If I had to sum up my formative years in a few scant words, it would probably involve books, BBC1 kids television, mucking about on my Grifter, Action Man, then Action Force, Doctor Who and playing videogames.
The popular media still doesn’t understand gaming. To this day the press is full of scare stories about kids spending all their time playing games, RSI style injuries, addiction, the end of the world, the zombie apocalypse, and everything in between. The problem is, growing up in the 80’s, we did all the same sort of stuff- all that’s changed is the graphics.
Gaming is something that’s never really left me. I might have put the Grifter aside, boxed the Action Force toys up and put them in various different attics as situation has dictated but I’ve always kept on gaming.
A couple of years ago when Sam was 6, I briefly had my Sega Saturn set up under the stairs. It was one of those brief spells of nostalgia that we all suffer from occasionally and given the practicalities of using a cupboard under the stairs that even Harry Potter couldn’t have fitted in to, it didn’t last long. It did however leave a lasting impression on Sam because to this day he still asks for me to let him play Steep Slope Sliders.
I almost ended up on Radio 4’s You and Yours recently to talk about the “excessive” amount of time kids spend gaming. In the end I didn’t make it on to the radio but I did blog about it here. In writing about how some things never change, I began to formulate the kernel of an idea though. How would the games of my spotty youth hold up today? What would my son, roughly the same age as I was when I first played Manic Miner on the Spectrum, think of the games I sank an inordinate amount of my youth into?
And so the idea of what is now Kids Do Retro came about. Sam and I are going to spend a year playing the games that I loved as a kid, I’ll be looking back at what I was doing when I first played them, Sam will be scratching his head and wondering what the hell we were all on back in the 80’s when a jump had to be literally pixel perfect, lives were finite unless you could POKE your computer, and attribute clash was a thing.
Our adventure will start on New Years Day, 1 January 2016. Come join us!