Posted on November 28, 2012
My Top 100: #47 – Contra
I’m finding it somewhat difficult to come up with posts about games I’ve already written about – my first non-countdown post about Contra is here, if you’re interested – so I’m about to go a bit off topic for this one.
My first memory of playing Contra is much like any other person’s – playing the arcade version. When my mother and I would go shopping at Regent Mall here in town, I’d sneak away with a few quarters, and play whatever game happened to be sitting just outside the grocery store’s entrance. If I didn’t have the quarters, it was all good – I’d just pretend to play during the game’s attract mode.
I could barely reach the controls anyway, so I usually stunk up the show whenever I did play.
On a recent trip to that same, much larger and oft-renovated mall, I noticed that the brick wall the arcade cabinets were up against is still there; same colour, same bricks, same everything. There have been two grocery stores, two restaurants and two sporting goods stores (well, one company, renovated twice) to take up the space beyond, yet that old beige brick wall is still there.
For some reason, I find that sort of thing to be quite remarkable.
I walked through downtown Fredericton yesterday to go restaurant-ing with Anita (if that wasn’t a word, it is now), and I marveled at some of the older buildings on the city’s streets. If inanimate objects had eyes, and could tell a story, man… the stuff we’d hear from them would be fascinating. Two World Wars, the Great Depression, the groovy 70’s, the hairy 80’s… wait, that didn’t sound good. In any case, some of those buildings have seen it all.
When I was little, even the mall was vastly different than it is now. There was no H&M, there was no GameStop, no toy stores, or even a food court. There was a department store (Woolco) and a grocery store (Village), and a little convenience kiosk that sold magazines, smokes, candy, bottled drinks, whatever. There was no need for much else in between.
As time wore on, the mall grew, and began to take on colours that weren’t stuck in the 70’s – beige flooring and brown benches made way for sleek marble tile and turquoise benches to fit that new, hip 90’s style. The mall’s “back” wall was torn down, and two hallways filled with little outlets were added (one of them an ice cream joint, which was very exciting). A food court was eventually opened at the far end of the new section, and the growth eventually expanded outward from there.
Again, how does this relate to Contra? Well, it kinda doesn’t, but when I think of some games, I can’t help but think of how things have changed in those years since I first played them. In this case, I just think of the mall, and how it used to be.
I’m just nostalgic that way. Don’t mind me!
And by the way, Contra is awesome.