December 20, 2005

Tech Pack Rat

A few months back, our water heater flooded. No big deal, we cleared out the drain hose, mopped up the mess and went on with life. Unbeknownst to us, it also flooded the coat closet right behind it as well. So it ended up that we had a black mold problem, and we had to pull up the carpet, bleach the baseboards and throw away some things we had in that closet.

The most heartbreaking bit for me was that my "Software Box" sustained heavy damage. Nearly every piece of software I've owned since I started with computers was in that box. Everything from the cracked copy of "LEMMINGS" for DOS (circa 1991) to my Roller Coaster Tycoon CD-ROMs. Geeks like me can't bear to throw anything computer-related out. Every bit of hardware that we take out of a computer could be useful later. Every game that we complete, we swear to ourselves that we'll play again someday. Games are what we DID with our time. Deleting those old save games and getting rid of the installation disks are like throwing out a photo album or scrapbook.

The only problem is that technology is always moving on. I tried playing Lemmings again, but it was built for DOS or 16-bit Windows (Pre-Windows95) and wouldn't load. I nearly shed a tear when I placed it reverently on in the "Water Damage" trash pile. Lemmings had a good run. It, along with the original Civilization, helped introduce me to PC gaming, even PC's at ALL. Along with it, went two boxes of 3.5" floppies containing all the programs written for my college Programming classes. And perhaps most painfully of all, my floppies of "SYNDICATE" and "X-COM: UFO DEFENSE". These were such great games, and even looking at the paltry pixel count on these things compared to today, they hold up.

The event was sad, but I refuse to change on this. My CD of Star Control 2 will remain, my cribbed StarMap crammed into the jewel case, until computers won't play CDs. Ask any gamer, there are always a few games that you will never part with for sentimental reasons. I will never forgive myself for ever parting with FINAL FANTASY VII for the original PlayStation.

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