Pinball was the only game in town until about the same time I found out about D&D.
A restaurant in the small town where I grew up had Pong. Simple, a dial to make the “paddle” on the screen go up and down to return the ball. Many quarters went into that machine.
Then Space Invaders came out and was at a convenience store about a mile from school and we would go a put in more quarters.
The annual fair with a carnival had a tent full of all kinds of games. I loved Battlezone with its 3-D tanks, terrain, and projectiles. I would blow through twenty dollars in a weekend. That was back when I charge ten dollars to mow a lawn.
The movie theaters had games, where we’d take turns or play cooperatively in Galaga and Centipede, and Asteroids.
There was an arcade near the closest movie theater about 20 miles away. We could get our parents to drop us off and play all the games we wanted, and as we got old enough to drive, we’d all pile in the car together.
About the same time, the big mall that was closer than the arcade, had an arcade with all the same games.
Also about that time, Atari came out with its first game system. Kids might laugh at all those games now, but they were cool because that was all there was.
When I got married and had kids of my own, they had games with so many buttons on the controls that when we played in player vs. player, they had me dead just as I was finally figuring out which button did what.
I got my revenge. When those joysticks that plug into the TV with several old games came out, we got to Galaga and Centipede, and I kicked their butts! When it comes to those old fashioned “simple” games, the old man rules!
I can play those games with all the buttons, etc. but it takes me a lot longer to figure out which buttons do what and where the buttons are, then the game system changes or become totally obsolete.
I had the most fun with Asteroids when someone put out a Java version about 12 or 13 years ago with the source code. I fiddled with the source code and made the bullets as big as the screen, so no danger of anything hitting my ship. I have that around here somewhere on a disk, if the disk is still good and I have a drive that works…. Ah the joys of obsolete tech.
I’d rather spend my money on a game that I can play without electricity or the internet. If the internet went away, I could still play RPGs. I have enough sets of dice for at least 5 or 6 players. I also have real old school games like chess, checkers, and backgammon, and a few board games that might interest more than a niche.
In person is the best way to play a game, but I do like the ability to mimic that feel with Roll20 and Google Hangouts. I have been in a weekly Wednesday night game that just passed 30 sessions. I keep toying with taking my campaign world for a spin online, but I have a lot of polish to make it flow online like what I can do in person. I am sure that assessment will change after a few sessions. The biggest hurdle is figuring out when I could do it…. Someday….