Why old video games?

Date: 26.07.2016

I’ve passed the age of 40, I grew up with video-games in the eighties and nineties. Or did I?

Well, in a way. I never actually owned a video game console until I was in my twenties, but I’ve always been a gamer. My first memories of a computer game was at my friends house. His father had an IBM computer at home that could play Winter and Summer Games. When we learned english at school we advanced to Police Quest, Larry Quest and some other Sierra games.

My best friend back in the eighties got a C64 from his father, I remember we played Impossible Mission, Bubble Bobble and some other games on it.

My first computer was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K. It was awesome! I played hundreds, or maybe thousands of hours of Chuckie Egg, Penetrator, JetPack and a bunch of other 8-bit games on it. I spent more or less all my pocket money on the only game shop in Oslo that sold ZX games.

I remember some neighbours had the NES, but they pretty much only had Super Mario and Duck Hunt, and I thought those games was kinda boring. So I never really understood the whole Nintendo hype.

After I got my first Intel based PC (286 running MS-DOS) I was hooked on PC-gaming, and the next 5–6 PC’s I built myself. I espesially remember installing a pirate copy of Police Quest 5 from around ten 3,5 floppy disks… You really had to put some effort in, both to get hold of the games, and then to install them, if you wanted to play some games back then.

At some point gaming became mainstream, the games got bigger and bigger, and the share amount of games available just exploded. I think it had much to do with the arrival of the Playstation in 1995. At some point I lost interest in PC-gaming. It was around 2001. I bought a slightly used SEGA Dreamcast from a friend and played a lot with it for a year or two, and then for the next 15 years all I did was play games on my mobile devices (phones and tablets). Gaming with all the RPG, MMO, strategy and whatnot was just getting too time consuming.

Then came the Raspberry Pi

The amazing concept of the Raspberry Pi have spawned many cool projects. One of the more fun ones are the . It’s basically a linux distro based on Raspian with Emulation Station as UI, RetroArch and a lot of emulators. I wanted badly to try the old ZX Spectrum games again so I just had to try. It was dead easy so I couldn’t just stop there…

A year later I’ve built a NES replika, an Atari 2600 replika, a portable retrogame system based on the Raspberry 7 inch touchscreen and an IKEArcade station with LED buttons and everything.

I quickly learned that most of the games I played on my PC’s in the nineties was available on the SNES and the Megadrive too. I’ve also learned that most of the arcade games I spent my pocket money on at the mall as a kid was developed for the Neo Geo that you can emulate… and I love it!

It’s something about the instant fun when you load a 25–30 year old classic. Not all games are as fun as I remember them, but then I find some hidden gems I had completely forgotten.

I’ve also started a retrogame blog called  (in Norwegian), mainly to document my own development and the stuff I learn.

Some of my builds are based on RetroPie, others on the french project called . I personally love the Recalbox, it’s not as flexible as RetroPie, but the feel of it is much more professional and it has a wonderful web interface for uploading games and such.

I’m not sure what’s more fun though; To build the gaming machines, customising and writing about it, or the actual gaming.

Or… To be perfectly honest, I am sure. I’m not a very good gamer, but I love to build and configure the machines.