Dorky Daddy: Then and Now – Video Games

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Let’s just skip the whole I’ve been missing from the interwebs for a few months and now I’m back and better than ever thing, and just accept that it’s time to get dorky!

If you’re not familiar with the “Then and Now” series, here’s a brief recap: I write about various things that children have or do and compare them from when I was a kid (then) and to whatmy kids have (now).


One of the very first video games I remember is Kaboom for theAtari. I’m not sure that I even ever played it, that’s how young I was; but it’s definitely one of the first, if not the first, games I have a memory of sitting down and watching it be played.

I’m certain I’ve played Atari games before anything else, but the first memory I really have of playing a game is awarded to Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt– both games were packaged together on one cartridge for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). I’d venture to say that a lot of people from my generation, that I’ve dubbed inbetweeners (not quite Generation X, but also have a hard time relating to Millennials), would say that those games were also their first.

There are arguments, all valid, that video games from when I was a kid are better than today and vice versa. Sure, we had pixelated graphics, and didn’t have save points in the beginning; but those things are special to me. My best video game memory involves Bugs Bunny Birthday Bash and how impossible it seemed to be. And I’ll always have a soft spot for retro graphics, specifically from the 8-bit and 16-bit days; again I can safely say my generation likely feels the same– it’s one of the reasons we see these awesome indie games made with those graphics.

The most important thing, I feel that there were more quality games from when I was younger. Obviously not in the graphical department, but graphics and game play will always be trumped by story (in my opinion). Almost all of my favorite games are from the N64 era or earlier.


Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played plenty of games that are around today and enjoy them. But only a handful of them are in the same lists as the older generation consoles.

All too often, a game is designed to look beautiful, but game play and/or story is given the short end of the stick. Before you start commenting examples to prove me wrong, I understand there are exceptions– most notably (again, in my opinion) The Walking Dead Season 1 (and even it’s sequel, The Walking Dead Season 2).

Aside from graphics, the best thing games have going for it now are innovations to game play. The Wii was a game changer. Although hardcore gamers are likely to disagree and state thatX-Box 360 (One) and PS3 (PS4) are the better systems, theWii did something that the others couldn’t do… bring the unexpected to video games.

Elderly people all of a sudden were now able to pick up aWiimote and play a game. Again, exceptions to every rule, but that wasn’t really happening with the other systems. AlthoughNintendo is not quite what it was when I was a kid, they still are a game changer and important part of the video game industry. To me, they will always be my go to system of choice.. luckily, as an adult, I can afford to own multiple consoles! 🙂

For me, I will always look back at what video games were and feel bad for the future generations never being able to experience it. I can enjoy what today’s world has to offer, but it will rarely deliver the way games like Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy III/VI, GoldenEye, and so many more did.


Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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