At the time of writing I am 33 years old (had to think about that for a minute…). There’s no doubt that being an adult is more complicated than being a kid and I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing for a return to those simpler times sometime. I suspect this is especially the case in these current pandemic times.
Unfortunately unless time travel suddenly becomes not only publicly available but supposedly physically possible, that isn’t going to happen so another way to return to childhood is through the medium of video games. Conveniently that isn’t a problem.Tom and Jerry on the Master System – one of the first cartoons I ever watched on the first console I ever played and owned
As a kid born in the late 1980s, I used to spend so much time watching shows such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Gerry Anderson productions but notably Thunderbirds. I also watched shows such as Zzzap! (who remembers that?), Art Attack, Fun House, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (obvious gaming reference there!) and when I got to about 11/12 the big one – Pokemon which I still watch to this day. Not only is there an obvious video game connection but I remember watching the terrestrial TV premiere on SMTV with Ant and Dec.
Some of the shows above I collected/bought/played games when they were popular and through to the modern day (pre-ordering Sonic Generations and Pokemon Sword/Shield shows this). However, some I had to buy games years later due to availability, resources and awareness of their existence thanks to resources such as the gaming community on Twitter.Postman Pat and Postman Pat 2 for the Commodore 64 – didn’t play as prominent role in my childhood as some shows but still takes me back
So what series do I have video games of? As well as the aforementioned I have Captain Scarlet, Postman Pat, Tom and Jerry and maybe others that I can’t think of right now. I know series I watched that have games but I do not own any include Captain Planet and ima yew others but can’t think what. If I find out/buy them I may do a follow up article.
Out of the ones I own I would have to say that my favourite games include Thomas the Tank Engine for Sega Genesis, Might Morphin Power Rangers for the Mega Drive and Thunderbirds on Game Boy Color. Two of these I have bought recently while upgrading and filling my collection and will be discussed below.
Thomas the Tank Engine for Sega Genesis in particular is a weird case – it’s actually a North America exclusive despite being a U.K. show and a really popular one over here at that. That is also why I specifically listed it as for the Genesis than for the Mega Drive. However, this was my favourite show as a kid – my middle name and one of my favourite engines is Edward and my first teddy bear as a baby was called Thomas after the Really Useful Engine ™️Thomas the Tank Engine for Sega Genesis, one of the rarest (given it’s exclusvity) and personally special games in my collection.
The game cost me about £50 to import from Canada but is totally worth it in my opinion given what it means and how long I’ve been after it. On top of that it takes me back to the early 1990s and hearing Ringo Starr (definitely the best narrator) explain how Thomas was being cheeky to Gordon by waking him up.
The music also takes me back to hearing the same tunes as a kid but picturing a train get pushed along the tracks by the Troublesome Trucks ™️ These were some of my happiest times and memories from being a young child.The manual and cartridge for the Sega Genesis version of Thomas the Tank Engine
Other games in my collection such as Thunderbirds for the Game Boy Color mean a lot too and take me back to 1992 when the series was repeated on BBC2 at 6pm on Fridays. I was introduced to the series really young and still watch the episodes and the 1960’s movies now nearly 30 years after being introduced to them. The series has had a big impact on me in terms of watching sci-do (later Star Trek and Star Wars) plus an interest in cool futuristic vehicles (who wouldn’t want their own Thunderbird 3?)
Of course with Thunderbirds there are some classic signs – the countdown starting the show, Jeff Tracy saying “Thunderbirds Are Go!” and the slogan, FAB. Even now hearing those take me back to 1992 and send chills down my spine and even just seeing my copy of the game gives a similar feeling (the PlayStation 2 version does too but nowhere near as much!)Thunderbirds for the Game Boy Color – it’s FAB! (I mean it has a 96%!)
The final game I want to highlight is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the Mega Drive. I first played this as a kid round my brothers friends house and for some reason it always stuck with me. I remember watching the first few seasons on TV and being mesmerised by the colourful suits, weird monsters and of course the awesome robotic Zords. As I write this memories come back of my own fan series I started writing as a kid called Rebel Ranger (would still be an awesome name for a Ranger…). This game when I finally got a copy let me fulfil that dream and become a Power Ranger.
On top of that playing the game reminded me of how awesome the fights were (though this time in a side on 2D Street Fighter style) but seeing the Rangers’ weapons and the moves pulled off in those outfits still took me back to 1994. It doesn’t end there- I still got as much excitement at unlocking the Green Ranger (best Power Ranger ever) and his Dragonzord (best robot/mecha ever) on the game as I did when they were revealed on the show and was taken back to that precise moment. Of course just having the theme tune (best TV theme tune ever) in the game is both nostalgic and awesome plus sets the tone for an amazing fighter.
From all this I think it’s safe to say that through these video games old and fond memories can be revived and revisited. It doesn’t matter how old you are, give yourself half an hour to play a video game of one of your favourite things from being a child and let yourself be taken in by the nostalgia. I did, and these games haven’t tarnished those memories – it’s brought them to the forefront of my mind and also brought tears of joy at how happy I was then (not that I’m not happy now, just in a different way…)
It’s also quickly worth mentioning that they also remind us that a time existed when it was ok to have people smoke and drink alcohol in kids TV or call someone a ‘FatFace’, or that writers must have been on something when they came up with ideas such as trains going for breakfast or rockets flying on a crash course with the Sun (then again were talking about the 1960s and 1980s so who knows…)
Thanks to video games, my childhood lives on.