Tarnishing a legend

Revisiting old favourites as an adult often takes the shine off childhood memories, but capitalism in modern gaming is causing much more damage.

27 July 2022

I remember discovering my first computer game when I was about seven years old – Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. It ran on the top-of-the-line IBM XT with its Intel 8088 chip and a whopping 640KB of RAM. You loaded it up using two floppy disks or saved it to your 10MB hard drive if you were lucky enough to have one. It was in glorious sepia monochrome, and I was entranced.

For millions of awkward, dorky kids of my generation, these early computer games were more than just light entertainment. They challenged and fascinated us, they taught us how to configure computers (both software and hardware), and they gave us something to talk about at school. They were the start of many of my most enduring friendships. Games were more than a pastime – they were a context, a shared space, a deep tribal connection, an exploration of wonder, and a safe world in which to grow and compete.

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