I do sometimes think I have a bit of a sickness. Maybe it’s just a retro obsession. But when I’m doing the most random things it can remind me of something retro related which almost uses a similar skill. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that I didn’t have a wasted youth watching all that TV and playing all those computer games, and that these retro memories are actually somehow useful ;-)

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

Loft / Attic
I was putting down floorboards in our loft recently, because I hate having to straddle the beams and not step in the middle bits as I know I’ll fall through to the room below. As I was stepping across from beam to beam I couldn’t help but think I was playing the Vortex in The Adventure Game. That game used to scare the bejeezus out of me, watching celebrities like Peter Duncan disappear into thin air if they stepped on the wrong beam. I half expected to see an aspidistra plant shuffling along inside the loft or hear someone talking backwards. What a crazy show that was.
The Adventure Game Vortex

Walking in crowds
This one might sound like I’m clutching at straws but it’s totally something I’m reminded of nearly every time. There’s a real knack sometimes to walking in crowds. Some people just aren’t very good at it. They barge ahead and bump into people or get stressed when people ahead don’t walk at the same speed. This always reminds me of the classic Tomytronic 3D Thundering Turbo game. I loved this game and played it endlessly for hours. It was one of those games that was therapeutic and relaxing. Sometimes in that game you come across the situation that three cars are approaching you at the same time. A novice would either crash into one of them, thinking there was nowhere to go, or would slam on the breaks and risk having lots of cars overtake them. The superior player, however, knew that the cars in each lanes travelled at different speeds, so if you just slowed down a little bit and kept tapping the accelerator so that you were staying close behind the car in your lane then pretty soon there would be a gap to move into because the car in the next lane would have gone past at a different speed. I still use this tactic when walking in crowds in a rush. If you think you’re going to get stuck behind several people in a line ahead of you, don’t get all stressed and flustered, just stay close behind one of them and very soon a gap will open up. Wise lessons learnt from the game. Thanks Tomy.

Stripping wallpaper
We were recently renovating the children’s playroom and I had to remove a bunch of wallpaper. I was using a proper stripper and a steamer but it was still only coming off in chunks. Some areas were coming off easier than others. So I ended up jumping about and doing different parts of the wall, rather than just working out from one point. I’d do the easy areas first and then try to attack the bits that were left by approaching from a different angle that had just been opened up. I had exactly the same sensation that I used to have whilst playing Minesweeper on my PC in the mid-late 90s. You know that satisfying feeling when you clear parts of the board and then drill down into the areas that are left? Loved that game. I also managed to play a bit of Blockbusters whilst stripping the wallpaper. Remember the Gold Run at the end of the show when the contestant had to cross from one side of the board to the other, and if they got a question wrong they had to take an alternate route? It felt like that as I tried to strip the wallpaper from one side to the other. Hearing the Blockbusters music in my head helped me stay focussed and keep digging away at it and I got it all off eventually.


I’m sure there are many more situations like these, where I associate something retro from my youth to a current skill or task today, so I’ll add to this blog post if I can think of any more.

So there you go. A wasted youth? I think not ;-)