The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on December 14, 1997 · Page 30
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 30

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 14, 1997
Page 30
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TTTT" ---- - I 4 fc-Ut;s Moines i.nua KOiIstek Decxmuek i4, iaai 'How we met' stories wonderful, says teen Dear Ann: I'm writing in response to "Florida Reader," who wants you to stop printing "how we met" stories because, according to her, they are "ho-hummers from hell" and do not appeal to your under-7Q readers. I'm 15 and think these stories are just wonderful. They give me hope that one day I will find a man who is as romantic as those young men were. And I think Ann Landers it's really cool that those old folks are still in love after all this time. Woodland, Calif. Ann says: I appreciate your words of encouragement Frankly, I was surprised and pleased by the number of letters I received from readers who asked me to continue to print those stories. Here's more: From Durand, Mich.! I am a 28-year-old female who thinks those "how we met" stories are inspiring. They speak of honor, devotion, loyalty and real love. I admire couples who have stayed together through some of the hardest times in America's history. Los Angeles: Those "how we met" letters are like a ray of sunshine. It warms my heart to hear such uplifting accounts of love in bloom. La Salle, 111.: I've learned a lot from you, but if I see another "how we met" letter, I think I'll throw up. Knock it off, Ann. Fairhaven, Mich.: Apparently, "Florida Reader" has never experienced the joy of a happy marriage. Relationships like that are not fairy tales. They are within the reach of anyone willing to work at them. Danville, Calif.: I am not a fan of those "how we met" stories not because they are boring but because they are inappropriate for your col-unm. Those stories are almost always about people who knew each other for a short time, married within weeks and lived happily ever after. You ought to print some letters that demonstrate instant attraction does NOT lead to lasting relationships. Ckkatokn Nvniiicatk m& iti. t'V'4 r? W) :!t W -Ji,, m Vr) s V; smile on your face. Hearthside's home loan solutions were just what we needed. Creative. With three kids, a house and two cars, our monthly bills added up in a hurry. Hearthside Lending showed us how to use the equity in our home to lower our payments. That freed up extra cash the whole famiiy could enjoy. Competitive. Even with less-lhan-perfect credit, Hearthside gave us the loan we 1 1 Cedar Rapid;.. IA (319) 378-4580 Des Moines. IA (515) 288-2480 TIME Continued from Page IE Marriott installs a Pac-Man game in the honeymoon suite. A 13-year-old Des Moines boy confesses to police that he broke into homes to get money to play video games. "I'm afraid we're Just seeing the first of this," a worried detective says. Doctors in a Chicago suburb treat a 40-year-old man with "joystick elbow" and write about it in the Journal of the American Medical Association to the delight of their snickering colleagues. Atari Inc. proclaim . Ottumwa the "Video Game Capital of the World." Branstad loses to Parker in a game of Pac-Man, 13,850 to 7,180. He blames a bad case of "Space Invaders wrist Specialists at a three-day conference at Harvard's Graduate School of Education extol the educational benefits of playing video games. It turns out the conference is partially funded by Atari. The U.S. Supreme Court rejects as "trivial" the assertion that games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. The Mario Brothers are deeply offended. 1983 Pole Position makes its debut, and pre-teens everywhere rev it up. Gov. Terry Branstad, Ottumwa mayor Jerry Parker and officials of the Amusement Game Manufacturers Association and 1984 up Atari, Mattel sells off Its games division and the home video game market slumps into temporary Ottumwa once called video game GAMES Continuedfrom Page IE try a video game again until 1980 when he became hooked on Space Invaders. It was to be a career-changing experience. At the time, Day was an oil broker in Texas. The next year, he and a friend opened a video arcade, called Twin Galaxies, in Ottumwa. Noticing that no one was keeping track nationally of top scores on video games, Day appointed himself to the job. Before long, the "Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard" was receiving as many as 25 calls a day from all over the world. All the callers were eager to know where they stood in the international rankings. Since early on Day didn't really have enough scores for comparison, he tended to prevaricate a little. One day he took a call from a teenager who had just tallied more than 565,000 on the Galaga game. Day looked at his list and informed the delighted teen he had the second highest score in the world. needed at a fair rate. Plus, the interest is tax deductible. It doesn't get better than that. Reliable. Hearthside's friendly loan officers helped us overcome our fear of rejection and created a loan program that fit our life. You can count on Hearthside to put a smile on your face, too. Give them a call today. 1-000-731-LEND Up a DTuCinc 1 1 LENDING CORPORATION Kansas City, MO Omaha, (816)452-8900 (402)391 ; hibernation. 1985 Nintendo's new ' NES game system and j Super Mario Brothers ; game show the world j what home-gaming sys-j terns can be. Parents gag at the $260 price tag. 11988 Nintendo's NES ! is the best-selling toy in ! North America. Parents ! figure out the cost of ! games is offset by ! reduced baby-sitting fees. 1989 Nintendo's ! Game Boy changes the ! face of family vacations. 11990 Street Fighter 0 ; makes Its debut Kids join ; roving gangs of kick-box- ers In an effort to scare up ; enough quarters to mas- ter the signature moves of ; all 10 characters. J Nintendo's Super ! Mario Bros. 3 grosses Warner breaks $500 million and becomes the best-selling game of all time. Someone sug- What he neglected to mention was that the list only had two names. And the person In first was the night manager at Twin Galaxies. Many of the calls came from members of the media. Twin Galaxies and Ottumwa began showing up in newspaper and magazine stories all across the United States. The Toronto Sunday Star (some of the best video game stars were Canadian) called the arcade "the font where video players worship ..." in a 1983 story. Even Life magazine jumped on the bandwagon. In a January 1983 story on video games, the magazine wrote, "It has become a $5.7 billion industry, and Ottumwa, la., (population 27,381), a town 85 miles southeast of Des Moines, la., is the unlikely video game capital of the world." Unfortunately, not even this kind of publicity could save Twin Galaxies when the industry shifted from coin-operated games to home-based systems. The arcade closed on March 6, 1984, and Day, deep in debt and burned out from years of staying up until 2 a.m. drinking Mello Yello and eating Fritos, took a 12-year hiatus - NE - 8200 LENDER 'Consult your tax advisor on deductibility . Vi 41.01 n ! gests the game would ! make a good movie. Big J mistake. 1991 Nintendo unveils j its new 16-bit Super NES j system just in time for ; Christmas. All the kids ; want one. 11992 Sega's 16-bit ; Genesis system and its j hyperactive mascot, ; Sonic the Hedgehog, win ; the war with Nintendo. ; Kids tell their parents Super Nintendo sucks. They ail want Sega. ! Mortal Kombatintro-! duces America's youth to ! the concept of "finishing" ! your opponent by ripping ! off his head and shaking ! his bloody spine. Newspa-! per reporters have a great ! time writing the words , ! "ripping off his head and ! shaking his bloody spine." 1993 After years of ! being solid sellers, sports-! related arcade games hit ! the big-time with NBA from video games. He went to work for Telegroup, a telecommunications firm In Fairfield that specializes in discount long-distance rates. But last year, he decided to write a book based on his experiences, the "Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game and Plnball Book of World Records." Part autobiography, part stats book, it's a whopping 984 pages and Day. now 48, hopes his book will help bring on a second golden age of video games. contains 12,416 records from 31 countries. Day, now 48, hopes the book will help bring on a second golden age of video games. In preparation for this second coming, Day has reclaimed his old title as official scorekeeper it's strictly a weekend thing this time, he said and has set up a Web site, "This industry, even though it's 25 years old, has never had a scorebook before. This is going to put things on a new level," he predicted. "This is going to get kids outrageously turned on to trying to become the best." Perhaps the most obvious sign that video games had arrived was when people began to blame them for ruining America's youth. Even U.S. Surgeon General Everett Koop got into the act, gravely warning the public that kids are into video games "body and soul." Some communities, such as Marshfield, Mass., went so far as to outlaw the games inside the city limits. When the issue went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983, the court ruled for the commu- nities, declining to extend First Amendment protection to games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. What the courts and the councils and the columnists failed to understand was that the teen-age boys who made up the core video-game market weren't hooked on video games because they wanted to escape reality. They were hooked on video games because here was a reality they could master and drive to its knees. Video games elevated hundreds of teens in small towns across the country to local hero status. Among them was a 16-year-old Ottumwan named Tim McVey. In addition to offerinf you painlts treatments for varicose and spider veini. Iowa Vein Center introduces Endermolofie. Define your figure and reduce the appearance of cellulite with this newest advancement in body contouring and skin conditioning. Sclerotherapy t Laser Treatment of Veins Endermologie Laser Hair Removal Ultra tone IowawW 222-VEIN ! Jam. Everybody wants to ! be like Mike. I The uncensored Sega Genesis version of Mortal ! Kombat outsells the cen-! sored version 3 to 1. ! When Congress launches ! an investigation into ! video game violence, the ! gaming industry agrees to ! adopt a ratings system. ! Kids who mistakenly ! bought the censored ver-! sion exchange It for the real one. ! A free shareware ver-! sion of Doom, an apoca 1995 Electronics giant Sony leaps into the video game market with the 32-bit $299 Sony Playstation and squashes the Sega Saturn, r. ;; ; A 13-year-old Texas boy shoots at a passing truck, Injuring tijte driver, because he believes it is filled with Nintendo video games. No word on whether he would have settled for Sony or Sega. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals 1 1 percent of children ages 6 through 1J are severely overweight, more than double the 5 percent rate observed in the 1960s (before video games.) Video games share the blame with television, personal computers and McDonald's Super Size It campaign. 1996 Mattel unveils a new line of computer games for girls including lyptic video game by Id Software, Is launched on the Internet, starting with the University of Wisconsin's site. The university's computers crash campus- ; wide as thousands of col-; lege students from around the world storm j the site. Some 15 million ! shareware copies of the ! cult favorite are down-! loaded, sparking predic-! tions that the future of ! video games lies in cyber-! space. McVey's specialty was an obscure game called Nibbler. Nibbler was the first game ever made to go all the way to 1 billion points, and players across the country competed to be the first to reach that Holy Grail. Now 30 and living In Oskaloosa, McVey said his first six tries at the record ended in failure, once by sabotage following 24 hours of play. "This kid said Tm going to unplug it,' " McVey said, still incredulous 13 years later. "I said "Yeah, right," and he went ahead and UNPLUGGED it!" On his seventh try, McVey started at 2 p.m. on a Sunday and didn't quit until a quarter to 11 that Tuesday. By the time he got up to 990 million points, he said, he was nearly falling off his stool from exhaustion, lights from a TV crew were casting a glare on the screen, and he was down to his last six men. He finished his final screen at 999,950,950 points. The bonus points pushed the total to 1,000,042,270. Although McVey still had 10 men to waste, he just stood up and walked away. Thirteen years later, his record still stands. The city of Ottumwa honored his achievement with a Tim McVey Day, which he said was a little overwhelming for a kid who was used to being looked down on as a long-haired dropout They even gave him a key to the city. McVey said he still has it, decorating the wall of his trailer home. "1 didn't really do a lot to earn it," he acknowledged. "Still, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I have it." One thing McVey didn't hang onto was a free Nibbler game, given to him by the manufacturer for his record-setting endeavor. After nearly two solid days of playing the game, McVey doubted he'd ever want to look at it again. He sold it to an arcade for $200 in cash and $1,000 in tokens. Today, McVey, who is unemployed, spends most of his time at his comput- er as systems administrator of an on line bulletin board. He still gets together with friends regularly to play video games, he said, especially during the winter when there are no stock car races to attend. Sometimes he wishes he had kept playing back in 1984, just to see how high he could have gone. But he can't imagine doing it again. "It's hard to look at now knowing it would take me 44 hours just to get back to there." Maybe the greatest influence of Center J.VOIivencia,M.D.,F.I.C.S..F.A.CA Medical Director Christy Haack. PA-C a game called "Barbie Fashion Designer" in which girls leam to stab ! - " each other in the back in' i? the cutthroat world of ijc'n high fashion... oops, wrong game. Actually, the game allows girls to design clothes for their dolls. ; Nintendo takes game -platforms to a new level with Its $250 Nintendo 61 with 360-degree joystick- ! The Nintendo 64 is a 64- ! bit system, which for v,r. ! those of you who are ' ! counting, is twice as I many bits as same-gener ' j ation Sony and Sega sys-'1 terns. " 1997 Riven, the long-i ; awaited sequel to Myst, is j released to great fanfare.', Like most sequels, it's .' j pretty much the same r. : ! thing as the original but ! with cooler special effects. People buy it anjii ! way because they figure" ! it's a lot easier to figure ! out the clues this way. . ; video games is helping us all lighten ' up when it comes to computers. This Isn't to say that the home PC wouldn't exist today if not for Pong. But games have driven advancements in sound and graphics. And game-playing is the most common use for home computers after word-processing. Video games have also played a role in influencing the career choices of many in the computer industry, including Chris Warling, a 30-year-old. computer engineer for Hewlett , Packard. As a junior at Urbandae-, High School, Warling successfully sold two computer games he designed on the family's brand-new Commodore 64 home computer. One game, Candy Bandit, resem:; bles Pac-Man with the bandit gob; ., bling candy for points while the sher,-. , iff chases him. The other, Speed, Racer, was a car race game. After graduating from high school Warling headed off to the University " of Iowa where he earned degrees m engineering and business. He now' lives near Sacramento, Calif., with his-"' wife and year-old daughter Allysa. ' Although he didn't get rich off his - games, hesaid, "IdidOK. Idefinitelypakf ' a year's worth of tuition up at school." As a youth growing up in Urbandalen -: Warling remembers hopping on his, " moped and going with his friends to a J- Eleven aboutthree orfourmilesaway." "And the sole purpose of the trip was to play Donkey Kong," he said with amusement. "For us it was kind of a masculine thing to see who cou kl.-do the trick moves the best." He doesn't find much time fdr game-playing anymore, he said. Most "' of his time in front of a computer screen these days is spent cruising thV i Internet for work. "I bet I've spent KTj nights in the last year staying up past 2 just finding interesting little bits," he ; admitted. "It sucks you in." ; One of the games Warling wrote as a" teen, Speed Racer, was criticized by some for being excessively violent. Warling said this was because the play--' er could choose how they wanted W earn points. They could do it by avoiding pedestrians. Or they could do it try ' deliberately running them over. "It was kind of like a conscience,1' ' homs or halos," he said. "They thought that was horrible. Look at what's oat: ' there now, like Doom. Speed RaceV was so TIMID by comparison." ' Still, now that he's a dad, Warlirtg-' said he looks at video games a little'1 differently than he did when he was-writing them as a teen. "As a parent, if I can keep her away from video games, television and the Internet until junior high, I think that's better," he said. Puzzle Answers Answers to the New York Times" crossword puzzle in the Diversions' section of today's Register. ' miymiriTToiAiLiGiAisnciiiiTrTnsi m u rt n pill sm Ait t iit ii .Jim, ELiai olslsTFio TniTiL "it ' lit'fl' lIHlVMEIIEOTINIHIHimH-TTTBT.l UHIT i cTkihieIaIdIeIbI -fltTT T ft- 5J1J I. 5. Silii HUCZUi aTdTTTe T n" L SIUE i rinFiDlfjpir lu rinnr t it k. L EMJEnZZJt i r i T II It ST iii LLiiJNlt in i h u itolltiTT r 111 siloiv It I tilt 8UHTlTiiTTn TlLllU I E j 5 E3 IN I rl L I I I N ti O capital I Ul T ATT E TliltTF C I rfsllTTT T n JpIbIyTiM.,- "unique gifts for unique folk..." reflections of iowa the historical building gift shop 600 e. locust des moines, iowa 283-1757 i

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