My son, Dominic, plays the classic systems at least as much as I do. He is the only four-year-old I know who, upon first playing Parker Brothers' Gyruss, compares it to Atari's Tempest. He has a gaming background that is nearly as vast as my own. Before he was old enough to hold a joystick, he was playing an Arkanoid clone on the Amiga called Megaball (with a bit of help from Mom -- or was it the other way around?).
While Dominic is playing a game, he is always explaining to me what is happening on the screen. He gets very excited about little effects. When playing Berzerk or Frenzy, I always overhear him saying, "Oh, no! The happy face is coming!" Then he will say moments later, "This game is too hard for me!" The game then comes out and is replaced by another classic.
Playing video games with my son keeps the hobby fresh for me. He is able to offer a new perspective on games that I would not have without him. Chris and I become jaded with certain game-play, but Dominic is able to play most games with a fresh approach. The only problem with playing games with him is that most of the time, he beats me! (It's proof that game-play expertise is contained in the genes.)
Here, for reader examination, is what Dominic tells me about the games that he has been playing this morning. These are the actual words he used. I have taken the liberty of placing them in paragraph format. Some of his statements might seem vague if you have not played the games in question. Not everything he says is accurate -- but from his perspective, it is all true. -- AT
Antarctic Adventure (ColecoVision) -- This is the penguin game. I like this game. I like the fishes. Did you know if you press "5," there is music? I like it when it makes sound. Make sure you get the flags. Jump over the holes, of course! I can't win this game; it is hard. You can jump over the holes if you want, because you can -- and you can climb out. When you get the flags, you can get points. When you get the flags, you don't die. -- DL
Beamrider (ColecoVision) --Now, about Beamrider: It is so much fun for me because the joystick is kind of slow while you shoot. I don't know about the game. This is the bad guys' planet. When you beat the whole game, you have to go on your planet. When you get on your planet, you have to get some more bad guys. -- DL