Its early 90’s, Christmas time and it’s cold outside, you are staring at the shop fronts in your favourite part of the high street, the part with the blinky and attention seeking computer shops, it crossed your mind in one of your philosophical concerns, that if there is going to be paradise etc, can it be something like that? I promise I will be a good kid just to get there one day..
You don’t know where to look exactly, everything is so interesting and intriguing, you look at the high-end hardware and smile, then you think to yourself, you’ll be mine one day, you’ll see! Then you turn your head to the affordable hardware range, for the time being this is where your pocket belongs to, you are still a student after all. You are saving money for a new computer because 16 bits are the future right? Of course they are, but you can’t go home empty handed to your humble and reliable 8 bit buddy that is waiting for you in your bedroom, you need to get him a present that you will both enjoy, it’s okay to spare some of your savings so a new video game is the way to go.
There are many game genre shelves to choose from, game titles more than what you can count, so many pretty boxes ready to be picked up by enthusiasts like yourself. You pick up a box and you are looking at the front cover, it looks amazing! Look at those wheels of this sports car, and that airplane in the sky above the sports car is so cool. Countless images are passing through your eyes imagining the gameplay, it doesn’t matter if the graphics of the actual game are a poor resemblance of the front cover, your imagination is your best ally and is working for you to cover all the gaps. Then you turn to the back side, oh my god! You can play with your friends as it supports two player mode, one controlling the car and the other one controlling the airplane in your quest to avoid all the obstacles and reach to the next level. The level images are so cool, you even have weapons attached to the car and airplane, you will need them to shoot the bad guys as you advance in the game and they will try to stop you to reach your goal by any means. And then there is the summary of course, what is this game’s story about anyway?
“You are working in an engineering lab, assigned with another colleague the task to invent a new motor engine where it will be so powerful that it can demolish physical obstacles like mountains and hills just by passing through them. Your antagonist company stole your research files and their intention is to create a variation of this motor engine to destroy the world (what else they could have wanted to do with it in a video game?). You and your colleague when you found out the evil plans of the antagonist company, begin your quest to save the world by grabbing an advanced supercar and an advanced aircraft from the labs to help you in your quest to reach the headquarters of the bad guys and sabotage their plans”.
Wow, while reading the description you already felt like driving a supercar and flying an aircraft! All right, it seems cool but let me take this box with me and go to the section of the other platforms and check how their version competes with mine, you put the boxes next to each other and the front covers seems identical, nothing to worry here, then you turn them both around, you scan them with your eyes to check whether your version is better or worse than your friends platform. You decide that you are satisfied with your platform’s version, ha! Seems better that the others and look at these colours! Title approved.
Of course you can’t just buy the first video game you got your hands on, it is Christmas time after all, you have no school tomorrow and you have ahead some hours to do your research. You are going over the same procedure over and over, checking, imagining, comparing and so on. In the meantime you are not alone, so many guys are there for getting games as well, some of them already had some of the titles you were interested in, and you have some of the titles they are interested in. You exchange opinions, hints, tips and you also found out that they guy you were seeing in your school in another classroom has the same computer as you, so after finding that out you “added” each other to your gaming buddies list.
Finally the time has passed and you have decided which title to buy, you paid for it, grabbed your precious little box and you are on your way home, you can’t stop thinking of it while you ride your BMX bicycle.
You are now in front of your computer but you are not ready to load the game yet, you want to feel it first, you want to touch it and smell it, you want to open the box and check the contents, read the gameplay instructions, you want to check and study the maps one by one which the publisher included printed in the box. You want to see the front cover one more time to create the infrastructure of images in your mind and only then, when the ritual is coming to its peak you wait a few more good minutes for it to load and start you journey.
Oh boy, nothing compares to a good boxed game… Good times indeed.