While I was born five years after the release of ColecoVision, and most of my peers proclaim the original Nintendo to be their gateway console, ColecoVision has always been my first video game love. For me, the memory of the two ColecoVisions my family owned evokes a sense of pride and glee in me that can only be rivaled by the rollercoasters.
When I talk to someone who knows what a ColecoVision is and who shares in the same reaction of, “Dude! You know about ColecoVision? That’s awesome,” I feel like we’ve instantly become biffles (best friends for life).
I spent many a Saturday morning gazing into the glow of our living room Trinitron desperately attempting to get past at least three screens of Pit Fall. Did that ever happen? No… But I made up for my Pit Fall short comings in Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park. Because I’m too lazy to type out Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park each time I refer to it, we’ll call it CPK.
For anyone who had the pleasure of experiencing CPK, I’d like to shed light on a couple of aspects of the game that I’d be interested to get your thoughts on:
1) Why did your character rub her butt every time she fell?
2) What kind of park were the CPKs hanging out at?
I went to many parks as a child, and none of them required me to swing from ropes to land on lily pads over a mouth of water that would eat my soul whole, heaven forbid I fell in it.
Rivaling CPK in terms of “this is hilarious” was the Smurfs: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle game. In order for your character to even fathom encountering any form of an enemy, you had to first navigate him through about a dozen screens of killer fences and blades of grass.
For those of you who haven’t seen this gem, I’m serious - The fences, grass, and dips in the ground kill your character. We’re not talking about “dips in the ground” that mimicked the cliffs in Mario Brothers. When I refer to the blades of grass, I’m talking about a blade that is maybe one week over grown. What’s even more disturbing is that your character maintains the same dope-tastic smile even in death!
Despite me poking fun at these two 80′s cartoon based games, they are the two my sister and I reminisce about the most. They’re the ones that take us back to the simplicity of childhood, the ones that take me back to the days when I thought it was possible to keep a small house beetle as a pet. (I learned within four hours or so that no, you can’t. Not because my mother insisted I couldn’t, but because I somehow ended up killing it…)
Other ColecoVision titles that take me back to my younger years are Venture, Looping, Donkey Kong Junior, Carnival, Lady Bug, Frogger, Time Pilot, Mouse Trap, Q Bert.
I’m sure there are more, but my old age has developed a memory that is lacking. What I do remember was that Donkey Kong Junior was like original Donkey Kong with a splash of extra awesomeness. I enjoyed the fact that the levels weren’t all ladder based. You got to climb ropes and stuff. Why? Cause you were a freakin’ monkey/ape/gorilla/whatever(!) and that’s just what they do!
And Looping… My sweet, sweet Looping… We were the best of frenemies. That game was the bane of my five year old existence. Why? Because just like Pit Fall, I couldn’t get past the first few screens, or, in Looping’s case, the first few seconds. But there’s the difference between Pit Fall and Looping.
Looping was like that cool kid you always wanted to be friends with. It was bright, colorful, fashionable, it had missiles and, I’m assuming, hot air balloons that had some pretty tight steering and were surprisingly fast.
Pit Fall on the other hand, was like that kid you hung out with when no one else wanted to hang out with you, but once everyone was around, you acted like you weren’t friends with him, and actually made fun of him in front of everyone else just to look cool (especially when Looping was around). Actually… That’s a very untrue and mean way of describing Pit Fall.
For me, Pit Fall just wasn’t exciting. After all, I had CPK and the fine, fine butt rubbing skills its main character demonstrated to keep my gaming interests peaked.
If you too are a child of ColecoVision, what were some of your favorite games? If you were raised on another system, what are some of your favorite childhood systems and series?