15 Sep 2020

Technicolor portals

When I was a child growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, I discovered a portal that shone in dazzling Technicolor onto a world that was – due to poverty, conflict and division – too often monochrome. It’s easy to romanticize and retrofit the 1980s and early ’90s as a time of neon lights and synthesizers, while overlooking the austerity of a pre-internet era in which access to culture outside capital cities was often so limited that it took on mythic proportions, required crate-digging and tape-sourcing quests, and was hoarded jealously. One exception was the transportive space of the amusement arcade, with its cacophony of sound and lights. My friends and I were soon banned from our local arcade – partly for minor acts of delinquency but mostly for being skint in a place that was fuelled by profit. Fortunately, we had one last refuge: at the back of a video-rental store on my street, in a working-class area of my hometown, Derry, was a single arcade game. That was all we needed.

Big feels from this. Like any narrative; games can take you to new worlds...and maybe a blueberry Slush Puppy while maining Blanka.

EDIT: Holy shit, the Slush Puppy brand is still really right! 👨‍🍳👌