March 10, 2003
Southampton College Tournament Finds Vintage Videogame Hero
Classic Titles Like "Donkey Kong" and "Ms. Pac-Man" Bring Out the Students
(631) 287 8313
Fax: (631) 283 4081
Dozens of students watched and participated in Southampton College's first annual Vintage Videogame Olympics on Monday night. With early '80s titles including "Donkey Kong" and "Ms. Pac-Man" on TV screens and old monitors in the campus Cove, what at first seemed like primitive beeps and blips to the students quickly took hold of their imaginations and brought them together for a unique experience.
"The goal was to show that not too long ago playing videogames was a social event," said Vintage Videogame Olympics host Darren Johnson, an adjunct computer instructor at the College whose hobbies include restoring vintage electronics. "Much different than today's games, the games of yesteryear didn't take long to play, and they inspired friendly, direct competition among groups of players. They were healthier."
Players competed in the four main vintage videogame categories: Platform, Maze, Scroller and Shooter. Johnson selected the Apple II games "Donkey Kong" and "Ms. Pac-Man" to go with obscure Sega Genesis titles "Fire Shark" and "Dynamite Duke."
Student Tom Albert won the Vintage Videogame Olympics, taking first place in three of four categories and a $50 cash prize. Luis Colon placed second while Tim Ruiz won a tie-breaker for third. The event was sponsored by Student Activities. The only previously recorded Videogame Olympics was held almost exactly 20 years ago in Ottumwa, Iowa.