Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Walkthrough: Openly Gamer - Mike Tanier

"Long ago, when computer power was measured in kilobytes and John Madden was just another color commentator, football gaming didn't require a console, computer, or controller. It required a sturdy tabletop and dice. The football games of that era had odd, retro-techie names: Strat-o-Matic, APBA, Statis Pro. They were highly complex, though they were oversimplifications of the sport, and though they had childlike elements they attracted an adult following. Each game had its own elaborate rules, quirky codes, arcane charts. Gamers called plays, rolled dice, referred to cards and charts, sometimes rolled again, interpreted play results, then moved cardboard football and down markers across a gridiron-shaped field. Football teams were bundled into rubber-banded piles or small manila pouches. Gaming sessions lasted for hours around the dining room table, opponents cross-checking each other's cards and arguing rules while being careful not to spill soda, Eric Dickerson's 1984 card still brown-stained and blurry from someone's clumsiness. There was no Madden video game back then, no high-def graphics, no fantasy football Web sites with up-to-the-second information. Those games were all we had. They were immersive. They were awesome. And they are still with us." 5 out of 5