Video of the Week: “High Tech Rec”

In 1982, our local NBC affiliate – then known as “NewsCenter 5” – did a story about the booming arcade business, focusing on local superstars Williams and Midway and what the reporter claims were currently “the country’s two hottest games”: Defender and Pac-Man.

The video speaks for itself, and at only 10 minutes it’s definitely worth a watch, but I’m going to share some of my favorite moments and their associated time stamps below.

0:21 – “When the TV set married the computer”. Nicely done.

1:26 – Turns out Pac-Man‘s enemies are actually hungry monsters, not ghosts.

2:40 – That girl is digging your vibe, Barry!

3:00 – Linda Yu??? Holy crap.

3:24 – Some side effects to gaming: “Space Invader Elbow”, “Defender Wrist”, and “Pac-Man Pinky”. Chilling.

3:52 – Ah yes, the classic one-handed over-the-shoulder coat sling. Don’t even bother trying it because you won’t look this cool. But what is going on with that insanely huge microphone?

9:45 – Video games will “soon be available” at home. This was 1982, and home consoles had already existed for about a decade, and were definitely mainstream for five or six years at that point. He even specifically mentions Asteroids as being one of the games coming soon for home play, which had been released for the Atari 2600 the previous year.

All in all, besides my nitpicking and a few other small details, he got most of the facts right, he hardly mispronounced anything, and he treated the subject and the people involved seriously and even-handed. How much of the that can be claimed about the average video game-related story in mainstream media these days? I actually began this video preparing for 10 minutes of laughing and eye-rolling, but I came away pretty impressed by this feature. Way to go, Chicago news!