick and of course, enduring monumental slowdown when 4 or more sprites appeared on screen at once. I remember the sound effects and the music. I remenber the enemies and their patterns. But most of all I remember it being the soundtrack to my life, for at least a long while when I was 5. It may have been a week but to a child a week is an eternity. I recently bought a copy of Ebay and played it again. All of those old feelings flooded into me, and suddenly, if only for a few minutes I was back as a 5 year old, cross legged in front of the TV trying to figure out just how something so wonderous could exist.
Ahh Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout (BBBB). This was the absolute crowning jewel of my game collection back when I got it. I remember that I had received the game as a gift for my 5th birthday. My Dad, as you can probably gather, was nuts for cartoons, games, you name it. As such I had grown up with a healthy diet of Looney Toons, Anime and Gaming. I was a Bugs Bunny addict at 5 years, I even had a stuffed toy rabbit I had named Bugs. When I got the game for my birthday, I hit the roof with excitement. Not only was it my birthday, it was Bugs Bunny's as well. It was so cool. My birthday that year fell on a school night so Dad let me play until about 7.30-8pm before he caved and told me I had to go to bed. I was a good kid so I complied but Dad could tell I was depserate to play more so he promised me if I got up extra early I could play a bit before school. Well, famous last words. It's a story I've heard my Dad tell many times and it goes like this...
"Suddenly, in the middle of the bl***y night I can hear something. It's pitch black, so I'm thinking to myself, what the hell is that. I'm listening harder and then it gets clearer. LA LA LA LA LA. It was that f****n music from BBBB! I look at the clock next to the bed. 3-effin-30. So up I get, tired as all F$@#, stagger into the lounge room still half asleep and see Leo cross legged in front of the TV, huge grin on his face, bouncing up and down, playing the Nintendo. He spots me and I half whisper, Leo it's 3 in the effin morning, you've got school tomorrow, get that off and get to bed".
Ha! It makes me laugh every time and was probably a good indicator of my future levels of gaming obsession. In fact, that was just the tip of the iceberg...
Next time: A man made of rocks, who's also a robot?!