It did not feel that long ago

Only a kid in the eighties knew the feeling.
July 07, 2008
This is a look back on some of the times in my past. I tried to keep it as fresh and original as possible without sounding too cliche and similar to other peoples articles. BTW, this is my first submission. All criticism is cool.

I was born in 1981 in Norfolk, Virginia which was 15 minutes from Virginia Beach and was where I experienced some of my fondest memories in the so called "Hampton Roads" area.

Raised in Chesapeake in a middle class suburb I had the life most contributers might be familiar with. However, I am an only child so my imagination had to work twice as hard to stay sane. Like playing down the street at the local creek in the rain, having an intense battle between "M.A.S.K." and "G.I. JOE".

Wow, I was stylin' with my "Vision Street Wear" and "Airwalks"....hahaha. The clothes we wore those days looked like vomit on a white canvas. Alas, those skate shoes, jams and surf wear were standard back then. Hyper color, acid-washed, baggy, long, printed, neon, courduroy, it was all a safe bet. Remember those "Batman" and "Joker" "Converse"? Those were tough!

Living in my neighborhood I never had a shortage of friends because I had a lot of toys and a dope swing. Yet my cousin was like my brother and we were the same age and hung out all the time, so most of my good times were spent with him in the mid eighties.

On a typical weekend I would wake up and head straight for the TV to absorb as much cartoonage as humanly possible because I had baseball early every saturday morning. "Captain N"!!!

My choice cereal was usually "Frosted Flakes" because my mom wouldn't let me get the good shit aka "Cookie Crisp", "Cocoa Pebbles", etc. I could only get that if I stayed with my cousin at his house in Portsmouth. Damn it! Looking back though, I swear "Frosted Flakes" had as much sugar as the others, but all my mom saw was chocolate cereal as cocaine for kids.

For some reason I played ball every year from 6-17 years and I hated it and loved it all the same. Anyways, baseball was fun for a bit especially if I hit a foul ball. When my cousin would come to the games if he or whomever retrieved the ball they could take it to the concession stand for a free soda.

Kicking little kids asses for sport. Gimme that ball!!!

Yea, it might not be new or even that great in retrospect, however as a kid, free sugar and caffeine was like black tar heroin to a NY street whore. (sorry "Madonna" fans)

Some of the other crap I enjoyed were "Snow Cones", "Lemonheads", "Cherry Clans", "Mike and Ikes", "Chik O' Stiks", "Sour Punch Straws" and "Boston Baked Beans".

Around noon I was usually full from soda, "Fruitstripe" gum, sunflower seeds and candy yet I always found room for a hot dog at the local place up the street. They had two arcade fixtures. A pinball machine which was called "F-14 Tomcat" and an arcade cabinet that changed over the years from "Frenzy" to "Kung Fu Heroes" to "Shinobi".

I'll touch lightly on the NES because we all know how paramount it was to first generation gamers so I will say this. The most vivid thing I recall about the NES was how cheap it was to rent games back then. We used to get them from the local "Movieland" or "Erol's Video"; this was before "Blockbuster", and play videogames for days. Hell, I recall when you could rent movies and games from "7-11" and "Tiny Giant". No one remembers it but me though. I swear I am not crazy.

We beat every one, usually, except for a few choice titles like "Legacy of the Wizard" and "Golgo 13". We played some real shitty games back then. Freaking "Nintendo Power" only told so much!

My most vivid memory was this pizzaria with an arcade in it that could only rival the games at the "Putt Putt Miniature Golf" down the road.

It had pizza, games and beer? What!? Is that legal? So your parents can lovingly dish out money while getting a buzz watching you rock out on the "Castlevania" tabletop. This place might have been an east coast only franchise; it closed in the late eighties.

Oh yea, this place was called "Peter Piper Pizza".

They had a plethora of classics like the NES "Player's Choice", "AfterBurner", "Contra", "Fighting Street" (SF1), "Altered Beast", "Ikari Warriors" etc. It also had all the common ones too like "Gauntlet", "Strider", and "Rush N' Attack"! I could do a whole article on all the ones I did not mention.

My cousin, who looked and acted like "Problem Child", stuck to skeeball and cheated to max out tickets while my dad and me hogged the "Double Dragon" unit with a $10 roll of quarters.

That was when games only cost 1 token or a quarter to play, but he sucked, hence the roll. Kids were always pissed because we never got off any machine till we beat it. Screw them! This was father son bonding at its best and I wasn't gonna be Abobo's bitch!

My dad is real cool and before work every morning he would go up the street to the local "7-11" to get coffee and he would buy me comic books. "Wolverine", "Uncanny X-men", "Spiderman", etc all for my enjoyment on the bus. I was mostly into "Marvel" but I got into a little "DC", mostly "Dark Knight". Now that I am older the graphic novels coming out from "DC" and its sister companies and rivals are really good. So good that Hollywood must make movies out of them? Who would have thought? I'm still surprised Glenn Danzig never took the role of "Wolverine". His hair and height would have been perfect for the role.

I love(d) comics and I still have them in case they are worth anything. Yet, with everything in the eighties they were all overproduced so they will never garner any real value. First appearance "Sabertooth" will never be $1000.00. *Tear*

In the summers I spent most of my time at the beach in NC or VA; swimming, surfing or fishing.

Nothing fancy, I had a pretty normal life. In closing I will say that we all who were born in or around the early eighties got to experience the aftermath of big businesses realizing that kids were THE target demographic to make quick money.

As a result WE got all the rad cartoons, toys, games and amusements before the nineties hit.

We were oversaturated and loving it, all at the same time. So as we age and look down our noses at the new generations sub par entertainment and quietly laugh....deep down, we all know who got the best.

The End.

For now.

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