My first home computer was a TI-99/4A. I enjoyed playing Adventure, Tunnels of Doom, Munchman, Car Wars, Alpiner and many other games for many years on this little machine. As a youth, it was these games that inspired me to embark upon the quest of developing my own game. I’m not sure how many kids asked for the TI extended basic cartridge for Christmas, but I did. That allowed me to make the ultra cool speech synthesizer say whatever I wanted it to.
From there, I was off to the races. In an effort to make an Olympics style sports game, I wrote letters to several different embassies requesting sheet music for their national anthems. Most of them complied. Unfortunately, Epyx beat me to the punch with it’s successful series of Summer Games, Summer Games II, Winter Games, World Games and California Games.
That experience, however, helped me learn algebra at a very early age and gave me the logic and problem solving skills that are now a huge part of who I am.
What did I miss out on?
Well, while I was busy trying to make my own game, many of my friends were playing some pretty cool games on the Atari 2600 and later the classic Nintendo Entertainment System. I was so jealous of them and they were probably so bored of me always wanting to play Castlevania or Excitebike every time I was over at their houses.
Fortunately, I have rectified that situation 30 years later. I built a retropie with my raspberry pi 3. It was so easy to build that just about anyone can do it. I wrote a step by step tutorial to help those who aren’t software engineers out. The result is a system that plugs right into my TV and lets me play hundreds of classic video games from the Atari 2600 to the classic Nintendo Entertainment system and even other consoles like the Sega Genesis, Super NES, Nintendo 64 and Playstation 1 – all for less than $100.
I’ll admit that my standards for video games are a little higher now, but it’s pretty awesome to revisit these old classics.