When I was a kid back in the late 70’s, I was thrilled to get my first console game system called an Atari 2600. By the 80’s, I was even more thrilled to have a Nintendo console gaming system. Then I was suddenly an adult, out of college, and started seeing cool new portable game systems appear. My advanced age didn’t stop me from getting a Sega Game Gear for Christmas back in the early 90’s. By the turn of the century, a phrase that I guess now means 2000 and beyond, I was still fascinated by the idea of holding a video game in my hands. In 2003, four years before the world would ever see an iPhone, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance SP, which just looked really cool so I had to have one. It was awesome, compact, and mine was silver. As for the games, Mario Kart was, and still is, my favorite video game of all time. You get to race around various tracks while shooting turtle shells and other items at your opponents to slow them down. It’s non-violent and incredibly cute, so I adored it. I still have this game system and Philippe pulled it back out to play recently, enjoying a brief little trip back in time. But, today, of course, our phones are capable of playing all types of games at a resolution that would have seemed impossible back in those days.
The year after I was born, the popular game Pong was released and the first console gaming system, the Magnavox Odyssey. So video games and I sort of grew up together. At the same time, personal computers were also entering the scene when I was a kid, but truly took stride in the 80’s. I still remember my Commodore 64 computer that I thought was the most amazing thing in the world, only to be opaqued by the Commodore 128 a few years later. Soon, of course, the 90’s would bring the World Wide Web and everything would change once again. Looking back, I adore the time period that I grew up in because I was precisely the right age to enjoy each new thing as it happened. And while insanely new things were appearing every couple of years, these days things have slowed down a bit. Smartphones are mature devices that don’t really come with anything incredibly new or world-changing when a new one is released. I finally upgraded my phone after four years of using my previous one and was a bit underwhelmed by the difference.
And, today, I see many people much younger than I am who are fascinated by these older devices. I really can’t blame them. They were truly cool things to behold. While there’s no denying the convenience of things that can be grabbed virtually out of the sky, there’s still something alluring about things that are actually tangible. A game or record that comes with colorful packaging that you can hold in your hands. So, I’m quite happy that I had the chance to watch technology grow up. It makes me much more appreciative of all of the advancements that have happened over the years. Tonight, we will be going with friends to enjoy an unusual performance by the Kansas City Symphony where we’ll watch the very first Star Wars movie from 1977 while they perform the soundtrack live. My favorite movie from childhood combined with a live musical performance that echoes the days of silent films, decades before I was born. Sounds like the perfect combination to me! Though change is exciting and new technology will always spark my curiosity, the past is rich with all of the stories that brought us to this point. That’s why, no matter what new thing comes along, I’ll always be a bit retro.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!