THE TRIAL OF THE last two decades of the 20th CENTURY
by Kevin Moon
The charge: The accused, k8track, is charged with committing acts of blatant and rampant video game collecting neglect, passing up Atari 2600 games of future rarity when multiple opportunities presented themselves. What is worth hundreds today could have been had for pennies on the dollar at the time. His defense in each case is that he lacked the foresight and/or money at the time to make these crucial purchases. We will examine the major pieces of evidence and allow him to tell each story in his own words, reliving each shameful memory.
Evidence 1: Q*Bert’s Qubes
“We made trips to the Galesburg Mall about every other month, which, at the time, was a mecca for video gaming (but which is now mostly shoe stores and abandoned store fronts). I remember seeing this game in the display case at Sears on multiple occasions, thinking how cool it looked. But it was far too much money at the time, about $30-35. I didn’t even have an allowance at the time, so it might as well have been a million dollars. I do have a specific memory of one of those trips where I had a few spare dollars, but nowhere near enough to afford QQ. I went into Circus World instead and bought Frogs and Flies for probably around $5.00.”
Verdict: Split decision
Evidence 2: Frogger II: Threeedeep!
“I had been wanting Frogger II for the longest time, but had never seen it in any store (for a cheap price, anyway). By this time, I started getting an allowance of $4.00 a week, which was hard to save, especially when I was also picking up several comics each week. I remember this day very specifically; it was my friend Lance’s birthday, and I went with his family and him to the Peoria Mall. This was when Kaybee kicked ass and had piles upon piles of cheap games on tables. I proceeded to spend all my money on three games: Buck Rogers, Amidar, and Plaque Attack. After the mall, we went to Showbiz Pizza and had a most excellent time. Lance and I ducked out at one point next door to Toys ‘Я’ Us, and lo and behold, there was a brand new Frogger II for only $10.00—but I had run out of money! I worked up the courage to try to borrow the money from my friend’s parents, but they refused. I never did get the complete game, though I finally got a loose copy a few years ago.”
Evidence 3: Glib
“My allowance having increased to $7.00 a week, I was able to save a little more money (I was also reselling my free school lunch tickets to my friend Lance and getting some extra cash) for games and comics. I remember seeing a stack of these on a Kaybee table for $20.00 each. I was intrigued and thought a Scrabble-type game for the Atari VCS would be really cool. But I also thought that $20 was more than I wanted to pay, and opted for the slightly cheaper Jr. Pac-Man for $15. All things being equal, Jr. Pac-Man truly is the superior game; nevertheless, I’m still kicking myself.”
Evidence 4: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
“I discovered a local TV store in Rushville which was selling über-cheap games, and had many titles which I’d heard about but had never seen (such as Track & Field, Asterix, Cross Force, et. al.). I happily procured quite a few games from this place during this period of time, and occasionally the owner would even let me look at a list and choose which games I wanted to order. (This is how I scored a brand new Quadrun for $10.00!) But a game I really wanted was TCM, having seen pictures of it in various magazines and thinking it was cool—I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Leatherface for a while? I was under 18 at the time, however, and he refused to order it for me, despite my many pleas. Thwarted, I had him order my alternate choice—Racquetball.”
Verdict: Not Guilty
Evidence 5: Music Machine
“I am really kicking myself over this one. I had placed an ad in the local “Trading Post” classified ads paper, seeking games for the 2600, 5200, Intellivision, Colecovision, and Odyssey 2. I got quite a few responses from that ad and was able to score a good chunk of games. One of the more interesting calls I received was from a clearly brain-dead guy who presumably wore a helmet and rode the short bus. The defining moment was, when reading off the list of his available games, he kept saying “Rye-do Say-pa”. Turns out that, after spelling it for me, what he was actually trying to say was “Riddle of the Sphinx”. Disgusted, I was about ready to hang up when he mentioned that he had one more. He mumbled that it was “something like ‘Music Machine’ or whatever” and that he had found it lying on the sidewalk. By this time, I was convinced that this guy was a couple Soviet premiers short of a Ukrainian nested egg set and totally dismissed it. Boy, was there egg on my face.”
Evidence 6: Ikari Warriors, Motorodeo
“During this period of time, I was corresponding with Atari, receiving their lists and ordering from them directly. (I still have all the letters.) I specifically remember seeing Ikari Warriors on the lists (I wasn’t interested) and on one of them was Motorodeo (didn’t sound interesting either). Instead, I ordered a bunch of stuff like Off The Wall, Radar Lock, Xenophobe, and the 7800 Midnight Mutants, Alien Brigade, and Ninja Golf, among others. One of my orders they actually lost for a couple of months, and by the time they found it, some of the stuff I had ordered (three 5200 joysticks and a 2600 light gun) was no longer available. So even if I had ordered those two games, there was that chance that I might have gotten screwed anyway.”
Verdict: Split Decision
Final Verdict: GUILTY
k8track is hereby sentenced to play nothing but Amidar and Racquetball for the rest of his natural remaining life, ad infinitum.
What does the public think of this verdict? Should k8track’s sentence be commuted? Will you show clemency?