The World of The Completable Game

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A strange title you may think but it depends greatly on your actual age.

I am 41, I spent my childhood growing up in the 1970’s.  Unless you lived in the 1970’s then its impossible to explain the 1970’s to you.  If you were a child in the 70’s then it was the time of Glam rock, disco, punk & the birth of console gaming.  When I say console I am almost certainly not describing what you probably think I am describing.

I am describing the Grandstand Pong game, the Binatone Pong game, the Atari 2600 and the CBS Colecovision.  Games where the concept of completing a game was to win a game of tennis or kill the other tank.  The idea of completing a game was a totally foreign idea.

Games had a set score you could attain, normally 9999, and when it was reached the game cycled back to zero score.  It was known as “clocking”.  Games never ended, you just clocked them and carried on playing at a slightly harder difficulty level.  In 1979 at 9 yrs old I clocked my first game, it was Missile Command on the Atari 2600 my older brother owned.  It took several hours and almost burnt out the power pack of the console.

Missile Command was the first and only game I ever clocked.  This is because the 80’s heralded the age of 8 bit gaming.  The Sinclair Spectrum 48k.  The Commodore 64. The VIC 20.  The Oric Atmos.  The Amstrad CPC.  The BBC B.

That list I just made right there?  Probably a whole bunch of dinosaurs to you, right?  You’ll be asking me if I played cup & ball soon.

In the golden age of computing, such as it was, progress was rapid.  8 bit was king, and a strong and good king on the whole.  But games changed.  Games had an objective, an actual end.  A specific goal to reach or attain, in short, a game could be completed.

The old ideas of an infinishable game still hung around but these were mainly arcarde conversions.

So this is the legacy of my childhood which to you is common place, A goal to achieve, a place to reach.

A game to be completed.


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