Monday, 16 December 2013

Chapter V: Escape From Colditz

Having a short allowance meant that we had to be very savvy to get the most of games with the few money we had. This seems almost hard to believe since we only dealt with pirated copies, but it was true, as I recall that a box of ten blank disks was almost 10€. There was no way to get every game that we wanted, so many started employing tactics to maximize their own games collection. One method was to convince your friends to buy the games that you wanted without him realizing it. My cousin Walter The Baptist was probably the biggest master when it came to these manipulation tactics. He favourite victim was a friend of his called “Ricky Cap”.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Chapter IV: Street Fighter II – The World Warrior

In the early nineties, hearing about the Street Fighter II arcade game was akin to hearing about women breasts. Every kid heard about it, some of them actually saw them but none have played it. For one to enter an arcade saloon it had to be over 16 years of age, which was something me and my friends were far from. Still, one of my best friends, “Palm Tree Paul”, said he played the game on a hotel lobby while on holidays. It could be true, it could be not but it didn’t mattered. All the facts that he spew about the game were indeed facts, but he could have seen it on a magazine or heard from an older guy but nonetheless made the game even more desirable for us. Like hearing an older kid talking about breasts.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Chapter III: Rainbow Islands

On his early days as a proud owner of an Amiga 500, my cousin Walter The Baptist had a neighbour which was the main provider of games for many of the kids in the area. This man was just known as “The Man of the three hundred games”. No one knew his name, but real names are boring for kids, since I’m sure everyone that ever existed had at least one nickname in childhood. The only thing I remember about this man look is that he had a beard, and looked old. Maybe he was just thirty years old, after all he lived with his parents, but in our minds he was almost like Father Christmas.

One day, before I even had my own Amiga, I accompanied Walter and his friend Roy Drought to visit the 300 games Man. I still had my Speccy 48k, and Rainbow Islands was the game of the moment. I couldn’t stop nagging Walter and Roy about it but they just couldn’t care. They were grown-ups, they had a new computer to match. In their minds, a Spectrum 48k was just a children toy.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Chapter II: Street Rod 2

I will share something with you that is known to my close circle of friends and family as my biggest talent or “famous” trait. My memory. Seriously, I can remember little details on meaningless things that happened so long ago that my reputation as a human hard drive has been superseded by my reputation as a liar. All these close people are starting to think that all these anecdotes were made up by me and never happened.
I assure you not. I’m an honest man, with a talent that sounds much more useful than it really is, and I will share this story exactly how it happened almost 25 years ago.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Chapter I: Ruff 'n' Tumble

Like many of you, I’m one of those persons that starts to read a magazine by the last pages. So, it seems fitting to start this story by how it ended.
In 1995, the Amiga scene was pretty much dead. Everybody was turning to PC’s and it was getting harder and harder to get hold of new Amiga games. Not only because there wasn’t much games coming out, but also because the local authorities were starting to notice this thing called “piracy”. See, here in Portugal was basically impossible to get hold of legal copies of games throughout all of 80s and early 90s when the Spectrum and Amiga ruled. Not that it mattered, people didn’t have the money to buy legal copies. The minimum wage at the time was probably around the equivalent of 200€, when a brand new game price was around 30€, judging by what I saw at Amiga Power. So, software stores that made copies of cracked games were everywhere, and there wasn’t anything illegal about them. They functioned like any normal store, and you could go there, check their games list and they would make a copy for you right there. Some of these even organized regular tournaments of popular games, like Decathlon in the eighties and Sensible Soccer during the early nineties.