The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on December 14, 1997 · Page 29
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 29

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 14, 1997
Page 29
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w Des JUoincs Sunbay Register ourlnfor,, T 1 I T T 1 1 iiomedHODDies Special events, crafts, recipe, pets, stamp collecting. Page 3E Sunday, December 14, 1997Section E (HMD Ann Landers Families Antiques & Collating Jeanne Abbott, Features Editor 5 1 5-284-8029 ' "rr; iT r-irrzK z ' H HIT - w ,,.v a .gL 1 1 w f . i pj- IL3 i-,' .' - ' - l-iilfcd Yv - -i ' 01 M . jjM Walter Day, who once owned and operated video arcades, keeps his collection of old games in a warehouse in Fairfield. IIAKKY ItAllMKKTTlIK lK ilSTKK 10U,,U UUL n n a i t v a IIS II I t II . -v 'X. : ... , ; N 1 i 1 1 1 I I 1 I i II I - IS 11 .. . I The video game turns 25 this year, and let us raise our glasses to Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Kombat and the Sega Genesis system. By MARY CHALLENDER Kkuistkk Staff Wuitkh It's unlikely that video games will ever find their way history books as a technology that has shaped civilization. . '.' Still, it's hard to deny that they've made-an impact in the last 25 years, especially when you consider the sheer number of people who hold them responsible for everything wrong with society today. The world's first video game, a computer main frame game called Spacewar, was actually written in 1962, but most people consider 1972 to be the industry's birthdate because that was the year Pong came out. The first major product of a fledgling company called Atari, Pong made its debut ill a tavern in Sunnyvale, Calif. The game was so simple it needed only two instructions: "Deposit quarter" and "Avoid missing ball for high score." Almost immediately alter being installed, the game broke down. When an engineer investigated the cause, he found the coin box so stuffed with quarters the machine had jammed. Thus was born what is today a $6 billion industry. Video gaming has undergone many evolutions in the past 25 years. Pong eventually begat Space Invaders which begat Pac- Man which begat Donkey Kong which begat Street Fighter II and so on. Along the way, video games have been the subject of Senate hearings, Supreme Court rulings, medical studies and countless community meetings. They've been maligned, revered, and banned. , . , They've survived the death of the arcades, the shift from television-based systems to computer-based systems and a self-imposed ratings system. They've been the inspiration for . movies, songs, works of ait, and countless Saturday morning cartoons. ' u Two generations of kids 50 million adults have grown up on video games. But never have video games reigned quite so supreme as during the early '80s, the so-called Golden Age of Video Games. Here's a look back at that time. And at the lives of three Iowans who were players and more. This is the truth. Before Walter Day became Scorekeeper for the World, before he was the owner of the Font where Video Game Players Came to Worship, he washed out on Pong. It was in 1972, and Day had never before seen a video game. He played just a single quarter, and was so humiliated he didn't GAMES turn to Page 2E A vide game and pin ball record book was recently published by " Walter Day. " i - " 1962 An M.I.T. student named Steven Russell creates the world's first video game called Spacewar. He makes no money from it because the . computers Spacewar run on sell for $120,000 each and are a little out of reach of the home market. 1972 video game. The game is so t simple it has only two instruc-l tions, "Deposit quarter" and "Avoid missing ball for high ! score." It will be the last video ! game many adults are able to ! figure out. ... I Earlier in 1972: The first ! home-based game system, called Odyssey, is released. It has a Pong-like game. A very j Pong-like game. Atari agrees to pay Magnavox, the makers ; of Odyssey, $700,000. cans learn futility. Four dozen aliens, lined up in neat rows, advance relentlessly across and down the screen. Kill them all and a second wave appears, one row lower. Then another and another. The game is wildly popular in America and even more so in Japan. 1981 19S0 A new company called Atari releases Pong, the first successful coin-operated 1978 Space Invaders makes its debut, and Ameri- Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde are bom and it becomes impossible to go anywhere without hearing the merry munchmunch-munch of a Pac-Man machine. W1iile doing impor tant medical research, Tim othy McCowan, a stu dent at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine, discovers a new condition called "Space Invaders wrist" described as "a stiff, painful right wrist." Arcade players spend 75,000 man-years and some 20 billion quarters playing video games, and the world begins i i i r vi vi to grasp how insidious the games really are. "We do know that many of us in Gam blers Anonymous were compulsive pinball- machine players when we were kids," says Bill B., spokesman for Gamblers Anony mous in New York. Bob Frommelt, 15, of Dubuque, makes the Des Moines Register for his efforts to rack up 26 million points and survive 54 continuous hours of play in Asteroids. "He seems to get his quarter's worth, doesn't he," observes his father. 1982 Donkey Kong, Nintendo's first American hit, is released. Eight years later, when surveyed, more kids would recognize Mario, the game's plumber hero, than they would Mickey Mouse. The village board of Bradley, 111., a community of 12,000, votes 4-2 to prohibit children under 16 from playing video games. A Gallup Youth Survey reveals that 9H percent of American teens play video games, 1 1 percent more than two hours each day. It was unknown how many of the kids surveyed lived in Bradley. Des Moines' Pac-Man couple, Kyle Riley, 31, and Jo Linda Richardson, 17, get married at the Fun Factory at Valley West Mall where they met playing Pac-Man. The TIME Please turn to Page 2E The numbers game This time of year, lots of folks start fantasizing about winning the lottery to finance holiday expenses. People play the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and other lucky numbers. But is there really a way to increase your odds of pocketing millions? Yes, says an article that ran recently in a magazine called BOTTOM UNEPersonal. The key is choosing unpopular numbers that are not likely to be selected by other lottery players, While your chance of wimiing the jackpot remains the same, the amount you stand to win is much larger, says Alan Reiss, president of US Mathematical Labs in Way-land, Mass. : ' Numbers and combinations you should avoid , . ':" ; ' Multiples of 7. ' Single-digit numbers. Use no more than one among your picks, because many people choose them. Numbers that form vertical horizontal or diagonal patterns on your bet slip card. The combination of 1-2-34-5-6, which is extremely popular. Numbers you should choose: . i' All numbers over 31, for the simple reason that they will not be chosen by anyone playing birthdays or anniversary dates. At least four of your six choices on a ticket should be 32 and higher. Numbers ending in 1, 2, 8, 9 and 0. Most people tend to select numbers ending in 3 through 7. Selections of the numbers 10, 20, 30 aruHO are especially unpopular. ; : By playing the least popular numbers, Reiss says, you can increase the amount of money you bring home by more than 600 percent. 1I',tihtNkv8 ; Broken water heater and bad knees r " 1 fl1 .mini WW ii t si. ' '4-, ) ' ,r v t '( , . if .'-V r) i NIIKKSTOSKMANThk. RKlilSTKK B.J. Murdock of Coalville can't afford to replace her water heater , that broke. So she is making do with what she's got.. ,f ; By MARY CHALLENDER Kkiustkk Staff Whitkk ' Coalville, la. She used to go by Dr. Murdock, back in another time when she was still working and before her knees gave out. Now most people know her just as B.J. She lives alone in this small town outside of Fort Dodge with a temperamental black cat, in a home without hot water. The water heater went out two months ago, but she can't afford to buy a new one. ' At 72, Murdock isn't much of a complainer. Still, she sometimes looks back on her life and wonders how she ended up where she is now. She doesn't have any regrets, mind you. A nurse and educator, her career took her from the University of Iowa to Duke Uiuversity to the University of Chicago. At Jolut Hopkins University TAT A TO Cares HospiUd, she worked witJi the doctors doing groundbreaking "Blue Babies" research. She was head nurse of the acute care unit of the Billings unit at the University of Chicago Clinics when the nation's first pneumonectomy and first adrenalectomy were performed on patients in her unit. One of the doctois she worked wit h won a Nobel prize. "I met such amazing people," Murdock said proudly. "No one could have had such a wonderful lime as 1 had in my life." In 1970, Murdock went back to school at the University of Nebraska to get her doc-torate. When she Rot out, she found work wasn't easy to come by for 60-year-olds. "They didn't see me as a person," she said. "All they saw me as was a birthdate." At one of her last jobs in 1982, she MURDOCK 'tease turn to Page 6E Y

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