I, like most of you reading, grew up with video games. We all have those memories. Those weird, twisted, distorted memories of video games: the consoles we played, the games we played. They're part of our history. At EB Expo they have a really nifty Retro section. It's small, but it's pretty great.
The weird part for me is the distance. The distance between how you remember something and how it actually was. The thing that always surprises me is how big the old consoles are: the technology itself I mean. The Neo Geo. Massive. The Atari Lynx — I can't believe Atari had the gall to market that thing as a handheld device to children. How could any child hope to hold this thing aloft with their tiny arms and baby fingers.
Perhaps the most disappointing moment for me (in a good way, I guess) was seeing four young guys huddled around a single CRT, playing Goldeneye. When I was a teenager that game was a mighty totem to what was possible with video game technology. It was a jaw dropping achievement. Now it felt so terribly pedestrian. It looks terrible, the frame rate chugs, the controls are borderline unplayable. I remember when that game was all I played, all I talked about. It felt weird to see it in such a bad state, betraying the rose tinted memories I had.
Nevertheless, the Retro section was a real experience. Your age and the games you played as a youngster will most likely define your experience of the whole thing. But I have to admit, I found it pretty alarming to see the GameCube and the Dreamcast set up in a 'retro' area. That was another wake up call entirely...