Sega Did What Nintendidn’t
Lodged in the crags of my unfinished youth is the memory of loading games from an Audio Cassette.
There are some topics which I find utterly engrossing, shaped to some dimly known mental specification, so that when encountered they adhere thoroughly to the psyche. Sherlock Holmes is one of them. No, I don’t want to talk about the trailer, but you may be interested to learn that there is such a thing as bartitsu. I’d better make a new paragraph before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle commandeers this post from beyond the grave.
As a young man in Blue Birds, I can recall being introduced to a Commodore VIC-20. Indeed, there is nothing about it that I don’t recall. The study where it was kept was in a converted room, originally a garage, perhaps a foot below the rest of the house. There was a not terribly stable half-stair down to this room, with a remnant of the carpet they’d used stapled to the top in a lax effort at stylistic unification. The activity that day was to enter software from COMPUTE!, and then to load programs from tape. She played the tape in a regular deck first, and then loaded it into the peripheral. It was a whole body experience. If a program could be sound, what other state changes were possible? Another fascination, the notion of a wholly digital consciousness, is a subset of that dizzying construction.
My experience with Vista very nearly caused me to shift my leisure focus entirely to consoles, and I’m physically revolted that they’re back snuffling around at the trough so soon. I thank the Omnipresent Divine that my responsibility to you would not allow me to take leave of the platform in good conscience, as I’ve since wholly rediscovered that young man’s joy.
My own computing history started with a successor to the Vic 20, the Commodore 128 - graduating to the Amiga, before the term “PC” came to describe a single platform. It’s almost impossible to imagine now, but there were points in the continuum of home computing where both the Amiga and the C64 were more than a match for the IBM/Intel axis. Know that I defended my platforms with true zeal from their contemporaries, on local message boards with warrens devoted to the topic. Know that I served with distinction.
This is, in part, what makes the modern iterations of the Console War such an object of fascination for me. The indentations they have made on Gabriel’s spirit have endured, channeling molten rage into gated holding pools where it can be shunted toward foes. I recognize all the old structures, and know the old glyphs, but have no investment in the current conflict. It’s pure theory, a thought-garden. I consume it with a dark delight; there, but for the grace of God.
We have made a strip about the voids in Gabriel’s experience, relics of the ancient war. As regards the Third Panel of today’s strip, I offer the following image:
I wonder how long such a conflux can remain powered before the entire house is hurled backward through time.