I love YouTube. Love it. This is because it gives me the opportunity to catch up on pop culture I missed out on. I came of age in the Third World where we didn’t have much in the way of music, no decent bands ever toured out our way and television didn’t arrive in the country until 1982. Oh, and until 1990, there wasn’t anything good to watch on TV. Thanks to YouTube, I can now catch up on a boatload of stuff that I missed – like all the Afghan Whigs videos (which no one should be without).
Strangely, although we lacked any bands or videos to watch, we were never at a loss for decent video games, and most of these were available to play at the shops down the road from my house. My parents despaired at the amount of time and money my brother and I would spend playing arcade games, repeatedly telling us that they were a complete waste of both. I don’t know what they expected us to do with our allowances – buy stocks and shares, perhaps? If so, they may have given us a bit of guidance on which companies to invest in, or maybe even explained what the stock market was. Still, since I went onto a career in video games journalism, I guess all that time down the arcade was actually time well spent in gearing me up for my calling in life.
But I digress – back to YouTube. One of the things I love about YouTube – aside from the fact I can now watch all the MTV music videos that were unavailable to me in my youth – is that there are people out there who actually take the time and effort to upload arcade games I played while I was a young’un. The other night I was trying to remember how the music went in the soundtrack to a game I spent Liberia’s deficit playing when I was around 12 called Vigilante. Thanks to YouTube, this information is free and available and no longer dependent on my failing memory.
After watching it I thought the music held up pretty well. What I also noticed were several weird aspects of the game which must have sailed right over my head when I was a kid. It raised more questions than anything else. Why is the gang called the Skinheads when nearly every single member has hair? Why, if their turf is the junkyard, isn’t the end battle set there? Why is your turf on top on a friggin’ construction site? Why don’t other developers use the punch and kick sound-effects from this game in every other fighting game, given that they are still the best, like ever? Isn’t Vigilante just a thinly-veiled clone of Kung Fu Master? And most important of all, why is the end boss – their leader – sporting what looks like a massive, massive erection? How the hell did I miss that?