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You can call it retro if you like, but it looks old to me

By Jules Quartly | China Daily | Updated: 2012-12-04 09:22

The best cartoons appeal to both kids and adults, because the makers realize it's the parent who pays the price of admission or chooses the DVD.

You can call it retro if you like, but it looks old to me

So, while the recent Disney animation Wreck-It Ralph was just another visual feast of buzzy cartoon characters and digital explosions to my 5-year-old, for me, it was a knowing romp through the history of video games.

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It also occurred to me that, like the titular character in Wreck-It Ralph, video games appear to have past their prime and are going through a bit of a midlife crisis.

For instance, my childhood friend PONG turned 40 on Thursday. A two-dimensional table tennis game doesn't sound that exciting, but it was Atari's first big hit.

The company installed a prototype in a bar, and people lined up to play the game. This is how the entertainment revolution was born.

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PONG wasn't the first electronic game - it was based on 1962's Spacewar! - but it was the first massively popular one.

Previously, my stepfather had what I think was an early PDP-1 into which we fed strips of paper tape with punched holes that programmed simple games.

This science project turned into a four-decade flirtation with electronica.

Space Invaders arcade machines followed, Sega Rally Championship, FIFA Football, Halo, first-person shooters, Doom (1993), Counter-Strike, Grand Theft Auto, and many more.

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