I tend to think that everyone who plays video games is a bitter twenty-something with horrible hair like me, but for a whole generation of kids, the Atari 2600 that many of us grew up with seems every bit as ancient as one of those phonographs that had to be cranked for twelve minutes to hear thirty seconds of Thomas Edison humming. With that in mind, a comprehensive history of the hobby we share must be preserved for future generations. Long after you and I have gone blind from years of straining to see Chun-Li's cooch and our arthritic hands are no longer able to shield us from abusive nursing home staff, our children will read this historical account and glean all that can possibly be learned about their heritage.
The first video game system is discovered by accident when an employee of Duncan-Hines experiments with a new cake recipe by mixing a circuit board with wood paneling. Disgusted by the taste of the resulting cake, the employee sells it to a young man named Nolan Bushnell. Realizing the potential use of his purchase, Bushnell dubs the device the "Car Horn" and prepares for mass production.
Bushnell is murdered by a transient, and the "Car Horn" sits on a cluttered shelf in a local pawn shop for a number of months before being purchased by Johnny Atari. Believing the device to be a sculpture of his likeness, the vain young man dubs the device the "Atari" and prepares for mass production.
After misplacing the factory in 1966, Johnny Atari remembers its location. He returns to find the factory workers long dead of starvation, but is pleased to find the initial run of Ataris intact. The units go on sale within a month, becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
Pac-Man gains a small, but loyal, following among spiritual mediums with eating disorders.
Shigeru Miyamoto develops an intense interest in the American Civil War. His attempt to translate this conflict into a video game results in Donkey Kong.
The Duke Nukem Forever team moves the project to the BASIC programming language, scrapping all previous work.
Shigeru Miyamoto reads an article about an increase in suicide rates among the elderly. Months of research and interviews with depressed senior citizens inspire him to create Super Mario Brothers.
Metroid is released. In an unprecedented move that empowers women worldwide, it is the first game to feature fully-functioning labia.
The innovative Power Glove inspires a generation to realize that the sky is the limit when it comes to fingerless gloves.
I buy a copy of Castle Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and place the cartridge on top of a magazine ad for Sega's Game Gear, pretending to play the game by pressing the buttons on the life-sized photograph of the handheld system. I don't get a Game Gear that Christmas.
Robin Williams gets to play a preview build of First Person Shooter and LOVES it. With his endorsement, the title becomes the best-selling video game of all time.
Immediately after being plugged in for the first time, the only Street Fighter II arcade cabinet without a sticky medium punch button gets a can of Dr. Pepper spilled on it by an overly excited 22-year old high school senior cheering on the demo reel.
Shigeru Miyamoto takes up gardening. Eager to share his newfound hobby with the world, the eternally imaginative designer creates Carmageddon.
Game retailers worldwide are forced to update their return policy when hundreds of thousands of customers place disc 2 of Xenogears on the counter and ask for half their money back.
Everquest launches, introducing the world to the addictive and rewarding experience of making fun of people who play MMORPGs.
Sega announces its plans to stop producing hardware altogether, choosing instead to focus on completely destroying its credibility as a software developer.
Battlefield: Bad Company combines online action shooting with irreverant humor to create an explosive experience that revolutionizes the industry.
NCAA Football 09
Online Franchise Mode and other improvements make this a solid installment in the series, but I'm worried that this game will be lost in the sea of this week's new releases. 8/10
Sometimes I dream that I'm sitting in the back of the defunct Weinermobile as it careens driverless down the highway. At first I thought this was symbolic of the powerlessness I feel in life, but then I realized it's actually the Weinermobile's dream of being able to drive again.
Three years ago, when we were burying my uncle, Cleaver and some gross lady dog (Solstice???) showed up at the cemetery and starting going at it really loudly. It ruined everything and we had to have a "re-do" the next day and it cost a fortune. I've hated him ever since for that.
Ignore the hype. Find out how these games will likely go right or wrong.
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