It all happened quite by accident. Oops! I was going about my web surfing life, jumping from site to site. I was doing some search for something at Yahoo! (I don't even remember what it was). There was an off-search-topic link that included a sniplet of content about a game called SINISTAR, one of my all time favorite arcade games. Of course I clicked the link, being curious about what I might find. I wondered, as the page loaded so painfully slowly, would it really be about Sinistar, the arcade game? Or would I wait through the seemingly endless "web wait" only to be disappointed to find out that "Sinistar" was some stupid white supremacist hate group? At first, I was disappointed to find out that there is some new game out there for PC only that either is or is not based on the original. To tell the truth, I never even stopped to look around and find out. For the most part, modern video games bore me to tears. It seemed that I had not found what I so fondly hoped I had. So I went back to my original search, only I found that I didn't really care to find what I was looking for anymore. I started a new search for SINISTAR. This search returned quite a few links, more than I had anticipated. I eagerly dug into them to see what I had found, if anything. I did have to sift through quite a few references to the new game Sinistar Unleashed (whatever) but finally there was a flicker of light. There was indeed a site dedicated to Sinistar, the original arcade game. The site included screen shots and descriptions of the game to enlighten those of the younger generation of what the game was all about. I was happy enough to know that there was someone out there that liked the game as much as I once did. But to find out that the site author had found a way to "dump" the ROMs of the game so it could still be played? I still had one major hurdle. HOW DO I DO THIS MYSELF??!!
Is this a dream?
Wouldn't be great if we could once again play all of the old games that once filled video arcades in neighborhoods just like the one I grew up in? Arcades so popular that they wrote a movie (and a game around the movie) about them (remember TRON?). Arcades that became so popular that even a rock band had a lame ass game written around them (remember JOURNEY?). Arcades that became so popular with the kids that laws had to be enacted to keep these kids from cutting their classes everyday to go and drop every penny the had into these machines. I am not sure if that was a nationwide thing but I remember the eighties in California. After the big craze of arcade games hit, they made it illegal for a kid to be in an arcade without a 18 year old parent or guardian. I guess it was for the best. Being a parent myself now, I can fully understand and appreciate these actions but when I was a kid, it sure did suck! The laws were not what you would call stringently enforced by the arcade owners (obviously, they wanted the kids in there plunking quarters into their machines). The cops tended to leave them alone, too, as long it was not school hours.
There are still arcades in malls around the area of California that I live in. But it is nothing like what it used to be. There was one on every corner. They were all trying to get your business. Big signs in the windows every time there was a new game that had been anxiously anticipated. Games so popular they had to enact play limits so that one or two people would not monopolize all of the time on the new game. And the new arcades are different somehow. For one thing, they are never packed like they used to be when I was a kid. I can remember not being able to move around easily just because there were so many people in the place. I am quite sure that many arcades had, on many occasions, exceeded the maximum capacity as posted by the State Fire Marshall. And another thing about newer arcades that bothers me is the lack of original ideas in arcade games that are coming out these days. Although computer processor power and graphic capability have increased greatly to allow for faster, prettier, more challenging games, the games seem to be missing an element of originality (or perhaps simplicity). I miss the old days. Not only because of the games but the games are a big part of it. Like I said, wouldn't it be great if we could play all those old games again?