It was 1992. I was enrolled in the Computer Science program at UTA (The University of Texas Arlington). I lived in a dorm with my best friend from high school. And my college grades suffered due to video games.

sf2f-300x210-1Throughout high school, my friend and I  lived on opposite sides of Dallas. We actually met at a Baptist church camp of all things – Glorieta in New Mexico – where we quickly clicked and went off to do our own thing. Since then, we got together every chance we could through the years. And when we did, we played computer games – car loaded with the commodore 64 with external 1541 drives and all. And when we didn’t get together, we were some of the few that knew the early world of networks and online gaming in the late 80’s.

That’s true, for the most part. For credibility, I have to let you know that when I went up to Plano, where he lived, it was a new world for me.  Much like the new world I mentioned in exploration of “Ultima” in my Ultima story.  But this time, I had a new persona – nothing attached to Duncanville where I actually went to high school.  Both of us, being handsome lads, did have our fair share of nights out with the ladies – especially after I got my license and my first car – a classic VW bug… Ohh but those are stories all unto themselves.  I have to get off this subject.

We were both fortunate enough to work at software stores; me at Software, Etc and he at Babbage’s   We had access to all games that came out. Every piece of software, every video game cartridge.  We were allowed to test and shrink wrap back up. Not only that, we were among the elite in the pirate bbs scene – so we had access to even more. We had software our stores didn’t even have yet.

magiccandle-300x205-1For nostalgia purposes, here are some of the games I remember staying up all night and playing 1988 – 1991, pre-college:

  • Magic Candle, an Ultima clone
  • The original Sim City
  • Tetris – when it first came out
  • Populous
  • Starflight
  • Rock Star Ate My Hamster, yes for real

There were many more – and countless nights of sheer BBSing. Yep, I used BBSing as a verb… But those are some of the memorable games. We simply had FUN in every way we could possibly think of.  They were the best of times.

Now, to bring this story full circle, we ended up living together as room mates. I will list 3 (plus a bonus) main contributors that made my college grades suffer.

  1. herzogzwei-coverStreet Fighter II – just came out for the SNES. This game was like crack, especially in crowds of people. I don’t know how many nights and days we spent playing this game, usually with group of more than 4. This, for sure, hurt us the most.
  2. Civilization – by Sid Meyers, this was a revolutionary strategy game that you just could not quit!
  3. Herzog Zwei – for the Sega Genesis, I think this was actually the first multi-player RTS game (Real Time Strategy).
  4. Bonus round – to be fair it wasn’t all video games.  We also rushed a fraternity. We did it for all the wrong reasons though – chicks and parties.  Or is that for the right reasons? We played them out too, and once they got too serious with all their grown up girl scout BS, we said peace out.  We were told, “we have to want it”, well… we didn’t.  Bye.

Maybe even add the SNES’s Top Gear to that. When we should have been studying or going to bed at a decent hour, we didn’t. We soon began to drift our seperate ways through college as we made different decisions and due to the entrapments evil females play on you – but I will never forget all those times.

To my high school BFF – you’re still my BFF at heart today.  *beats chest with fist twice and points a two fingers at you*

What do you remember about video games and how it affected you growing up?


Check out my infographic about Floppy Disks compared to day.