Pocket Money Video game Memories


Nowadays I earn my own money & with that comes the responsibility of managing finances & paying all my bills before I can think about spending my hard earned cash on retro games.

Article by @retrogamerdaz

Back in the 80's & 90's as a kid though it was all about Friday afternoon & getting your pocket money. As a teen Saturday's came into play as well because that was when I got my £7.20 paper round money as well.

Each week I had money in my hand - but what did I do with it?

Let's take a nostalgic look back at these financial worry free days. In the 80's I would get a couple of quid a week to myself & my Grandad might throw the odd quid in as well. Back in the mid to late 80's when I used to get hauled out of the house most Saturday mornings to go shopping I didn't buy a lot games mainly because locally no one stocked Acorn Electron games so I would often buy action figures & comics.

On odd day trips out I would find those great independent games shops that were dotted all over the country & would pick up Electron games. Those independent shops were awesome back in the day as they were all different & you never knew what you were going to find.

Shockingly I once did find Star Wars for the Electron in a local WH Smiths it was a tenner but I was allowed to get it! On the odd occasion I would also find Electron games on market stalls so you always had to keep an eye out wherever you might be.

In October 1989 I purchased my first copy of Computer & Video Games Magazine. This would have been the November edition (issue 96 to be precise) of the magazine & Power Drift was on the cover & at £1.20 it was pocket money well spent.

I would go on to buy this magazine for many years to come & it was this magazine that inspired me to really campaign for a Commodore 64 for Christmas which I was lucky enough to get (the Light Fantastic bundle).

Pocket Money Video Game Memories

Of course CVG would go on to spawn Mean Machines into a separate magazine & every month I would walk up to my local news agents after getting home from school & purchase the latest issues.

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I have really fond memories of reading these magazines in my bedroom & as we were pre internet it was these magazines where I learnt about the fantastic 16 bit consoles that were heading our way.

I would read about the Neo Geo & see the arcade perfect gaming that you could now have in your home (if you could afford it of course) but I could also read the short reviews of games that were now also being released as budget titles.

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This was always helpful. Budget computer games from Mastertronic, Kixx & Ocean's Hit Squad label as well as others was a dream realised once I had got my Commodore 64. In fact prior to getting the C64 for Christmas I started buying games that I had played around friend's houses that weren't available on the Electron.

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Ghostbusters was purchased with my pocket money for £1.99 along with Kikstart 2 just to name a few. It was fantastic I could go shopping with my Mum & younger brother on a Saturday morning & hit the local newsagents, Woolworths, WH Smith & even Boots to find a game to buy with my pound coins.

I had longed to be able to do this & I would keep buying C64 budget games right into the 90's even when I had consoles & until they started disappearing from the shelves (sad days indeed).

We actually had a local computer shop in our town that was actually more aimed at servcing businesses than gamers but towards the end of the C64's commercial life they started having a few Hit Squad games in stock that they would sell for 50p each.

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At this stage I also had an NES & a Mega Drive as well as a rather neglected Master System but this didn't deter me & my mate who still had a breadbin C64 from buying a copy of Arkanoid each.

Pocket Money Video Game Memories 1

In fact I think I brought both copies as he didn't have any cash at the time! This was a fantastic period for me as even when I had consoles where games were often £40 a pop & out of my price range I could still build up my C64 games library.

Speaking of consoles in the early 90s Nintendo & Sega took over with everybody I knew pretty much having an 8 or 16 Bit console from either of these two gaming giants, though I did have one mate that got a C64GS & another that got a GX400.

As mentioned above games where expensive & if you wanted to use your pocket money to buy these then you had to save or wait for a Birthday or Christmas to arrive. Occasionally I would get treated to a console game but not very often so what was the answer back in say 1991? Well you could swap games which often happened usually on a temporary basis with the odd permanent swap. But this is where the now extinct video shop came into play.

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I had a video shop just up the road called 'Five Star Video' that was followed by a Ritz which eventually became a Block Buster video shop. Five Star was an often frequented shop on a Saturday morning mostly for gaming purposes but occasionally my mates would get one of our parents to rent the latest Arnie film for us like Total Recall or Terminator 2 which we were too young to rent ourselves.

Five Star stocked Mega Drive & Master System games for rent & would also eventually start renting out SNES games. This was fantastic for pocket money that was burning a hole in your pocket as you could rent games & all pile round someone's house to play some games. Five Star was also responsible for my first experience of playing a Mega Drive because they had a few consoles that you could rent!

This was before they started stocking a lot of rental games but I didn't care & just handed over my 2 weeks' worth of pocket money (£10) and had a Mega Drive with Altered Beast for the whole weekend.

This was my first experience of 16 Bit gaming at home & later on in the year when Christmas rolled around I would get the same bundle with Sonic the Hedgehog also thrown in. Later on I would also start renting SNES games from Five Star although the quality of their games was sometimes questionable. Finally during my secondary school years up to 1994 a few arcade cabs started finding their way into my small town.

My local sports centre would have an arcade cab that would get changed every so often. I can remember sinking my pocket money into a Play Choice 10 & a Ninja Turtles cab that proved popular & stuck around for quite some time.

Also my local youth club that was a regular Friday evening event had a Chase HQ cab for a while & I would often be there with a can of coke either playing or hanging around the cab. Every summer the Fun Fair would also turn up on the towns recreational ground (we just called it the Rec) with an arcade in toe.

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The most memorable year must have been 1993 (I think) as they had Mortal Kombat & it was a crowd puller. I could have spent a lot more pocket money on that cab but it was so busy you just had to wait & get a go when you could. It was worth it though.

I would also spend my cash on music. I was & still am a rock & metal fan so I would buy albums & CD singles along with Kerrang magazine.

But it was gaming that I have the fondest memories of spending my pocket money on with years & years of buying monthly magazines as well as buying & renting games.

It was great worry free fun & I hope you enjoyed some of my memories from back in the day. Keep it retro.

Article by https://twitter.com/retrogamerdaz

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