Stuck in the past

We’ve had a sick lad this week, so normal service will resume next week but in the interim, here’s a post I have for such occasions on how I utterly fail to move with the times!


Like many grown up children, I still consider my parents house sort of free storage for “stuff” I want but don’t necessarily have the space to store or the inclination to use currently. I do however live in constant fear of my stuff being lethally disposed of without so much as a by your leave. This is mostly as a result of all of my Action Force sets and figures mysteriously disappearing a few years ago; one of the few things of genuine value to me that I hadn’t previously rescued. Every time I pop over there now, I have a rummage and take some things home with me.

I popped over with a brace of the kids on Saturday, the other one still at home for reasons that required the use of a bucket and mop the previous night, and while they distracted my mum and dad, I went for my usual rummage. This time I turned up pay dirt- a big box of my old comics and magazines, including a ton of Doctor Who Monthly’s I picked up at a school fete, and my personal stereo from the mid 90’s.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Aiwa GS172, still selling for £20 second hand on eBay to this very day! Unlike most of the portable electronics from my youth, I’d had the foresight to remove the batteries, and there was even a tape in there- a C90 labelled as “Various Rock II”. Of “Various Rock I”, there was no sign but I still remember making the tapes, using my JVC micro system to dump my favourite tracks off CD on to tape for use in either my portable stereo or my Vauxhall Nova.

Although I had a CD player by 1994, I still occasionally bought albums on cassette, I distinctly remember buying Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell on cassette, and I also found my copy of Paradise Lost’s Draconian Times on tape too.

When we got back home and I’d packed the kids off to bed, I rummaged around in the odds and sods drawer until I pulled out a couple of AA batteries. Armed with those and my AKG headphones, I set out to see what I was listening to back in 1995.

The first half a dozen tracks sounded fairly familiar:

  • Space Dye Vest- Dream Theater;
  • I Wanna Go Where the People Go- The Wildhearts;
  • Enchantment- Paradise Lost;
  • Alice What’s the Matter- Terrorvision;
  • Take It Back- Pink Floyd
  • Reckoning Day- Megadeth

As I listened on, it became more and more obvious that I’ve added a scant few albums and songs to my favourites since I was actually at Lancaster University between ’93 and ’97.

I can remember even then that I’d often play games listening to music instead of the in game effects. That only really changed with the change from cartridge to CD, and the opportunity for full spoken dialogue and really moody sound effects, although the fairly anti social hours I’d often be gaming as a student obviously also had some impact. The SNES I’d had for a number of years was nearing the end of it’s shelf life, the Saturn and Playstation were both on the horizon at this point but being an impoverished student, I didn’t really have any plans to buy either of them when they came out (both were over £400 on release if memory serves me correctly, which was about half as much as my car had cost!), so we still played on the SNES, with the occasional diversion to the Atari ST for a bout of Sensi Soccer.

Back then my house mates and I were still playing Street Fighter 2 Turbo on the SNES. I’d picked it up for around 20 quid from a bargain bucket in a HMV in Preston the previous year (a proper bargain as it was the metal tinned version that cost about £70 on release), but I do also remember playing the wonderful NHL ’96 and Jungle Strike (EA started off getting the years wrong on release of their sports games pretty early on didn’t they?). NHL ’96 was particularly fun as it let you have massive punch ups on the ice. It’s still probably my favourite ice hockey game of all time, simple yet fun to play and it didn’t look too shabby either.

I suppose it’s a character trait then that I don’t really like change or to move on much. It’s certainly one Sam seems to have inherited from me, he likes the status quo, fortunately not Status Quo though. Hopefully it should see us well in our renewed retrogaming quest, which will be back on track next week. Can I spell Yie Ar Kung Fu? Who knows. More importantly, can I play it?


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