When I think back to my childhood, there are two things I don't remember ever not having: an Apple II, and video games. From computer games like Castle Wolfenstein and Choplifter to Atari 2600 classics such as Space Invaders and Adventure, I've always been gaming.
Having such entertainment opportunities is typical in the modern household — but thirty years ago? It was almost unheard of. Who decided I should grow up to be a gamer?
The answer is my dad — and to commemorate Father's Day, I found out what makes him the family's original gamer.
I'm so grateful my father gave me this opportunity to interview him. The subject matter may not be so serious, but it answered some questions I'd always had, like: how did we end up with a pinball table in the basement? (It was Gottlieb's Spirit of 76, if you were wondering.) Why don't you game much anymore? These questions were always in the back of my mind but never important enough to ask.
When I asked Dad if he had any specific memories of me growing up playing games, I thought he might remember how I excitedly relayed to him every plot point of the original Final Fantasy, one of my first RPGs, as I encountered them. Or how he accompanied me to the Nintendo World Championships in 1990, where I placed second for my state and age group. Instead he abstracted out the concepts of what made me unique in a family of gamers. I could never dominate an arcade machine like my brother Dave could with Q*bert and Pac-Man, but it's true that I really appreciated the context and minutia of these imaginative worlds, which I don't think I ever consciously was aware of until my dad said it on camera.
I suspect Dave is more like my father than I am in that regard. My father has always played games obsessively, fixating on a single game for years or decades before moving on. I can remember him playing only Snake Byte, Pac-Man, Centipede, Tetris, Dr. Mario, and Tetris Attack. I used Creative Commons videos or Virtual Apple II to capture demos of these games to include in the video.
So thank you, Dad, for this opportunity to remember that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Happy Father's Day!
Tech specs: this video was shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR and RØDE VideoMic mounted on a Manfrotto MA7301YB 7301YB tripod. The scene was lit with two Bescor LED-500K lights, and the footage was edited in Final Cut Pro X.