By Fernando Heinz Furukawa August 24, 2012
Fernando Heinz Furukawa is the artist of Legend of the Valkyrie and resides in Argentina.
Today, let’s take a coffee break. I’ll set work-flow aside and share some anecdotes about prehistory from the 90s.
Do you remember those magic moments when you would come home from school and have ALL day to play? The older readers have to remember those times with nostalgia, while young readers should be experiencing it firsthand.
What many young readers will not be experiencing however, for obvious reasons, is the golden age of arcades. As I said before, here in my country, these halls of entertainment are almost extinct, but in the late 80s and 90s, they were like a minefield, where every arcade was a mine.
So, there I was, a boy about 8 years old, eager to play but with not many coins in my pockets. Getting out of school at 1:00 PM, running to my house -- the school was about 6 blocks away -- eating quickly, doing my homework at the speed of light, grabbing my bike, and with only a few coins in my pockets, directing myself straight to the arcades.
That was the time of day I looked forward to the most! Once inside, I began to walk around each machine. Obviously, I knew all the games there but I always did a little tour. Looking at those amazing graphics, I would not dare to dream of having those games at my own house! Impossible to imagine in those days... unless, of course, you had the luck of owning your own arcade, or a Neo Geo.
At that time, the Neo Geo was the Rolls Royce of consoles. But having either of these was something impossible in my house because we were a middle class family, and I considered myself very lucky to have a clone of a game console. Did I say a clone? Yes. In my country, it was almost impossible to get original games and machines, but we'll discuss that later.
Where were we? ... Ah, yes! In the arcade, taking a tour around the machines, looking at the ranking charts and listening the music and sounds. The smell of cigarettes, the voices of the people, fights inside and outside of the video games, the friends that I made in that place, but never seeing them outside of there... How could you not love a place like this? And, I was in love with a machine -- one in particular -- Lucky & Wild!
Driving a car and shooting like crazy? It was incredible! And best of all, another person could be your wing-man, firing another gun!!
That game was pure emotion and super fun, with some impressive graphics for its time. You could destroy everything, blow up rivals cars, motorcycles, and the whole scene.For example, in the first stage you had to drive inside a shopping mall! That was pure fun!
Something we did with my brother and a friend to allow all three of us to play the game was one of us had to drive, the other took the gun from player 1 and the other was player 2. This allowed the three of us to enjoy hours playing with only a few coins. The owner of the arcade was not entirely happy with this modus operandi, but as were loyal customers who expended all of our “fortunes” on his machines, he could live with it.
And, to finish this anecdote, let me tell you something else. When I was a kid, before Lucky & Wild was released, I loved to destroy toy cars, but I didn’t have many of those! So, I just began to draw a shiny new car on a piece of paper and then, while making sounds of gunfire and explosions, I erased and redrew the whole car, adding bullet holes, breaking glass, and smashing everything. After that intense imaginary battle, all that was left was a destroyed car on fire.
One day, out of nowhere, Lucky & Wild appeared at the arcade and made me the happiest boy on Earth! Thanks for that, Namco.