Thursday, 7 November 2013

Before the vitriol-filled curmudgeon, there was the child...

Before I became the bitter gamer of later years, I did a stint as a child, playing pretty normal childhood games.

It has to be noted however, that the games I played were coloured by the TV adventures of Dr Who, and the Tomorrow People. Like many of my generation, I would watch from behind the sofa, clutching my sparking ray gun as the good Doctor battled the assorted alien races intent on the destruction of the universe. It is of course a proven fact - to children at least - that the average sofa provides a barrier impervious to anything short of an all out nuclear assault. No monster can ever hope to penetrate its protective field.

My bedroom was filled with the toys that you just don’t get anymore. Stickle Bricks, Action Man - I mean a proper Action Man with guns, grenades and dynamite and not the politically correct, rather effete incarnation of today - Billy Blastoff, and realistic toy guns that would get a child locked away for some serious corrective therapy today. In fact, by the age of 8 I had amassed an arsenal of plastic weapons of mass destruction plastic sufficient to equip an entire squad of primary school mercenaries. Such preparation was essential if I was going to defend the playground from the Germans/Japanese/Aliens - even it was only Paul Crow and his mates.

Similarly, my wardrobe contained a wide selection of dressing-up costumes including two space suits several camouflage outfits, a cowboy costume and many more. Indeed, I could have probably beaten the Village People to the number one chart slot with a little effort! True, I wasn’t musically gifted, but since when has that mattered just so long as the band looked good?

Space suits were my weakness. In the same way that a well crafted handbag may make even the most rational woman weep tears of joy, so it was for me when I saw one of these costumes in a shop window. I recall that I had one with a fishbowl shaped helmet and NASA badges and another with a cloth and plastic ‘bag’ which at the age of five, had conspired with the assistance of an afternoon nap and concrete step, to cause me to cut my palm wide open, resulting in a scar that I still have today. I wonder if the doctor who removed the stitches incorrectly and caused the wound to re-open is still practicing?

Ah... simpler times.