Friday, April 29, 2005

Videogames in the 80s

On the first day of this Golden week holiday, I tidied my room all day long. When I unpacked my cardboard boxes that I had packed for moving, I found some towels. A parade of many videogame characters are printed on the towels. These things made me very nostalgic.

When I was an elementary school pupil, some classmates were enthusiastic about playing videogames in an arcade. But our parents and teachers prohibited us from going to arcades and playing games at them. There are some reasons for their prohibition. Some pupils stole their parents money for playing. Bad boys often made threats pupils at arcades. Adults didn't know what videogame were. They thought of them as an underground indulgence and didn't have sympathy for them. At the time, NES hadn't been released yet.

But my parents gave me money for playing some games, and never banned me from going to arcades. So I went to some arcades that were located in a department store that bad boys never gathered at, and fervently concentrated on each game I played by using the small sum from my parents. So I started to understand some games in detail, and so, I wrote a guidebook of a game and sold some copies of it to classmates (This was my first experience making money). In those days, guidebooks of videogames had not yet been released publicly. (Actually, a student satarted a game circle in Tokyo and wrote a guidebook in his private time at same time. After that, he made a company and created the original Pokemon.)

As stated above, some videogames caught my fancy very much. Those games had one point in common. It was the maker, NAMCO. It was still a small company in early 80s, and unknown among ordinary people but was becoming famous among videogame maniacs for being the originator of Pac-Man and other innovative games. Every game had new ideas, a beautiful pop design, and good music. More than anything else, all the games were great fun. I was heavily into their games, so I wrote a long letter to tell the NAMCO staff how I love their work.

After a month, a big parcel was sent to me. It was from NAMCO. I was very surprised and opened it quickly. There were some towels and a letter in it. The towels had a parade of many videogame characters for the 30th Anniversary of the founding of NAMCO. Perhaps these were for their corporate customers. The letter stated their thanks. I was deeply impressed for their consideration, and treated it as my treasure.

NAMCO has developed very much, and was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after 7 years, and now is one of leading companies of videogames in the world. Based on my memories in the early 80s, I think this was a natural result.